North-South Lake/Escarpment Trail Loop Hike

Catskill Park

View from the Escarpment Trail - North-South Lake/Escarpment Trail Loop Hike - Catskill Park - Photo: George Dagis View from the Escarpment Trail - North-South Lake/Escarpment Trail Loop Hike - Catskill Park - Photo: George Dagis

Travel back in time on this historically rich hike with diverse scenery, where artists once found inspiration among the sweeping Hudson Valley views.

42.200662, -74.058473

Give yourself plenty of time to complete this hike. There is so much to stop and see along the way that you won't want to be rushed. All of the trails are well defined and well marked, and signs posted at intersections clearly indicate which turn to take, as well as providing mileages to various points.

From the parking area, walk directly across Scutt Road, where you will find the...

Prepare For Your Hike

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Trip Reports

rate experience
August 28, 2018
3
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.
jc hikes
June 03, 2012
0
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.
Daniel Chazin
June 03, 2012
0
Question
Could I make this a 2-day  and camp? Not sure where exactly camping is allowed in this area. Thanks!
jak066
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