Length: Less than half a mile • Elevation: Approximately 2,200 feet • Highlight: Take photos at the top; your friends will be amazed that you could climb so high
Looking for a hike that offers astonishing views, but won’t leave you gasping for air? Then North-South Lake is the spot for you.
The North-South Lake Campground near Palenville is the most popular state property in the Catskill Park. Various trails lead visitors to memorable sites including Kaaterskill Falls (depicted by artist Thomas Cole and other 19th-century Hudson River School painters), Alligator Rock (a formation that resembles a gator’s open jaw, complete with “teeth”), and the onetime site of the Catskill Mountain House. On the edge of the Escarpment Trail (and at a height over 2,200 feet), this last location offers stunning views of the Hudson River and Valley, the Taconic Mountains, and sections of Connecticut and Massachusetts. The best part? Most of that elevation is covered in your car. Reaching the Mountain House site is just a short and easy stroll from the campground parking lot. Those looking for a more challenging exploration of the area can join once-a-month guided hikes along the Hudson River School Art Trail, organized throughout the summer and fall by the Thomas Cole State Historic Site in Catskill (www.thomascole.org).