It’s been hot around here, so we decided to drive north to the Catskills and catch some mountain air for the weekend. We did two hikes, one to Huckleberry Point and one to a section of the Escarpment Trail.

Huckleberry Point is the shorter of the two, an out-and-back for a total of 5 miles with 1500 feet of elevation gain. It leaves Platte Clove Road on a blue trail (part of the Long Path). and then the yellow Huckleberry Point trail. There are occasional views into a steep V-shaped ravine (they’re locally called “cloves” in this Dutch-settled area), but mostly it’s unbroken woods until the finale at Huckleberry Point.

Huckleberry Point

From the point, there are eastern views across the Hudson River into Massachusetts and the Berkshires.

Our second day of hiking started from an area called Haines Falls. Leaving Route 23A, we followed the signs on North Lake Road to the Escarpment Trail. Shortly there was a General Store with a big ice cream cone sign, and we promised ourselves that we’d return there after the hike. We turned on Scutt Road to the trailhead parking lot. We crossed Scutt Road into the trail, and began a loop with a number of side excursions totaling about 12 miles and I don’t know how much elevation gain. A bunch.

First excursion was Kaaterskill Falls. We have visited these falls many times from below via a parking area on 23A. This time we saw it from an observation deck to the side, looking down on the falls.

Observation deck…
…and Falls

These falls are in two main cascades. The upper one (shown here) is the taller, and with the lower added in it totals 230 feet of drop, more than Niagara. (Of course, Niagara features much more water.)

The Escarpment Trail follows the valley and has a number of excellent views into it. Notable vistas include Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, Newman Ledge, Artists’ Rock, Sunset Rock, North Point, and the former site of the Catskill Mountain House, a grand hotel of the 19th century. It sat on a cliff facing northeast with 50 mile views into several states.

I forget. Let’s call it Inspiration Point.

The trail curves around North South Lake, a figure-eight shaped body which is almost but not quite two lakes. The trail goes close to North Lake where there is a parking lot, beach, boat launch, nature trails, picnic areas, lots of activity.

North South Lake, from Sunset Rock
Marcy’s vitamin program has been working well.

We go back into the woods and continue to a rock scramble that attains North Point. As we went up, we encountered a family coming down. Their young boy warned us that it was nice enough, but that it didn’t feature the ice cream stand that his parents had promised. We replied loudly that there was in fact an ice cream stand on the way out, and that the parents owed him that. I don’t know if this worked, but I hope so.

Sunset Rock, slightly different angle

This is as far as we took the Escarpment Trail. We backtracked a little bit to get to Mary’s Glen Trail and then Rock Shelter Trail to return to our car. On the way we encountered two more hikers who had been warned about the lack of ice cream, and who had also given the parents a slightly hard time about it.

We had ice cream, and it was excellent.