Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

On Friday afternoon, we endured two hours of painful bumper-to-bumper traffic to escape from New York City, and then continued driving to the Catskills, where we checked into the Howard Johnson’s in Saugerties.

On Sunday, we enjoyed an easy/moderate 4.5 mile hike with an elevation gain of about 1000′. Batya wanted to avoid strenuous hikes, as she was still recovering from a broken shoulder and subsequent surgery. This hike promised a big view of the Hudson Valley.

We drove from Saugerties past Haines Falls and through Tannersville, turning south on Spruce Street and then east onto Platte Cove Road. We drove to GPS coordinates 42.13316/-74.08275, turning left (north) on an access road, which after about 50 yards ended at the Steenburg Road Parking Area. (I wondered why the parking lot was called Steenburg Road when we had driven there on Platte Cove Road. It turns out that Steenburg Road was the name of a woods road that now serves as a hiking trail.)

After the usual ritual of applying sunscreen and bugspray, we set out, hiking on the aforementioned woods road, with red and blue blazes. The hike began passing through the land of the Platte Cove Preserve, owned by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. The blue blaze represented the Long Path, which typically uses aqua blazes, with some variability.

Eroded portion of Steenburg Road, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Eroded portion of Steenburg Road

We continued on the Long Path:

Long Path, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Long Path

After about three quarters of a mile, we were within the boundaries of the Kaaterskill Wild Forest, an 8,550 acre area managed by the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation.

After about another quarter mile, we reached an intersection with the yellow-blazed Huckleberry Point Trail. We turned right onto that trail, crossing a small stream (which can reportedly be challenging to cross in wetter seasons).

Stream crossing, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Stream crossing

Having made it across the stream without getting wet, we proceeded on the yellow-blazed trail:

Huckleberry Point Trail, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Huckleberry Point Trail

Some moss-covered rocks added texture to the hike:

Rocks on the Huckleberry Point Trail, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Rocks on the Huckleberry Point Trail

More rocks:

Rocks on the Huckleberry Point Trail, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Rocks on the Huckleberry Point Trail

We also found mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia) in a few places, though it may have been a few weeks past its most glorious state:

Mountain Laurel, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Mountain laurel

Three tree trunks growing together:

Triplet tree, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Triplet tree

Getting closer to Huckleberry Point:

Huckleberry Point Trail, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Huckleberry Point Trail

Wild forest:

Huckleberry Point Trail, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Huckleberry Point Trail

We reach Huckleberry Point:

View from Huckleberry Point, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

View from Huckleberry Point

The elevation at the parking lot was 1872′, and the high point on this hike was 2516′. I should note that the high point did not occur at the midp0int (the scenic view). Rather, the high point occurs at about 1.75 miles into the hike, after which there is a drop of 200′ of elevation by the time the scenic view is reached at the 2.25 mile midpoint of the hike.

We settled in for a nice lunch, enjoying the scenic view from Huckleberry Point:

View from Huckleberry Point, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

View from Huckleberry Point

After lunch, we retraced our steps back to the car.

On the way back to Saugerties, we wanted to visit Kaaterskill Falls, a 260′ waterfall between Haines Falls and Palenville. Ideally, we would have liked to have hiked to the base of the falls. The problem is that there are only two tiny parking lots on N.Y. State Road 23A, both of which are almost always filled to capacity. There also seemed to be a dangerous walk from either of these parking lots to the trail that would lead to the base of the falls. We never were able to visit the waterfall from this location.

Happily, we saw a sign in Haines Falls that directed us to Lake Road, where we were able to park the car on Laurel House Road and take a short trail that led to a scenic view looking down on the waterfall.

Observation deck of Kaaterskill Falls:

Observation Deck of Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Observation Deck of Kaaterskill Falls

The view of the top of the falls, from the observation deck:

Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County, New York

Kaaterskill Falls

Batya was pleased with the Huckleberry Point trail and the visit to the falls, as neither was too strenuous.

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