Inspiration Point, Hotel Kaaterskill, & Palenville Overlook

The starting point was the parking area near North Lake for the former site of the Catskill Mountain House. Signed in at the trail register just beyond the Catskill Mountain House location. First destination was the former site of the Hotel Kaaterskill. A quick loop around and then headed out to Inspiration Point and Sunset Rock. Backtracked a bit on the trail and hiked down to Palenville Overlook from an older unmaintained trail. Then hiked back to the car passing the location of the former Otis Elevating Railway. Total hiking trip according the Garmin was 7.8 miles.

As I leaving the North Lake South Lake area I quickly stopped at the former Haines Falls Railroad Station to take a picture. The MTHS is currently in progress of placing a section of railroad tracks near to the station to show what it looked like in the past. Read more about this on their blog:

Previous CatskillSearch Trips to these places:
Hotel Kaaterskill
Inspiration Point and Sunset Rock

The GPS tracklog below shows the route back from Palenville Overlook. The hike from Palenville Overlook to the parking lot is approximately 1.9 miles.

Palenville-Overlook-GPX [gpxelevation=show; gpxelevationcolor=green]

Boulder Rock and Boot Jack Rock

Boulder Rock

CatskillSearch had a late start to the day and our trip destination was Boulder Rock. Both Walton Van Loan and Vly Rusk use an alternate spelling for Boulder Rock on their Catskill maps from the 1800s- They use the spelling “Bowlder”. Earlier in the day we photographed the 360 degree view from the Mount Utsayantha Fire Tower (View the Mount Utsayantha Fire Tower 360 View).

We first explored around the area of the former site of  the Kaaterskill Railroad Station inside the North Lake South Lake Campground. The Kaaterskill Railroad Station was a stop on the Ulster & Delaware Railroad. We found nothing to note compared to our last visit to the former site of the Kaaterskill Railroad Station this year on August 5, 2010.

We then continued to Boulder Rock on foot from the North Lake parking area passing the former site of the Catskill Mountain House.

On the return trip to the former Catskill Mountain House site from Boulder Rock it was nearly dark as the sun was near finished for the day. We encountered a bear just below the trailhead for the blue and red marked trail. This bear was much smaller than the bear that crossed our path on May 27, 2010 while hiking back from the former site of the Hotel Kaaterskill. However we were much closer this time to the bear. The bear also seemed just as startled to see someone and just ran off in the opposite direction after just a few seconds of the encounter.

The view from postcards and drawings of Boulder Rock from the past years are impressive. However there is much vegetation growth and there is almost no view of the Hudson Valley from the ledge where Boulder Rock is located.

Boot Jack Rock

Boot Jack Rock is located south of the former Catskill Mountain House. Boot Jack Rock and a rock located nearby to Boot Jack have pre-Civil War engravings.

Notable occurrences in American History with the dates engraved by these visitors:

1850- Compromise of 1850

1857- Dred Scott v. Sanford

1858- Lincoln-Douglas Debates

1859- John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry

Boot Jack Rock

Boot Jack Rock- Engravings

U&D Railroad: Kaaterskill Branch

CatskillSearch explored the Ulster & Delaware Railroad ROW from South Lake to the U&D abutment located on the east side of Laurel House Road. This abutment helped form the crossing of the U&D Railroad over Spruce Creek.

South Lake is located in the North South Lake Campgrounds of the Catskills. This walk crossed Schutt Road. A previous posting of CatskillSearch showcased a caboose that is located at the end of Schutt Road. (Historic Note: Peter Schutt was the original founder and builder of the Laurel House.) VIEW LINK: ULSTER & DELAWARE RAILROAD CABOOSE

CatskillSearch stood on the top of the eastern side of  U&D Railroad abutment that crossed Spruce Creek in regards to this outing. On a previous outing we stood below and on the west side abutment of the crossing of Spruce Creek. VIEW LINK- LAUREL HOUSE ROAD

