Saturday, April 27, 2013


After a long drive across from Cape Cod, we arrived at our lodging in Hunter, NY and the start of our Catskills hiking vacation. After unloading our stuff, we set off mid-afternoon to hike an old favorite, the Escarpment Trail in the North-South Lake area  on a high plateau at 2200 ft. We started where off-season parking is provided at the west end of South Lake.

We followed a trail around to the east shore of South Lake, with a view across the water to North Mountain. This is a busy area when the large campground is open in summer.

From there we followed an old road out to the site of the famous Catskill Mountain House, which was perched at the edge of the Escarpment overlooking the Hudson River valley.

Hotel guests, including well-known artists and U.S. Presidents, could enjoy a sweeping view over the Hudson valley to distant ridges in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

We then headed north on the Escarpment Trail, mostly easy walking except for one sharp scramble.

This pitch pine flat is one of my favorite sections on this wonderful trail.

Carol takes in the Hudson Valley view from the ledge known as Artist's Rock. We could see the buildings of Albany far off to the north.

Farther along, the trail led along the base of Sunset Rock. To get there, you follow the main trail north, then double back along a spur trail.

Sunset Rock is the favorite of many a hiker, artist and photographer. Kaaterskill High Peak - long considered the highest of the Catskills until it was shown that Slide Mountain and a number of other peaks are taller - and Roundtop are seen beyond North and South Lakes, with Plateau and Hunter Mountains in the distance on the right.

A great spot in the evening sun! South Mountain is seen just to the left of the lakes.

A NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation trail marker on the spur trail to Sunset Rock. Catskill trails are marked in red (east-west), blue (north-south) or yellow (diagonal/connectors/spurs).

Another Hudson view from Lookout Rock.

A lake view from the trail that loops around the NW side of the lakes. This five mile hike was a great warmup and re-introduction to the Catskills after an absence of several years.


  1. I read all your Catskill reports but this one really struck me. What a beautiful spot. I have yet to visit The Catskills. Not sure when it will be in the cards but it sure looks like a great place to hike.

    Nice vacation and thanks for sharing,

    1. Thanks, Joe - the Catskills have their own unique beauty and charm, and the whacking is great in open hardwoods! They were the first mountains I ever hiked (in the 1960s in Boy Scouts) so I have a special fondness for them. Hope you can make it down there.


  2. This is a great area - Hiked the Escarpment Trail at North/South lake on our Honeymoon in 2006. Thanks for bringing back the memories !!! - Wendy

  3. Thanks for your comment! This is indeed a great area and almost every time we go to the Catskills we hike somewhere on the Escarpment Trail.