Search This Blog

Thursday, March 27, 2014

North South Lake(Catskills) and Vanderbilt(Greenville) Town Park

Finally almost completely recovered from a nagging head cold, combined with bright sunshine and a day off work, meant it was going to be a fun day exploring.  I headed south to the Catskills to hike North/ South Lake in Haines Falls, where there are an abundance of trails and sights to see.
Even with the bright sunshine, the early morning temperatures were still quite cool as I headed out onto the trails from the west side of South Lake.  This tree caught my eye as it had found a way to grow completely around this boulder.
There is a bit more walking involved in the winter because the roads are not plowed or open past a certain point.  After about a mile of hiking along the lake's shoreline and through campsites I arrived at the legendary Catskill Mountain House road.
Catskill Mountain House was a famous hotel that was once located at this spot along the escarpment.  Many very well known people, including three presidents stayed here, to absorb the fantastic views over the Hudson Valley.
The Hotel saw its heyday in the mid to late 19th century and remained open until World War II.  Here is a glimpse of what patrons may have seen way back then.
The State acquired the property in 1962 ad by 1963 it had been demolished.  All that remains today are the gateposts and the sweeping views.  This is a view north from the escarpment.
The Hudson River is clearly seen far below.
A bit further north past the location of the Mountain House.
After lingering for a while, I moved on to the blue marked escarpment trail heading north.  There were a few small steep areas but mostly level walking with screened views to the east for much of the way.
Trees in this area are highly affected by winter winds and even affect the way that they grow.  Here is a clear example of the branches of this evergreen being stunted on one side.
After about a mile of walking, the trail nears the cliffs again.
There is an extremely sharp drop off from here but the views are absolutely amazing.
This spot is known as Artist's Rock and became famous for being a favorite location for 19th century painters, the most well known being Thomas Cole.
From Artist's Rock the views are amazing.  This is a view northeast from the ledge.
Southeasterly views towards Palenville.
Looking directly south along the escarpment.
After sitting on the ledge and relaxing for a little bit, I then headed further along the trail.  The trail winds west from here a little bit and after a bit of an ascent, I came to this rock clearing.  Just a nice spot to soak in the sun ray's.
As I moved further along, I approached the extremely large rock area by Sunset Rock.  These rocks are enormous and dwarf anyone walking along the trail.
This was a cool spot, where I literally walked under the rock overhang.
A short yellow marked trail leads about a quarter of a mile back on top of the rock area and provides some more great views to the east and the Hudson River.
East views from high above.
As I neared Sunset Rock, the trees again were stunted on one side and the trail became a large, vast rock clearing.
The view from Sunset Rock is one of the best in all of the Catskills.  A westerly view over North/ South Lake and many Catskill peaks is inspiring.  Kaaterskill High Peak and Round Top are clearly visible, rising above the lakes.
Sunset Rock's magical viewpoint.
A close up look of the frozen lakes and Round Top.
The climb from Sunset Rock on the way to Newman's Ledge is very steep in spots.
Approaching Newman's Ledge.  This location is nearly 1900 feet above Palenville.
Named for a Reverend, this location has been a popular site ever since the Mountain House guests way back in the mid 1800's would come visit.
Expansive views to the north with the Albany skyline visible in the far off distance.
Old Mountain Road can be seen climbing through the Rip Van Winkle Hollow here.  This was the original road that lead to the Catskill Mountain House.
At 2500 feet, it is not the highest point around, but it is the sheer drop off and distant views that make this place so special.
This photo gives you an idea of just how steep the cliffs are.
North views from Newman's Ledge.
Looking south along the escarpment from Newman's Ledge.
Just before a trail junction that leads to North Point or back to North Lake campground I came to this large meadow.
The next stop is Badman's Cave.  This is another interesting rock formation that can be explored.  Legend is that outlaws banded up and hid out here many, many years ago, hence the name.
After coming to a small clearing, the trail soon enters a deep spruce forest again.
A pleasant woods walk on the way to North Mountain.
The last .3 mile to North Point is a bit of a rock scramble then level, followed by another rock scramble.  This is a bit more difficult ad you must watch your footing.
Stepping up onto the exposed rocky summit area of North Point, fantastic views to the west immediately open up before you.
The rocky summit area is large and can be explored.  Following the outer path lead to eastern views of the Hudson River Valley again with Rip Van Winkle Hollow below.
Looking north towards Stoppel Point and the Blackheads.
North Mountain's 3180 foot summit and long ridgeline to the west.
I stopped for a quick photo near the steep ledge.  The drop off behind me is several hundred feet.
The sign at North Point's summit had been blown over, providing evidence of just how strong the winds can be on the exposed summit.
Came off North Point and ascended via the Mary Glen Trail.  Just before entering a thick section of woods I turned around and could clearly make out the spot on the cliff where I had just stood a few minutes before.
The crusty snow made walking very easy along level wooded sections.
Ashley Brook descends down through the woods and crashes down through Ashley Falls, eventually emptying into North Lake.  Unfortunately today, the water was still frozen.
Coming off the Mary Glen Trail, I arrived at the North Lake Campground access road.  I walked along the roads and then along the lake foot trail back to the car, completing a great day of hiking.  Probably almost 7 miles total.
Breathtaking Kaaterskill Clove from a small pull off along 23A.
After grabbing lunch in Catskill, I drove through rural Greene County on the way home and stopped in at Greenville's Town Park, named the George Vanderbilt Park.  There are over 2 miles of trails with great views south of the Catskills.
Such a beautiful afternoon!  The blue skies and bright sunshine was turning the fields to mud and slushy snow however.
It finally feels like spring is here.
Beautiful rock walls run along parts of the fields.
There is a nice trail down through the woods that leads down to the banks of the Basic Creek.
The shoreline was partially frozen but most of the water was flowing freely.
The Basic Creek headwaters are located in Westerlo and eventually empties out into Catskill Creek.
The view upstream of the cold spring waters running.
A very pleasant area with small cascades.
The trail leading away from the creek through the woods was very icy and footing was tricky.  A large field greets you upon departing the woods.  Footing was soggy but the open fields made for a nice stroll on a windy afternoon.
Overall, I hiked about 9 miles total.  A very nice, full day.

No comments:

Post a Comment