North-South Lake Intensive Use Area
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 20 (Saugerties). Beyond the toll booths, turn left at the traffic light, cross over the Thruway, then turn right onto Route 32 North. Follow Route 32 for 6.0 miles, and then continue ahead on Route 32A. In 1.9 miles, turn left onto Route 23A and follow it up Kaaterskill Clove. At the top of the climb, in the Village of Haines Falls, turn right onto North Lake Road. In 2.1 miles, turn right onto Scutt (Schutt) Road and follow it for 200 feet to a parking area on the right. GPS: 42.200662,-74.058473
The campground area offers access to numerous hiking trails, including a short hike with incredible vistas to the site of the Catskill Mountain House and longer, more strenuous hikes with equally spectacular views.
The Trail Conference’s “Northeastern Catskill Trails” (Map 141) contains a detailed insert of the North Lake Area. One of the most popular loop hikes in the area includes the southeast section of the Escarpment Trail. It offers viewpoints with such names as Sunset Rock, Inspiration Point, Boulder Rock, Artists Rock and Newmans Lodge. The hike also passes near the Kaaterskill Hotel Site and to the Catskill Mountain House, both on South Mountain and both long abandoned, with side trails to Lookout Rock and Sunset Rock.
- The Escarpment Trail (blue blaze, TC Map 141 insert grid P4/P2, trail designation ES). Park on Scutt (Schutt) Road, south of County Route 18 (North Lake Road), just before the campground gatehouse. Hike southward, parallel to Scutt Road (blue blaze). Another trailhead for the Escarpment Trail is within the campground on the eastern edge of North Lake (fees are charged seasonally; for hikers campground is day use only; access road is closed during the winter).
Segments of the Long Path pass through the North Lake Area from its southeast corner just beyond the Catskill Park Boundary and Route 23A, ultimately becoming co-aligned with the Escarpment Trail passing by North Lake and continuing to North Point viewpoint and beyond. Details -- including a trail description, driving directions, and trailhead parking – are here for Long Path Sections 23 and 24.
Click to view a list of all hikes in Catskill Park on the Trail Conference web.
North/South Lake, the largest and most popular state campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve, consists of 7 camping loop roads containing 219 tent and trailer sites. It is also a striking destination for hikers who wish to experience the extraordinary scenic beauty, exceptional views of the surrounding countryside, and historic sites. An abrupt change in elevation occurs from about 540 feet above sea level at the base of the escarpment to approximately 2,250 feet at the site of the former Catskill Mountain House.
Click for a description of the broader Northeastern Catskill region