Catskill Hikes: Pratt Rock

New York is a fine state that holds many claims. New Yorkers love to boast about having the best pizza, the best bagels, the best city, and the list goes on. We go even further, trying to grasp for whatever we can. Last summer I visited the ‘grand canyon of the East’ at Letchworth State Park, and just last weekend I visited New York’s Mount Rushmore. Pratt Rock in Prattsville [Route 23, 1 mi east of Prattsville center, Prattsville] may not be as substantial as Mount Rushmore, but it is certainly a sight of its own and worth a detour. Follow the trail from the parking lot and you will find yourself at a hut in slight disrepair filled with information about Zadock Pratt.

IMG_5106If you’ve never heard of him he’s actually quite interesting to read about. He came from humble beginnings born in nearby Stephentown and worked his way to congressman. He had many wives and a few children, and outlived almost all of them. Just a few steps down the trail you will find his grave. Pratt had a great love for horses and owned over a thousand in his lifetime, there is an equestrian motif about the area.

IMG_5108A short and slightly strenuous half-mile trail will take you above and below the rock carvings, but there is no perfect viewing station. At the beginning you can catch a glimpse of what’s ahead.

IMG_5111We took the high road and enjoyed the views of the Batavia Kill and surrounding landscape from the top of the hill.

IMG_5119 IMG_5117There are many scenic spots and if you look down at the proper one you will catch the top of Pratts’ carved head.

IMG_5114Sit awhile, or at least stop to look at the graffiti in the stones. I love old school graffiti and there are many carvings from the early 1900s to be found.

IMG_5115You can follow the trail that takes you down a steep and slippery path with small fragmented rocks about. Now you are following the edge of a steep rock wall.

IMG_5121It has beautiful formations to view, and lots of great flora and fauna. I found my first wild columbines of the season, they practically screamed at me with their popping red color.

IMG_5126Keep your eyes peeled along this trail, which is hard because you’ll want to watch your footing, but this is where you will find the best view of the carvings. Above you, next to you, all around are huge white carvings which explore what Zadock Pratt found important enough to immortalize.

IMG_5130 IMG_5145 IMG_5140 IMG_5139They are interesting to view and interpret on your own, but you can find the true meaning back at the hut on the panel that explains the ‘key to the carvings.’ This was a short, jam-packed trail with fascinating sights and history!


On your way home you may notice a gorgeous waterfall on the side of the road. Bonus! There is no good place to park, but if you’re only going to gawk for a moment park on a side road and take the trail to feast your eyes.

IMG_5149 IMG_5151 IMG_5152Unfortunately there is no swimming here anymore, but it is a beautiful natural spot to bestow nonetheless.

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