Catskills Weekend – Escarpment Trail and Slide Mountain

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Headed up to the Catskills in NY this past weekend to try to catch the fall foliage up there. It’s close to peak color, but as hunting season starts Oct 17, the timeframe to visit for fall color is short. Be sure to pick up Catskill Trails set for trail maps of the entire Catskill area. The Catskills are about 2.5-3.5 hours (depending on traffic) from Central Jersey, so we stayed overnight.

Saturday: We did a 8.4 mile loop of the Escarpment Trail in North/South Lake campground. Started at the Schutt Road parking just outside of the park entrance. No trailhead toilet facilities (and in general, they are lacking throughout Catskill trailheads.). The trail later went near the lake and there were facilities there…

Partly cloudy and more chilly than usual for this time of year. Got a heavy rain on Friday and the trails were very very muddy, slippery from wet leaves and deep areas of water on them. We never seem to visit the Catskills in the fall without it being cloudy and foggy and it always makes it feel like Halloween. The sun started peeking out… just as we got back to our car.

BLUE Escarpment then picked up RED Schutt Rd Trail then back to BLUE Escarpment, past Split Rock and Boulder rock. Some views here. Continued to the Catskill Mountain House site for a sweeping view. Continued on BLUE past Artist’s Rock and Lookout Rock, Newman’s Ledge. Very nice trail, with views of the valley below.

Headed up to Badman’s Cave, then more uphill (some steep scrambles) to North Point for nice sweeping view. Came back down and picked up RED Mary’s Glen to YELLOW Rock Shelter trail, back to lot. Steady downhill for Mary’s then levels off for Rock Shelter.

After the hike… If you enjoy mexican food, hit up Pancho Villa’s in Tannersville. Could not stop eating the salsa and the enchiladas verde were very tasty.

Sunday: Slide Mountain, 6.7 mile loop. Parking lot on Slide Mountain Road. No toilet facilities, and there wasn’t really a nearby gas station or anything. Trails were still very very soaked from Friday but, finally, the sun was shining for us in the Catskills and didn’t get cloudy till were heading back down.

*Do the loop in the order listed… I think that going up RED and down BLUE is not a good idea. BLUE is quite steep with some rocky areas to negotiate. RED is a steady rocky incline but not that steep – better for on the way down. BLUE is a prettier trail, so unless you can’t do a long loop, don’t skip it.

Took YELLOW Phoencia East, past the RED Wittenburg Slide on the left. Picked up BLUE Curtis Ormbee. Headed steeply uphill through a gorgeous area – mix of bright fall foliage with evergreen trees… and it smelled of Christmas. Two fantastic viewpoints along the way. Ends at RED Wittenburg Slide. Take that, trail becomes less steep. Watch on the left for a terrific viewpoint – it’s a small ledge but it’s better than the view at the stopping point above. You get to a large rock slab that is perfect for taking a break but trees obscure a lot of the view. Head down the RED trail, then YEL back to the lot.

Wildlife spotting: none. Barely even saw a squirrel. We were getting used to spotting a bear every weekend in Jersey. I think the wildlife have plenty of areas to avoid people in the Catskills. Oh we did see what we think was a homing pigeon on Newman’s Ledge. He didn’t fly away and seemed to have bands on both legs. Odd.

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2 thoughts on “Catskills Weekend – Escarpment Trail and Slide Mountain”

  1. I am looking for a venue where we could hike to a hut/place to sleep/with running hot water and food accomidations then hike back. The options of allowing dogs would also be benificial but not a prerequisite. I hope to plan something for the Spring April/May of 2010 in the NY,NJ,PA area. then again I am open for any state.

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