North-South Lake loop

Haines Falls, New York 12436

North-South Lake loop

North-South Lake loop Professional Review and Guide

"This Catskill Mountains loop, a popular favorite, travels the escarpment and wooded outskirts of North–South Lake, snapping up cherished views and passing cultural sites. Waterfalls, azalea and mountain laurel blooms, and fall foliage complement the woodland sojourn. Although the loop rings the spectacle-shaped North–South Lake, it never approaches the lake.

Follow the blue trail left (north), rounding and ascending to Artists Rock, avoiding a yellow spur just ahead. Black oak, maple, pine, azalea, and mountain laurel decorate the escarpment brink. The broad sandstone ledges lay out a natural avenue. The jut of Artists Rock extends a 180-degree Hudson Valley panorama; vultures soar below the point."

North-South Lake loop Reviews

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Great hike, fairly easy and accessible to all. A perfect 9-mile loop so you can get a good day's hike without having to backtrack to camp. The majority of the hike follows the Escarpment trail, which offers spectacular views of the Hudson Valley. We intend to go back in the fall to hopefully catch some great foliage shots.
Great hike, views are outstanding from Artist, Sunset rocks and Newmans Ledge, also Inspiration Point. Agreed with most of the posted comments. I consider myself a medium skilled hiker and it took me 4.5 hours. Note for hikers going after the campground closes (approx Oct 12th), you will not be able to park at the North Lake parking lot. You will have to park at the southern tip of South Lake and walk approx 0.5 miles to the trailhead. Also, after you're done with the hike, drive back on Haines Falls road and make a left on Laurel Hollow Road and park at a trailhead. Walk approx 200 yards (make right at folk at 100yds) and see the top of Kaaterskill Falls - these falls are higher than Niagara Falls - but be carefull - the drop is sheer and be mindful if you have any pets. Enjoy!
Fantastic easy loop. Great views of the foliage and out into the Hudson Valley.
I didn't hike this trail. BUT I just got charged the annual fee for this site against my I will post REGULARLY. What a sleazy way for a site to bring in $!!
Fantastic trail. Very well marked and easy to follow... some scrambles up rocky faces, but overall a very moderate-easy hike with rewarding vistas more often than you might expect. Do not skip Sunset Rock; beautiful views over the North-South Lake. We arrived late on Monday, and completed the 10+ miles in about 4 hours on Tuesday (though we are pretty speedy hikers). Despite our speed, I am no expert and really enjoyed the slightly difficult climbs which were well spaced and balanced with level trails or downward slopes. Overall, I would highly recommend this trail. It was the perfect overnight getaway and a great beginning to the summer hiking season!
This was a beautiful walk with an enourmous amount of viewing points. The fall colours (at the end of October) where magnificent! It had been raining a lot before we did this walk and there was water everywhere. Little dripping streams from rocks, a lot of waterfalls and even some small floods. At one point we noticed that the sign with directions was standing in the middle of a flooded area! We had to cross it to get on to our route. All very adventurous and enjoyable. The lakes are very pretty too with lots of picnic tables available. It was too cold and windy on our walk but with sunny weather it would be a good place for a lunch break.
Great views, this says it all. I think the mileage might be off (my GPS counted only about 9.2 miles). The first half is rocky while the second half allows for some great make up time (while still maintaining excellent views). The shots from Boulder Rock are priceless (me pretendign to pry the boulder with my poles). I would do this loop again and again if we lived there. great historical sites as well.
Considering it rained the entire Memorial Day Weekend, the ~3 hour hike was perfect for the one dry window of opportunity we got to hike. The trails were groomed well, but required some careful footing since everything was wet. There were enough splits and loop choices making for an interesting venture. It was very green. The view of the Hudson River from afar was magnificant. It made me feel like an explorer looking at it for the first time. A gradual incline, but relatively easy hike. You can make it as long or as short as you'd like depending on the loops you take. Looks like it would be awesome in the fall!
This is a great trail with several what I call "Holly S**t!" moments. You'll be cruising along enjoying the surrounding trees and well marked path when all of a sudden the woods will part and unveil a 2000' cliffside view overlooking the Hudson Valley clear to Massachusetts. Soon you'll come upon the former site of the Katterskill Hotel--there used to be a giant hotel up there! It's marked by a visitor's info-board (wait 'till you find out what happened to it). Then a few miles later you'll come upon the remains of a plane crash. From Palenville, NY it's a 4 mile hike up to the North-South Lake, another 9 miles and a steep 800' climb up to the second highest peak on the Long Path; Blackhead Mountain (3900') and another 9 miles to the end of the North Escarpment on the other side of Windham High Peak. There's at least one great view per mile. The trails between these high points are very peaceful yet entangled and less trodden by tourist cheaters who take shortcuts from nearby roads. On second thought, don't hike this trail. I don't want it to become crowded.

North-South Lake loop Photos

Trail Information

Haines Falls
Nearby City
600 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
5-7 hours
Spring through Fall
New York State DEC, Region 4, Stamford Office, 65561 Highway 10, Suite 1, Stamford 12167; (607) 652-7365;
Local Contacts
Day Hikes at North–South Lake DEC brochure (available at DEC office); New York–New Jersey Trail Conference Trail Map 40, North Lake Area Catskill Trails (recommended, available at traditional and online bookstores or from the Conference:
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018