CATSKILLS REGION TRAILS
The Mongaup Pond Campground surrounds the 120-acre lake, which is the largest in the Catskill Park. It includes picnic areas, boat rentals, fishing areas, and a beach for swimming. Eight of the 163 campsites are handicapped-accessible with accessible showers and a trail to the beach. And of course, it is connected to a network of beautiful wooded trails.
For additional trails in this area, check out the Willowemoc Wild Forest Trail System.
Directions: From Route 17 West: Take Exit 96 at Livingston Manor; turn left on County Road 81 & 82. Drive 6 miles to DeBruce, turn left onto Mongaup Road, and drive 3 miles to the campground. Where the road splits stay right on Mongaup Road. From Route 17 East: Take Exit 96 and turn right at the bottom of ramp, then left at the stop sign. Turn left on DeBruce Road/County Rte 81. Drive 6 miles to DeBruce, turn left onto Mongaup Road, and drive 3 miles to the campground. Where the road splits stay right on Mongaup Road. (See the description of each specific hike for directions to the trailhead parking.)
Mongaup Pond Campground is operated by the NYSDEC.
For more info: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24484.html
Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.95695 W74.69111
Warning: This hike is a through hike that requires a “car shuttle”. An “out and back” hike would be 13 miles! Be sure to allow plenty of time for driving.
Getting There: Exit State Route 17 at exit 96W and turn right. At the next intersection turn right on to Old Route 17. Exit State Route 17 at exit 96E and turn right at the end of the exit. Turn right at the end of the road onto Old Route 17. Drive 1.2 miles and turn right on Beaverkill Road. Drive a little more than 18 miles on the Beaverkill Road passing through the hamlets of Lew Beach and Turnwood. Just before Turnwood be sure to follow the road as it bears right. The road turns to dirt and the last few miles are difficult to travel. Watch for a small parking area on the right side of the road. If you reach the parking lot for Balsam Lake Mountain at the end of the road, you have gone too far. Leave a car and drive back the way you came. Turn left on Old Route 17 at the end of Beaverkill Road and and drive 1.5 miles to DeBruce Road on the left. Turn left and pass under State Route 17. From the “caboose” drive 5.6 miles on DeBruce Road to Mongaup Road. Turn left and drive 2.7 miles to where the road splits. Stay right on Mongaup Pond Road and drive 1 mile to the entrance to Mongaup Pond State Campgrounds. There may be parking just outside the entrance to the campgrounds. If not, you will have to pay the “day use” fee and park in the parking area by the bathrooms.
Difficulty: This hike is rated STRENUOUS because it is almost 8 miles and has several significant ascents. The total ascent is over 2000 feet.
Trail Surface: The trail surface is generally dirt, grass and leaves. There are some rocky areas along the way and many areas with tree roots to negotiate. There are several muddy and wet areas. Some areas may have significant briars overgrowing the trail.
Hike Description: The Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail begins at the northern end of the larger section of Mongaup Pond. To get there you must walk the loop road. Start just outside the entrance to the campsites. Walk through the entrance and stay on the loop road on the western side of the pond. Stay on the main loop road watching for the blue blazes of the Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail on the left. At about .85 miles follow the blue blazes as they leave the road to the right and start along the western shore of the upper lob of Mongaup Pond. At the northern end of the pond at 1.4 miles the Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail turns left while a snowmobile trail continues straight ahead. Turn left and get ready for some climbing. Over the next 1.4 miles the trail gains 820 feet heading north to the summit of a Mongaup Mountain. At the summit the trail turns right or east and continues to follow the ridge. Over the next 1.7 miles the trail descends and the ascends several times until it reaches a junction with the Long Pond Beaverkill Ridge Trail at 4.4 miles. As you hike be sure to watch for the markers which may be hard to find in some spots. Continue passed the trail junction still heading east and northeast. The trail continues to roll over several hills until at 5.9 miles it reaches the highest point on the hike and the trail turns north. The trail now begins a constant descent to the parking area on the Beaverkill Road. In 1.8 miles the trail drops almost 1100 feet! Just before the parking area a bridge crosses the Beaverkill. The bridge is a suspension bridge which has a very interesting construction. Once you arrive at your car you can relax on your drive back to Mongaup Pond.
Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.94744 W74.70479
Getting There: Exit State Route 17 at exit 96W and turn left on DeBruce Road. Exit State Route 17 at exit 96E and turn right at the end of the exit. Turn left at the end of the road and then take the next left onto DeBruce Rd. From the “caboose” drive 5.6 miles on DeBruce Road to Mongaup Road. Turn left and drive 2.7 miles to where the road splits. Stay right and look for a small parking area on the right which has room enough for only two or three cars. If these spots are taken, you may park in the Frick Pond parking and walk down the road to begin the hike. To do this, turn around and drive back to the intersection, turn right on Beech Mountain Road and drive .3 miles to the parking areas on the left. Park in the large lot and walk back down the road to the intersection. The hike begins on an unmarked dirt road that starts just south of the small parking area near the intersection.
Difficulty: This hike is rated STRENUOUS because it is almost 8 miles and has several long but not too steep ascents There may be muddy areas along the way especially at on the return trip along the base of the ridge.
Trail Surface: The trail surface has a few large stones but consists mostly of small stones and dirt. The trail is often wet and muddy.
Hike Description: This hike begins on what was once a town road called Hunter Road, one of many in the area. The hike uses mostly snowmobile trails but does include part of the Mongaup Willowemoc Trail. Start the hike by walking down down the woods road between the small parking area on Mongaup Road and the intersection. Walk down to the stream and cross on the “bridge”. Continue walking straight ahead on the old road. At .4 miles you will pass by a snowmobile trail that you will use on the return trip. There is a short descent followed by a climb on a rocky woods road toward Terwillger Road. At 1 mile turn left on the snowmobile trail where it turns into the woods. The trail drops a little as it heads northeast and then at 1.4 miles it begins to climb again. At 2.35 miles the trail heads southeast to reach the highest point on the trail at 2.7 miles. From here the trail begins to descend and at 2.9 miles the trail again turns northeast and continues dropping in elevation. At 3.8 miles you will reach the Mongaup Willowemoc Trail. Turn left and start heading northwest as you start climbing again over some rocky terrain until the top of a hill at 4.5 miles. Start to descend the other side. and continue the descent until at 5.2 miles where the Mongaup Willowemoc Trail ends at a snowmobile trail. Turn left on the snowmobile trail and head southwest. This trail can be very wet in places as it is lower than the land to the east and water drains from the higher land. Continue to walk southwest passing over two small hills. At 7.35 miles arrive at the junction with the snowmobile trail from the start of the hike. Turn right and start to walk downhill and northwest back toward the car. As you approach the small bridge over the stream turn off to the left and walk to Mongaup Falls. You will be guided by the sound of the falls. The falls has two levels and is well worth the trip. Walk back to the main trail and turn left, cross the bridge and walk back up the woods road to the main road and your car.
Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.95017 W74.63266
Getting There: Exit State Route 17 at exit 96W and turn left on DeBruce Road. Exit State Route 17 at exit 96E and turn right at the end of the exit. Turn left at the end of the road and then take the next left onto DeBruce Rd. From the “caboose” drive 9 miles on DeBruce Road to Flugertown Rd on the left. Flugertown Road is the next left hand turn after the hamlet of Willowemoc. After 1.3 miles, the road turns to gravel. Go another 1.1 miles and park somewhere along the edge of the road. There are no formal parking areas here but there are enough areas to park a few cars. The trail begins on the left side of the road. Depending on where you parked, you may have to walk one way or the other to find the trailhead.
Difficulty: This hike is rated VERY STRENUOUS because it is almost 10 miles and has several long ascents. The trail along the Beaverkill Ridge rolls over several small peaks. There may be muddy areas along the way especially on the return trip along snowmobile trail near Mongaup Pond.
Trail Surface. The trail surface is generally dirt, grass and leaves. There are some rocky areas along the way and many areas with tree roots to negotiate.
