Rochester Hollow Lean-to in the Catskills: Secluded & Beautiful

Rochester Hollow Lean-to Sign
Average read time 6 min

A beautiful lean-to in a secluded hollow. Accessible for people with mobility challenges.

If you’re looking for a secluded place to camp, the Rochester Hollow Lean-to should be on your shortlist. Situated above the valley of the hollow on a plateau on a ridge extending from Rose Mountain, a Catskill 67 peak, it is a wonderfully maintained and accessible lean-to. Unlike many lean-tos in the Catskills, this one allows ATV access by permit for people with mobility problems. With its large privy and gravel paths, one will find this spot unusually attractive no matter what your ability level. It is highly recommended.

Featured Photo: Trail sign to the Rochester Hollow Lean-to. Above clockwise from top left: Old estate gate; John Burroughs Monument; Rochester Hollow lean-to from privy; Interior view of Rochester Hollow lean-to; Huge Sugar Maple on the Eignor Farm Trail; Colonel Rochester Trail; Rochester Hollow Trailhead sign; Kiosk at the trailhead.

The Dirt

The Rochester Hollow Lean-to is a little-known and lightly used gem. Built around 2005, it is one of the newer lean-tos in the Catskills. It is situated about 2.4-miles from the Rochester Hollow Trailhead at the end of Matyas Road, which is 0.2-miles off NYS Route 28. There are also two primitive campsites on the trail not far from the trailhead. A great first camping experience for kids!

The trails are multi-use and are open to mountain bikes, horses, cross-country skis, and snowshoes. In fact, in the winter, with snow on the ground, cross-country skis or snowshoes are required. For horses, proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses, and out-of-state horse owners must produce a 30-day health certificate.

A unique part of this trail is its accessibility to people with disabilities. Access by ATV is granted only to Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit holders.

Related post: Rochester Hollow Hike in the Catskills

The walk to the lean-to is on an old carriage road turned trail. The trail takes the hiker back in time as you’ll pass the remains of part of Rochester Estate, Rose Camp, not too far from the lean-to. The once cleared hillside at the veranda had views of the high peaks across the valley.

Along your hike, you’ll find many rock walls, and if you take the Eignor Farm Trail on your return, some foundations. Along your trek, the forest community changes; from stands of hemlock while walking the lower section of the Colonel Rochester Trail near and above the gate in Rochester Hollow, you’ll hike in a forest of birch and maple to the lean-to. Don’t forget to stop at the Burroughs Monument, renewed in 2013 by his great-granddaughter, Joan Burroughs.

At Rose Camp, there is a tiny impounded pond. We’re not sure if the water is portable, so make sure you bring enough to sustain yourself. The area around the lean-to is otherwise dry.

Lean-to Specs / Photos

Location:42°08’12” N, -74°27’06” W
Land unit:Shandaken Wild Forest
Year built:2005?
Open side facing:South
Distance from trail:200-250′
Floor dimensions:8’6″ x 12′
Entrance and peak height:81″ and 83″
Picnic table:No
Forest:Sugar Maple
Star gazing:Seasonal
Long views:None
Comments:This lean-to is accessible by ATV and is granted only to Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit holders. The lean-to is in exceptional condition. The privy is large with interior handrails which improves accessibility. There are gravel paths, but may be hard to use with leave litter, especially in Autumn. There is a large and level hearth between the lean-to and fireplace.
Rochester Hollow Lean-to barely visible from the trail (center of picture)
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Rochester Hollow Lean-to barely visible from the trail (center of picture)
Front elevation of lean-to
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Front elevation of lean-to
Interior of Lean-to
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Interior of Lean-to
Right elevation of lean-to
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Right elevation of lean-to
Left elevation of lean-to
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Left elevation of lean-to
Hearth and Fire pit at lean-to
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Hearth and Fire pit at lean-to
Lean-to from privy
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Lean-to from privy
Large privy at lean-to
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Large privy at lean-to


Colonel Rochester Hollow and Eignor Farm Trail “Loop”
Distance:5.58-miles RTRoute type:Lollipop
Total climb:1171′ RTHike type:Trail
How hard?Easy-moderateTrailhead:Rochester Hollow TH

Related post: 10 Things to Think About Before Using a Lean-To

Rules for Lean-to Camping

  • Tents are not allowed inside lean-tos and must be at least 150 feet from the lean-to.
  • Lean-tos are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved.
  • Lean-tos should be shared by multiple parties until filled to capacity (normally 8 people).
  • Fires should be built in existing fire pits or fireplaces if provided.
  • Campfires must be less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in diameter.
  • Cutting standing trees is prohibited. Use only dead and down wood for fires.
  • Extinguish all fires with water and stir ashes until they are cold to the touch.
  • Get your firewood from a local vendor (within 50 miles of your destination) and ask for a receipt or label that lists the firewood’s local source.
  • Use pit privies provided near popular camping areas and trailheads. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6″-8″ deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Camping for more than three nights or with 10 or more people requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Contact and Map

Shandaken Wild Forest
Contact Information:DEC Region 3 New Paltz Office (M-F, 8:30 AM - 4:45 PM), (845) 256-3076;
Enforcement Matters: (518) 408-5850 (24/7) or 911
Location: Hamlet of Shandaken, Ulster County and Town of Lexington, Greene County
Map: Shandaken Wild Forest
Amenities:Lodging and dining, as well as gas, food and other supplies opportunities, can be found in the nearby communities of Arkville, Margaretville, Woodstock, and Phoenicia.

Click the map or here for an interactive version of the map.

Rochester Hollow Trail Map
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Rochester Hollow Trail Map
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