A trip to North-South Lake was on my bucket list for this summer, and I couldn’t have been happier to complete the escarpment trail – all 10 miles of it [North Lake Road (Rt. 18) and Sc(h)utt Road in Haines Falls – head down Scutt on the right for parking lot. If you reach NS Campgrounds entrance you have gone too far!]. This Catskills hike has got it all, views, wildlife, swimming, and a serious workout. The trail is not very strenuous when it comes to elevation gain, you will only find moderate rolling hills and a few short steep scrambles. The real tiring element is the duration of the hike, however you will never tire from all of the amazing views! For the first 8 miles of the loop follow the blue trail markers. The woods are initially quiet with few others in sight aside from a bird or two.
On this hot summer day it came as a relief, but it was a good thing the rain was light and the forest was dense so the trail didn’t become slippery. At 4.5 miles we made it to the site of the once great Catskill Mountain House. All that is left now are some picnic tables in a meadow with a magnificent.
It was a perfect place to have lunch, and the storm magically dissipated just as we arrived. Feeling anew you will pass the heavily trafficked lake and campsite area. Continue on to find solitude at Artists Rock, another stunning view.
At 9 miles you may gain some energetic excitement as you cross to your final path – the yellow trail. This rocky road will spit you out onto N Lake, the street which you drove on so many miles earlier. When you finally make it make to your car weary and accomplished, switch up your boots for flip-flops and take a drive into the park. Try out your choice of north or south lake, rest on the sand and revitalize your tired body in the cool lake.