Beautiful Looking Glass Pond in the Catskills

Looking Glass Pond from the east bay
Average read time 8 min

Summary

A remote high-elevation pond that is beautiful and accessible to people with mobility problems

In the Catskills, Looking Glass Pond will please anyone who comes to visit. It is a high elevation pond in the 10,568 acres Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest in Schoharie County. There is a nice trail around the pond, and the Long Path passes the pond. The 22-acre pond is open to fishing, canoeing, kayaking, nature walks, mountain biking, snowshoeing, picnics, and seeing all sorts of wildlife. There are two sections of trail graded well enough to be wheelchair accessible, one 0.4-miles and the other 0.1-miles, but you may find obstacles as with all backwoods trails. The entire route around the pond is easy and enjoyable.

Looking Glass Trail step by step

There are several trailheads, and you can start at anyone as all will take you around the pond. All three will give you access to a section of the trail that is graded for people with mobility problems.

We started this hike at a small parking area east of the main pond parking area.

  1. Park and enter the woods at the kiosk walking the level path following yellow markers.
  2. The trail will soon head down a bit toward the pond where views will open, especially when the trees are bare.
  3. The route will swing left and reach a bench and a view of the pond.
  4. After the bench, the trail will continue an arch on a contour and reach the junction with the main parking area at 0.4-miles. There is a porta-potty at the gate. Turn right and walk to the overlook decks and the boat launch. There are panoramic views of the pond.
  5. From the pond, walking back toward the parking area, pick up the trail again, which is now more of a footpath. It will lead about 0.2-miles past the pond outlet and to another parking area. There are lovely views from the earthen dam. A section of the trail will also double as part of the Long Path.
  6. From the parking area, now following a well-graded gravel path at 0.13-miles, the gravel path ends at a viewing platform. There are lovely views across the pond here.
  7. After the view, the path becomes rougher and a footpath again.
  8. At 0.20-miles past the view, you’ll reach a downed sign that says “Bell Bottom.” If the sign is in the same spot, check out the bottom of the tree that it’s propped upon. 
  9. Along the next 0.28-miles, you’ll pass Porcumine Den Tree, Sap Arch, and come upon another viewing platform.
  10. Leaving the viewpoint, in another 0.38-miles you’ll reach Jone’s Cemetery. It is about 100 feet to the left of the trail and worth a visit.
  11. It is another 500’ to the road and 600′ (right) on the road to the parking area from the cemetery junction.

Pictures

Looking Glass Pond trailhead sign
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Looking Glass Pond trailhead sign
Looking Glass Pond parking
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking One of Looking Glass Pond’s parking areas
Looking Glass Pond Trailhead kiosk
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Looking Glass Pond Trailhead kiosk
Trail for people with mobility problems
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Trail for people with mobility problems
Bench near pond on accessible trail
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Bench near pond on accessible trail
Bridge on accessible trail
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Bridge crossing wet area on accessible trail
In the conifers
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking In the conifers
View of pond from deck
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking View of pond from deck
View from top of earthen dam
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking View from top of earthen dam
Section of trail, now a footpath, underwater
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Section of the trail, now a footpath, underwater. Notice Long Path blazes.
Wheelchair ready lookout
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Wheelchair ready lookout
Markers for a footpath trail
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Markers for a footpath trail
Bell Bottom Tree
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Bell Bottom Tree
Porcupine Den Tree
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Porcupine Den Tree
Sap Arch
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Sap Arch
Another deck viewpoint
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Another deck viewpoint
Walking in the fir
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Walking in the fir
Waterhole
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Waterhole
Sign for Jone's Cemetery
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Sign for Jone’s Cemetery

Fishing & Boating

There are sport fishing opportunities on Looking Glass Pond as well as on Betty Brook, Cole Hollow, Panther Creek, and West Kill.

There are 2 accessible fishing piers located on Looking Glass Pond. Looking Glass Pond is a warm water fishery supporting species like golden shiner, brown bullhead, and largemouth bass.

There is a gravel boat launch for persons using rowboats, kayaks or canoes.

Main entrance to Looking Glass Pond and to boat launch
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Main entrance to Looking Glass Pond and to the boat launch
Following Chris on Looking Glass Pond
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Following Chris on Looking Glass Pond

Contact and other information

Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest
Open for recreation: Year-round
Fee: Free
Contact Information:DEC Region Stamford Office (M-F, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM), (607) 652-7365; r4.ump@dec.ny.gov
Enforcement Matters: (518) 408-5850 (24/7) or 911
Location: Towns of Blenheim, Fulton, Jefferson, Summit; Schoharie County
Map: Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest Map (PDF)
Parking: Looking Glass Pond parking area, 8 vehicle capacity (42.551403°N, 74.4937515°W) Google Maps 
Amenities:
Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Grand Gorge, Jefferson, Middleburgh, Richmondville.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Breakabeen, Grand Gorge, Jefferson, Middleburgh, Richmondville, and Summit.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Grand Gorge, Jefferson, Middleburgh, Richmondville, and Summit.
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Cobleskill and Richmondville.

Map

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

Map of Looking Glass Pond
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Map of Looking Glass Pond
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