Explore Catskills - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
10 hours ago

I really enjoyed this hike. my niece, 6 year old dog, and I hiked this in about an hour and a half. The hike was alittle strenuous on your calves going up, but once you got to the hotel it was worth it, from there the watchtower and overlook cliff is only .30 :).

Great view from the fire tower. Quick and easy hike but enjoyable.

Nice hike path is clear and safe all the way up as far as hiking through rocks and such. Great views had a great time.

The fire tower is a great reward at the end of the trail, but at some places there are slippery and/or loose rocks that make the way back down challenging. No plateaus or view points anywhere except at the top. Only a few very steep moments. With many water breaks and a 15 minute rest at the fire tower we clocked in at around 5 hours out and back. Best part was that it is mostly shaded the whole time which made the length bearable. Watch your footing as we did see a baby copperhead on the trail (surely mom was close by).

It was a challenge and there was a lot of lovely fauna to see including a fresh water spring. Nice views at the top and when you’re done you’ll feel like you had a good day in nature and have gotten some great exercise too.

This hike came as advertised. It was a kind of boring hike up, but the ruins are really cool, the views are great, and we saw a timber rattlesnake. My wife and I have only been getting serious about hiking for a few months and we finished in 2.5 hours, which included a few minutes chatting with some volunteers at the top. Overall,it was a great way to spend a morning.

hiking
10 days ago

This hike is definitely EASY - not moderate. I am not super fit but I managed this very easily (there are a few hills but they're not challenging). The hike is very muddy and wet, so you need good hiking boots. The view is unreal!!!! I would highly recommend this, considering it's little energy exerted for a stunning view!

hiking
11 days ago

Great panoramic views throughout the trail. Even though this is high up there is shade at regular intervals on this trail in summer which is a welcome relief. Went after a week of on and off raining, the trail was very very slippery. Be careful if you're going after snow/rain, some of the rock scrambles and descents my grip was slipping, especially the steep rocky section by the stream crossing. Plenty of deep crevasses to hop over and a few scrambles near drop offs--keeps the interest and adrenaline going. There are two rock formations that are similar, apparently Gertrude's nose is the one with the larger outcropping. You can take Millbrook Carriage back for a longer but more gentle way to end or to MM trail to Lake Minnewaska for a steeper route.

Looked for but didn't see many blueberries at all, sadly. Plently of huckleberries along the way, though.

We hiked this back in April. Muddy trails but the top was worth it. There’s awesome abandoned buildings and a tower you can climb at the top. Gorgeous views

hiking
12 days ago

So many beautiful views on this loop around Gertrude’s Nose. Loop itself was about 6ish miles, with just under two coming in and out from the parking lot. Not sure about folks who don't find this a difficult trail - either they’re stroking their egos or I’m nurturing mine!...you make the call *smile*. Lots of irregular terrain, steep spots to climb - up and down, and large slippery rocks with water crossings on the path. That said, I’m no pro hiker and I found it totally doable. And, despite it being a Sunday and there being lots of folks circulating by the lake, I was solo for nearly the whole loop.... just ran into one duo toward the end. (Maybe because it was later in the day, ~3-7.) I wanted a challenging new trail with lots of natural beauty and definitely found it!

backpacking
12 days ago

Was my second time backpacking. Got to the trailhead 530PM and made the summit around 830. Was pretty gruelling with a pack. Word of caution- the left side of the loop floods and some portions of it had actively flowing water. Wear proper footwear and trekking poles would be good too.

Overlooks would be better in fall after foliage drops but the hike itself is quite amazing visually.

Once you get to the peak, the view is amazing. But be prepared for lots of walking. Bring snacks and plenty of water.

hiking
15 days ago

Very wet trail and top of fire tower is locked

hiking
15 days ago

Boring all truck road .. top of the fire tower is locked

tougher then we thought. rain made the hike more technical. very nice view from the fire tower.

Gorgeous moderate hike. If you are looking for views this is a great pick. The trail is moderate and offers nice portions that are great for trail running. There are also many nice little overlooks so you can find your own spot to relax and take in the views.

Challenging hike with beautiful views. Our surroundings continued to change drastically so it was motivating to keep going and see what you would find next. Great variety of mushrooms, flowers, and tiny critters; I had never seen a neon orange lizard before. Once we finally reached the very top, we were in a misty cloud and that was pretty awesome.

A positive Sensory overload- highly recommend!

(Shoes with good traction and plenty of shock absorbing cushion are a must for the lengthy descend.)

Pretty view from the top. The hike up was a little uninspiring.

hiking
20 days ago

Lovely trail but this is a moderate one - cannot call this hard

My 1st ever trail; you'll love it. great view from top. Hydrate well

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful trail...

I’ve never climbed a mountain and I chose to do Balsam Lake Mountain because of the fire tower for my birthday. M

Does the trail have spectacular views? No, but it’s well marked which is exactly what I was looking for.

The last 3/4 miles were brutal, but in a good way. Once I got to the summit it all became worth it.

The weather was great, the views were breathtaking, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

10/10, would recommend.

This was a great trail- note that the blue trail turns to yellow at the Y for the longer hike noted here and the best views. If you remain on the blue it’s considerably shorter. Steepest at the beginning and then about 3/4 way for a bit (at which you then dip back down elevation wise and seems wrong but keep going!). Easy to do with my Australian Shepherd (7 yrs old but active). Would happily do again!

The trail itself was pretty boring. It felt like an old road (which it may have been given the numerous hotels over the years right off of it near the top) rather than a hiking-specific trail developed within the woods/mountains. Also be prepared to not have a lot of shade during the hike. It offers a steady climb to the top that I would consider moderate but nothing more (if you hike fairly often), though certain areas will definitely get your heart racing. That being said, we got lucky and went on a very pleasant day in July (low 80s and low humidity). The incline could definitely take a toll in severe heat.

All of that being said, the views from the top are worth the trip. Try to visit on a day when the fire tower and “museum” are open. The mini-museum offers some fascinating history about the area as well as the abandoned hotel you pass by on the way up. Plus, the views from the top of the fire tower are even better than those from the overlook (which is saying something). We did not encounter any rattlesnakes.

A three mile hike straight up hill? You sound less crazy when you get to the top and have the opportunity to admire the views. This place is also highly populated with Timber rattlesnakes so I would recommend sticking to the trails and keeping a close eye on your pets. Otherwise the trail is well maintained and worth it!!

hiking
27 days ago

The hike up to the summit is a steady incline up a road. The top is absolutely beautiful especially the view from the fire tower. My only concern was the Timber Rattlesnakes that are very common along the trail and at the top. We saw a big one in alert mode with its head up. Think twice about bringing a dog with you on this hike because the snakes are no joke

hiking
29 days ago

The views are great and the trail is well-maintained. Good for beginners, I say.

backpacking
29 days ago

Nice to have the hotel ruins as a destination and the extra half mile to the tower is worth it

Awesome views

Hike itself is a 1/5 stars (nonstop loose rock and gravel track at steep incline for 2.4 miles)
Ruins of the old Outlook Hotel are a 9/5 stars
View from the fire tour is 5/5 stars

Total Rating: 5 Stars

Very very worth the hike up for the views and attractions.

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