August 28, 2018
2018 Summer - Trail is too wet and muddy
Anyone that lives in NY knows this summer has been like a rain forest and you can see the effects of that on the trail. The trail has the potential to be a great hike. It has a lot of variations and I didn't find any part of it particularly strenuous, but 10 miles of hiking is a good work out. 80% of the trail is very wet. The rocks are slippery and there's many spots where you're navigating deep mud, and I am not a princess about these things. By the end of the hike, I found it interfered with my enjoyment as I was too concerned with slipping. I met others on the trail that also remarked on how wet the trail was and a few mentioned they had fallen. Along with wet and muddy were the bugs. This trail in this condition is not one for the sneaker wearing crowd. Make sure you have proper hiking shoes/boots with a good tread. I didn't bother with the side trail for North Point as it was very hazy out and the views were all a bit "washed out" from the extreme haze. Overall I think this is worth the effort but maybe wait for a dry spell so you don't spend most of it trying not to fall on rocks. A few comments about the Trail Description. I found a few of the directions confusing and some of the time it was because things on the trail had changed. 1. Some places in the description need a little more clarification. i.e, where it says "You will encounter three more trail registers along this hike." Then it goes straight to "After a steep descent..." That steep descent doesn't come for a little while and I thought I was off track because it seemed like that was immediately after the trail register. 2. At 3.8 miles, keep right on the trail towards Split Rock. There is no sign at this point or anywhere that I saw that says "Split Rock". They all say Boulder Rock. 3. The description after the Catskill Mountain House field is very confusing. "Follow it down to a parking area at North/South Lake". You actually have a to take a RIGHT at an intersection where all the signage is broken and fell off in order to pick up the blue trail. This is confusing because if you keep going straight like I did, you DO in fact cross a parking lot, then you arrive at the lake itself, with no Blue trail anywhere. I went to the boat rental place and she told me I had to backtrack and that is when I realized I had to take that turn at the broken sign. Also, there are no longer any blue paint spots on the surface of any rocks at that turn. Then you'll see a different parking lot (gravel/not paved) and you'll be on the Blue Blazed trail.
June 03, 2012
Camping in North/South Lake area
Although camping is generally allowed in the Catskill Forest Preserve below 3,500 feet, with some restrictions, wilderness camping is not allowed in the North/South Lake area, which is considered to be a "developed" area. Of course, one can camp at the campground itself, and that would make it possible to break this hike into two segments. But, in this area, the only camping that is permitted is at designated sites in the campground.
June 03, 2012
Could I make this a 2-day and camp? Not sure where exactly camping is allowed in this area. Thanks!
August 22, 2011
This hike provided a wide variety of terrain which was perfect to keep it from getting monotonous, or too strenuous. I’m glad clarification was given for the trail head, because the map does indeed say Schutt and the road sign says Scutt. OOPS! But if you stay at the campground, as we did, there really is no way to miss the trail head. The road is the first left (it’s a dirt road) after passing through the park gate. And then the trail head is immediately on your right. My kids were fascinated by the horse corral and platform for mounting horses. We decided to skip the little out and back portion of the hike that would have picked up Lookout Rock and Sunset Rock. Our day was very hazy so we didn’t think we’d get to see much more than we saw from our previous view points. By the time we got to Badman Caves, our energy was flagging. So we decided to turn left onto Rock Shelter Trail. This turned our hike into an 8.4 mile hike instead of 10.3 miles. Rock Shelter Trail is pure evil at the tail end of a long day of hiking. The trail is literally in a stream much of the way. It’s muddy, wet and extremely slippery. Lots of stepping stones and rocks have been put down, but many of these have become moss covered. We did get to see two very pretty waterfalls by going this way, though. Had we come down Mary's Glen, we would have just missed them. We did decide to go back the next day. We hiked back in Rock Shelter, hung a left onto Mary’s Glen and then another left onto the Long Path/Escarpment Trail to take in North Point. I am so glad we decided to do this. It was a fun climb up and the view was worth it. Thunderstorms were approaching the area and we could watch the clouds approach from the Hudson River side of the mountain and squash up against the mountains. It was a cool sight! We took Escarpment back down to Badman Caves. We were thinking of picking up Lookout Rock and Sunset Rock, too, but we could see from North Point that entire side of the mountain was under cloud cover so we ended up skipping them again. We made a right just below Badman Caves back onto Rock Shelter back to the trailhead. So our second day of hiking was 5.1 miles. So far, North-South Lake Campground is the best state park campground we’ve experienced in New York this summer.