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View of Alder Lake in the Catskills

Alder Lake is a beautiful lake nestled between Mill Brook Ridge and Cradle Rock Ridge. It is a moderate to heavily trafficked area located in the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest. It is ringed by a loop trail and many primitive campsites. The lake was once home to the almost 11,000 sq Coykendall Lodge which remains sit near the parking area. The lake was also for a time used by the Boy Scouts as a…

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Sign at junction with Alder Lake Loop and Mill Brook Ridge Trail

Mill Brook Ridge rises above the Alder, Beecher, and Balsam Lakes and gives access to Balsam Lake Mountain and Woodpecker Ridge. The summit gets its name after its most prominent point on the ridge and the highest of the Catskill 67 missing the 3500′ mark by a mere few feet. It can be climbed by trail on the Mill Brook Ridge Trail or bushwhacked, especially from Kelly Hollow. A great overnight is also possible! The…

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Long Path and Blue DEC Markers on Escarpment Trail

Backpacking the Windham High Peak – Blackhead Mountain Range loop makes for a wonderful 2 to a 3-day outing. Passing over 6-peaks and 3-subpeaks makes for a bumpy ride. There are abundant views on the entire route and you can find spots to camp that are not at a lean-to or designated campsite (aka primitive campsite). Sections of the trail can be arid, especially during summer so plan accordingly. If you do a true loop…

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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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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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