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Great trail and great views of the waterfalls. In winter, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to climb the stairs as it is completely covered with icy snow.

Did this trail a few days ago. You can’t get to the entrance identified by Trails in the winter - they block cars from getting to the back of the park. Had a good time hiking around the lake before finding the trail head and sumiting Sunset Rock. Did a second detour over to Boulder Rock - stunning view every direction.

Great view from the top and the ruins are awesome to explore. It is however extremely congested with riff raff from the city. Even on a 0 degree day people were everywhere. That definitely takes the adventure out of a hike.

backpacking
10 days ago

Such an incredible place to visit! We went during the snow season - incredible views, very icy.
Breathtaking place to see from each viewpoint.

Dont go down the icy steps - unless u have spikes ;)

(also camping was great up near North South Campsite)

The first 30 minutes are tough it’s all uphill, there was snow which made it harder but the hotel and the view at the top were worth the hike!!!

Easy trail until you get to the 190 steps down to the bottom of the waterfalls. The view is great! Remember you have to go back up the 190 steps. Well worth it!

hiking
15 days ago

Very pretty! Went after a snow and the latter sections with stairs got very icey and slippery, so make sure you wear good boots with grip in the winter.

I consider this hike to be like a salad and steak type of hike. The road to the top (which is 2.5 miles making this actually a 5 mile hike) is rather mundane. However, when you get to the hotel ruins, it’s fascinating to explore. You then do the last pitch up to the summit to see a great Firetower and without a doubt the best views in the Catskills. We got there at 8:00 and got good parking. We were back at 10:15 and the parking lot was full. There is more parking 1/2 mile up the road, but this will add a mile to your hike. The best Firetower hike in the Catskills.

The ruins were really cool to see and the view from the top is beautiful

Basically walking up a driveway. The hike itself isn't that visually stimulating but the views from the top are what make this a 5 star hike.

Can be very muddy and slippery if there has been rain recently. Otherwise quite pleasant and accurately described.

I was so impressed by how well-maintained the trail is! The stairs and bridge made the trail feel very safe despite being on a pretty steep incline. Even though it was a short distance, the rocks to climb and bigger switchback near the topmost tier of the falls made me feel like I was still getting a great hike in.

I could see it getting very busy during the afternoon (and was told so by someone I bumped into on my way down), but getting there around 8 am allowed me to park in the first lot with easy access to the trailhead and have the trail nearly entirely to myself - including the upper observation deck, on which I got to look at the falls by myself for quite a while. It’s a gorgeous view and was a perfect fall hike.

This was a nice day on the mountain despite the chilly temps and mud in parts of the trail. You must start VERY early in the morning this time of the year in order to make it back with day light. Sadly we were a few rock scrambles away from the summit before needing to turn around. We did end up needing a headlamp before making it out. There were a few overlooks just before the summit for some lovely views. The rock scrambles were great!

hiking
1 month ago

Easy trail in summer and early fall. Watch out for slick rocks during rain and especially ice patches in the winter. The amphitheater midway through the larger falls is just incredible. Several people die here each year, so be careful. It helps to take a single trekking pole for balance and insurance. I did and I’m glad I did. Have fun! This place is breathtaking in October.

I was ready to hate this trail. It’s just uphill for 1,500ft of elevation on a fire road for almost an hour. Which is pretty awful. I have to say, once we got up to the abandoned hotel, and then probably one of the best overlooks I’ve seen? It is worth it. If you’re willing to put up with a craptacualr hike to see some cool shit, this is the trail.

We had great time at this trail.
We went to the caskill house look out first, then turn on the blue trail, artist rock, sunset rock to Newman Ledge. Then turned back the same trail back to north Lake parking lot. We saw the rainbow nearby Sunset Rock, twice & two rainbows. Amazing. It was very windy, raining & cold when we got to the sunset rock site; less then 10mins. Need to go back again.

Hiked the Escarpment Trail counterclockwise. Walked down the little detour to the Kaaterskill Falls and made a loop behind the upper falls. This is not to be missed as the falls are in a spectacular setting and if you're careful and have good boots, you can carefully walk behind the falls and make a loop around the upper basin, explicit warnings of "deaths have occurred in this area" in mind.
I then continued on the Escarpment Trail to Layman's Monument, Inspiration Point, Boulder Rock, and the site of the Catskill Mountain House (CMH).
Note that the Alltrails map shows a trail that is supposed to run parallel to South Lake Road, beginning a bit south of the CMH. However, I could not find the first section, even after verifying the GPS location. So I hiked back to Boulder Rock and found the trail, but there are no trail markers and it turned out to be a rather wild trail that seems barely used and is not maintained. The GPS was really needed in this section, as I lost the barely visible trail multiple times. There were multiple fallen trees, mossy and hollow ground, and an overall feeling of being in the middle of the wild, which is very nice if you're into that. I eventually came out onto South Lake road and made a left on the South Lake Access Rd which brought me back to the Escarpment Trail.
The entire hike with these extensions was 8 miles, but next time I'll probably stick to the original loop, just adding the Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform and a hike down to the basins.

A tough one, but also very enjoyable. There is some scrambling and waterproof shoes or boots would be a good idea.

Would echo another reviewer's comment to take the loop clockwise. That means that the ascent is shorter and steeper but we were glad not to have to have to climb down that steeper way, particularly through any wettish sections.

On the midweek day in October we did the hike we saw no-one else.

Beautiful area of New York if you want to get out of the city. Single female 30 yo and went by myself. Took about 2.5 hours taking my time. The hike itself is mostly walking up a wide gravel path, there are no switchbacks or rock climbing. Loved seeing the old hotel and the view is worth the hike. I would recommend this to all ages and levels.

No rock scrambling or anything like that and not really even a trail but still tough because of the 2.5 mile walk all uphill until you reach the top. Amazing views just beyond the old hotel and an old fire tower that you can go up for even better views.

Very pretty but steep hike. Trail really isn’t hard because it’s more like a gravel road but the incline does dramatically increase at points. However on my way down I did see a toddler doing this so don’t be afraid! The view is stunning!

Did the 7.7 mile out and back to Wittenberg. Challenging ascent right off the bat. Then a respite before a challenging and rocky last mile. Great view at the top.

the first 45 min are tough as it is all uphill. the abandoned hotel and view up top are really nice and worth it :)

The falls itself is beautiful when viewed from either the upper viewing deck or from below. A strong word of caution is that in wet weather the trail down to the falls becomes very wet and extremely slippery. The trail itself is narrow and borders a sharp cliff before transforming into the rock steps that guides hikers to the falls themselves. People are frequently injured on this descent and I would advise groups to take their time be careful with children and be mindful of the weather to ensure all can have a safe fun time enjoying the beautiful scenery.

1 month ago

A very nice hike. Not overly challenging, but a rewarding view at the top.

Awesome fall colors illuminated the forests leading to Kaaterskill falls. A little steep at times and leaves make for slightly slippery terrian. but overall fantastic hike.

A nice moderate intro to Catskills hiking with an honestly arduous climb to the summit, stunning views, a fire tower to play on, and gothic-like ruins of an abandoned hotel to ponder. Do continue another 1.5 miles to serene Echo Lake for its beauty and hiking variety. The downside: the trail to Overlook is more ho-hum gravel road than true trail (undergoing machine grading when I visited), and trailhead parking can be challenging during busy hiking times.

its is a tough trail going up and going down! yet its beautiful when you reach the top!

amazing views, great hike rock scramble was fun. Get their early or you will park 3 miles down the road.

Amazon hike. Do it!

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