It also should be noted CatskillSearch spoke with a young artist very recently who was painting along Spruce Creek. The artist was Palden Hamilton. (VIEW LINK: PALDEN HAMILTON)

Spruce Creek is the waterway that accumulates the waterflow over the famed Kaaterskill Falls (VIEW LINK- KAATERSKILL FALLS)

More information below about the U&D Kaaterskill Railroad Station:

The Kaaterskill Railroad Station, branch MP 19.1, was one of the busiest railroad stations on the branch lines of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad (U&D). It was near the banks of South Lake in Kaaterskill, NY, and was a major stop for people who wished to stay at the Hotel Kaaterskill or the Catskill Mountain House, which was 0.93 miles from the station.

It was left to fall apart until it was consumed by fire in the 1960s. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Google Map below is an aerial image of the area explored. It is interesting because as it currently appears the ROW of both the U&D and C&T can still be observed in several distinct areas.

Hotel Kaaterskill

The Hotel Kaaterskill is great moderate hike and the start of the trail is located just outside the entrance of the North South Lake Campgrounds. The Scutt Road DEC parking area is a popular starting point for many Catskill hiking destinations. (More information below the photo gallery)

We parked at the Scutt Road parking area and was reading the hiking board when an orange car drove up to us. The license plate on the car read ‘CHOWTIME’. The driver of the vehicle asked us if this was a good location to walk dogs. We were unsure but answered that there was a horse resting area and loading ramps to help people get on horses within the confines of the parking area. We then mentioned there was no horses at the site or horse trailers parked at the location. The driver thought best to maybe find another spot in case any horses did show up. We started a small conversation with the driver of the vehicle. My father made a positive comment about his 2 Chow Chow dogs found in the back of his car. As my father approached the rear window of the car the driver stated:  “You did it right. That is how you should approach. They are very protective”. The driver then started to talk about his 2 Chow Chows and how protective they were to him and his wife as they saved his life in a bear attack. His wife was in the passenger seat. The owner of the dogs told us a story about how one of his Chow Chows which was in the backseat helped wrestle down a black bear when the black bear wandered into to their backyard of their home and attempted to attack him. The driver of the car with the license plate ‘CHOWTIME’ stated that the story of his black bear attack was featured on Discovery Channel.

His black bear story could have been easily forgotten and not mentioned in this blog post if was not for the fact of our encounter a few short hours later. We met a black bear on the way back down from the Hotel Kaaterskill. It was walking on the trail where we were heading too. The bear was huge. In fact it was tremendous. One of the largest I have ever seen.  My father and I walked the other direction slowly and the bear did not follow and soon disappeared back into the woods.

A few quick pieces of information regarding the hike:
1- The trail is marked very well to the top. However once at the location there is little current signage regarding the hotel or location.
2- It is easier if you walk on Scutt Road to the end and then utilize the old railroad right of way to get back onto the trail. The trail which parallels Scutt Road is rocky.
3- This area has a very high incidence of encounters with black bears. We did encountered a very large black bear while hiking to the Hotel Kaaterskill remains. Several sources state 750 lbs is the large end size for black bears. This bear weighed as much.


Dogs 101- A short informative piece about the Chow Chow breed Hotel Kaaterskill Information and History

Newman’s Ledge (Escarpment Trail)

This was my second hike to Newman’s Ledge which is located on the Escarpment Trail near the North-South Lake Campground. On a prior visit I could not see beyond 10 feet while at Newman’s Ledge as cloud cover/ fog was very low and dense that day. Newman’s Ledge looks over the Hudson Valley with Hudson River in sight. The vertical drop below Newman’s Ledge is estimated approximate to be 500 feet.

Photos of my father at Newman’s Ledge:

Some of the Escarpment Trail from North Lake parking area to Newman’s Ledge:

Cloud cover was very low on August 20, 2005 over the North-South Lake Campground located in the Catskills of New York. Visibility was zero at Newman’s Ledge as clouds covered the lookout point. I stayed for the sunset at North Lake and took a few nice photographs.