Hike Description: The trail begins as a gradual uphill through some pine forest along the co-aligned Long Pond Beaverkill Trail and the Mongaup Willowemoc Trail. After .5 miles the red marked Long Pond Beaverkill trail goes to the right and the yellow marked Mongaup Willowemoc trail heads left. The latter is the shorter way to Mongaup and by far the easier walk. Turn right on the red marked trail. This trail wanders back and forth and up and down through hardwood forest and pine trees. Several areas may be overgrown with briars making the going slow and difficult at times. There are a few areas of nettles. During wetter times the trail sports several muddy areas. About halfway up the trail to the Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail, you will pass Sand Pond on your right. You will never know it though since the trail has no views at all. The trail begins an ascent near its end to gain elevation to the Beaverkill Mongaup Ridge. After about 3 miles, the trail ends on the Beaverkill Mongaup Ridge at the blue marked Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail. Turn left here and head west toward Mongaup Pond Campsites. This trail is a little more used but the markers are few and far between. There are several steep descents and ascents along the way as the trail ascends the three Mongaup Mountains. There are even several switchbacks! The last ascent to Mongaup Mountain is the most challenging as the trail climbs 430 feet in .5 miles averaging a 17% grade. At this point the trail turns south. The trail now descends 810 feet over 1.5 miles to the shores of Mongaup Pond. At 6.2 miles, the Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail turns right at Mongaup Pond. Turn left here on the wide snowmobile trail. Cross four wooden bridges. After the fourth bridge turn left on the well-marked, yellow-blazed Mongaup Willowemoc Trail. This is also a snowmobile trail so it is wide and fairly well groomed but may have some blowdowns across the path in some areas. At about 8.3 miles a large wooden bridge crosses Butternut Creek. This creek flows well even in drier weather and has some beautiful areas along its banks. From this point it is about 1.1 miles back to the junction with the Long Pond Beaverkill Trail. On the way several woods roads and trail cross the one you are on. Ignore these and stay on the yellow marked trail. At 9.4 mikes bear right at the trail junction and hike the .5 miles back to the car.
Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.95695 W74.69111
GettingThere: From the east exit State Route 17 at Exit 96W and turn right on DeBruce Road. Drive to the T intersection and turn right on Old Rt 17 toward Roscoe. Drive 1.3 miles to Beaverkill Road on the right. Exit State Route 17 at Exit 96E and turn right on White Roe Lake Road. Drive to the T intersection and turn right on Old Rt 17. Drive 1.2 miles to Beaverkill Road on the right. Turn right on Beaverkill Road and drive 20.4 miles to end of the Beaverkill Road. You will pass through the hamlets of Lew Beach and Turnwood where the road makes and almost 90 degree turn. At the end of the road turn right into the parking area.
Difficulty: This hike is rated STRENOUS even though it is only 4.3 miles because there is an elevation gain of 1208 feet The ascent up the steep side of the trail averages over a 25% grade!
Trail Surface: The trail consists of areas of dirt grass and small stones until the turn up the mountain. As you ascend the mountain the trail is rough and eroded in places. There are tree roots to walk around and larger rocks to step over.
Hike Description: Start your hike by walking north out of the parking area on the blue-blazed Dry Brook Ridge Trail and hike about .9 miles to a trail junction. Turn left on the red-blazed Balsam Lake Trail to begin your steep climb to the fire tower at the summit. The steepest part of the climb lasts for about .5 miles and you will gain almost 700 feet over that distance. Near the top of the climb a spur trail turns right and leads to a Len-to. Just passed this turn there is a spring and the last part of the climb to the summit plateau. At 1.5 miles the yellow Millbrook Ridge Trail turns off to the left. Continue for another .2 miles to the clearing which has a fire tower. The cab is open every weekend during the summer but the view from just below the cab is almost as good. The fire tower at the top offers a spectacular view in all directions. Balsam Lake Mountain is the westernmost in the Catskill Park and the tower offers an unhindered 360-degree view. Continue on the trail for about .75 miles and you will rejoin the Dry Brook Ridge Trail. The descent is more gentle than the ascent but does have some loose dirt which can cause hikers to slip. When you reach the trail junction with the Dry Brook Ridge Trail, turn right follow this trail 1.8 miles back to the trailhead. At 3.45 miles you will pass the Balsam Lake Trail on the right that you used earlier on your hike to the summit.