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Escarpment Trail is a 21.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Jewett, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length21.9 miElevation gain5006 ftRoute typePoint to point
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingBird watchingRunningForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeBlowdownMuddyRockyScrambleSnow
Description
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Getting There

Amazing Catskills and HudsonValley views from multiple view points along the way. Significant climbs and descents with the occasional rock scramble. Multiple trail entry points from other trails to do sectional out and back hiking in addition to the full point to point. Easiest sections are at South end of trail near North Lake. Trail more strenuous past Dutcher's Notch and towards Black Dome

New York State Division of Tourism, One Commerce Plaza , Albany, NY, 12245, Phone: 518-474-4116

Directions from Junction of US 20 and SR 158, NY: Take SR 158 south about 1.5 miles until it dead ends at SR 146. Turn left (west) and take SR 146 west for several miles. The road intersects with SR 156. Continue straight which is SR 156. Travel 3.2 miles to SR 157, then head south for 1.7 miles. Turn left (east) on Albany Country Road 256. Travel approximately 2.5 miles then get back on SR 157 which takes you into the park. Travel to the Hale's Cave Picnic Area. The trailhead is located on the north side of the dead-end road at the base of the picnic area.

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Reviews (28)
Photos (2936)
Recordings (21)
Completed (93)
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Sam Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 26, 2020
Hiking

Ran the trail northbound 10/24 - gorgeous views and really runnable terrain for the Catskills. The climbs up Blackhead and Windham are brutal for the last push up to the top, but there’s a lot of nice flats/ascents/descents to just coast through. Gorgeous + frequent viewpoints, and a really nice smooth 3.5 mile downhill stretch coming off Windham to the end at Elm Ridge. In the realm of the ‘classic’ big Catskills trail runs, this is one of my favorites - hard climbs and some scrambling, but won’t destroy your knees (and heart and soul and body) like the Devil’s Path. Full trip took about 6 hours, with a short stop for lunch.

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Shawn Connolly
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Hiking
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Shawn Connolly
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Hiking
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Erica Hall
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BackpackingGreat!RockyScramble

Did this hike SOBO from 8/6-8/8. Mileage ended up being closer to 27 with side trails for views etc. Trail is very well marked and maintained. Views were incredible and plentiful. Blackhead mountain was HARD and many other areas involve steep inclines that seem like they go on forever. There are also plenty of areas with enjoyable flat hiking as well. My boyfriend, dog and I had a wonderful time on this hike.

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Patrick Stevener
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HikingBugs

End to end south terminus to north. Stayed the evening at Batavia Kill lean-to. Did not see potable water source until we got there. We hiked 7/2-7/3. Hot and lots of flies (not biting but annoying in volume), minimum mosquito’s though. Trail in great shape, we’ll marked. The plane crash wreckage was really neat. Awesome views, Blackhead Mountain kicked my butt at the end of a long day 1 but was totally worth it.

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Zachary Zwick
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BackpackingMuddy

Great trail, some fun scrambles. Did it a couple days ago. You can skip the first few miles but don’t, some great hiking along the ridge. Snowed on my overnight then had a lot of ice coming down Blackhead from summit to ~3700ft but that’ll likely be gone by now. Well maintained and extremely clearly marked. Even with all the rain, water’s still hard to find at points.

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John Dalton
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Hiking

Possible in one long day for fit hikers. Start backwards at elm ridge to finish with great views of the kaaterskill gorge at sunset.

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Jesse Pena
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Backpacking

Completed the full Escarpment trail 3 weeks ago, 2 days 1 night. Awesome trail, great views, a real grind. I traveled south to north (left a car at 23/Elm Ridge parking). Going the other way would be just as strenuous.

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Jesse Pena
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Hiking

The Escarpment Trail runs for 21 miles from Haines Falls to Windham. It is the northeastern most ridge of the Catskill Mountains. The views are unbelievable and it traverses two 3500 peaks - Blackhead and Windham. It is not as rugged and technical as the Devil's Path but is still a difficult trek end to end. I camped at about the halfway point near Dutcher Notch, just before Blackhead Mountain. Some opt to do this in 3 days; the fit and experienced hikers tackle this in a day.

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Scott Tanner
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Backpacking

The Escarpment Trail is a Catskill delight. Great views, historic places, awesomely exhausting climbs, and great options for side trips. We hiked S > N as an overnight. After climbing Black Dome ducked off the blue blazed escarpment trail to the lean-to and hung the hammock. The next morning we took a short jaunt to tag Black Dome and Thomas Cole mountains then return to the trail. Finished by going over Windham High Peak. Make sure not to miss the short jaunt (~.2m) down to the top of Kaaterskill Falls by the southern terminus at North-South Lake and the quick (~.2m) Yellow side trail to Artists Ledge. You'll get better views of N-S lake further along (and higher up) on the Escarpment but Artists Ledge is a place of significance to early painters in the area. Very cool to see the paintings and know you've stood in that spot, looking at that view. I highly recommend the side trip to tag Black Head and Thomas Cole, especially if your working on your 3500 club list. Go mid-July through the fall after black flies die off, fall is the best if you can pull it off so it's not so hot.

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Sarah Jacob
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This trail head is not located where your map says. I have been lead to the middle of nowhere.

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Avegail Colegado
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Backpacking
First to Review

Completed this over Memorial Day w/e 3 nights and 3 days (we came from Central PA) following one of the detailed guides found online. We prepared and understood the challenges on this hike: water and lots of rocks. We parked our vehicle (free) at the Laurel House Rd trail head and took a taxi to Rte 23 trail head for $47. There were quite a number of day-hikers on the trail fr Rte 23 to Windham High Peak; fr Batavia to Black Dome/Thomas Cole; and after Newman's Ledge to both trail heads (Schutt/Laurel House Rd). In between, we hardly saw anyone. We camped at Colgate Lake, Batavia Kill, and North Mtn. We divided the trek into 9.5/8.5/9.0 miles. The toughest was on the 2nd day, climbing Blackhead Mountain (3940'). Like they say the total elevation gain is 9,000 ft - this is exhausting. Expect an average rate of 1.5 mph. The distances seemed much longer, these are not your regular miles. The black flies were horrendous esp at Batavia Kill. Meals had to be planned well due to water being scarce - we limited our cooking to when we were at the water source. The spring water at the junction of Dutcher Notch and Colgate Lake is 0.4 mile down a hollow but it's so slow flowing it will probably run dry during the summer. We brought 3 liters of water each and it was just enough to keep ourselves hydrated. The trail is well maintained, only saw 2 garter snakes. Washed out sections are slippery due to loose rocks and gravel. The descents precipitous. The ascents heart-pumping. The views are magnificent. The experience exhilarating. I will definitely go back.

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Daniela Gomez
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Hiking
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joby joseph
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Hiking
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Zachary Zwick
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Backpacking
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Nicolas Lemery-Nantel
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Hiking
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Moe Lemire
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Hiking
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Alex Kelly
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Hiking
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Kevin Kilmer
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Hiking
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Kevin Kilmer
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Hiking
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Rajesh Sharma
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Hiking
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M Halim Dalgin
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Hiking
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Chelsea Rizzo
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Hiking
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Rory Campbell
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Hiking
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Y L
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Hiking
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Dan Colen
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Hiking
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Meryl O'Mahony
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Mike M
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