Category Archives: For Beginners

Approaching Devil's Kitchen lean-to

As a kid, one of my most memorable experiences was camping. Living on Long Island we did a lot of hiking and camping in Harriman Park just north of the New York metropolitan area and as I got older I explored the Catskills and then eventually the Adirondacks. The nights in the woods were (and still are) awesome adventures! Lean-to camping in the Catskills was especially memorable. The history, legend, and structures fascinated me. In…

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Rochester Hollow Lean-to Sign

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…

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Beaver Pond on the Kelly Hollow Loop Trail

In the northwestern part of the 13,500 acre Balsam Lake Wild Forest sits a relatively isolated trail loop. The Kelly Hollow Loop which starts and finishes on Mill Brook Road and is closed in on three sides by Mill Brook Ridge. The old woods road the trail follows was once used as logging roads and probably by farms as you’ll be able to make out the extensive stone fence network and scattered foundations. The openness…

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Kelly Hollow Lean-to in the Catskills

In the Balsam Lake Wild Forest is a trail loop that doubles as a ski and hiking trail. It is also a gem for people who wish to hike and have some solitude away from the crowds on the more popular high peak trails. Even though there are primitive campsites very close to the road, the prize spot to camp is the wonderful Kelly Hollow Lean-to which is situated at the farthest part of the…

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Our campsite on the Phoenicia - East Branch Trail near the Giant Ledge / Panther Mtn Trail

The Catskills are rich with a history of backcountry adventure. Often known as “America’s First Wilderness”, the Catskill Mountains has held a special place in the hearts for many avid outdoors person. The lean-to and primitive camping in the Catskills are second to none. Add gorgeous hiking trails for all ability levels, peaks with superb vistas, enchanting waterfalls, cross-country skiing, fishing, mountain biking, and more, the Cats is a place to be. In this post,…

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Please note changes in access and rules for hiking and camping in the Adirondacks and Catskills during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please act responsibly during this stressful period. Please read the DEC info carefully. Read more here!

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