Hiking: Echo Lake via The Old Overlook Road Trail | Catskill Mountains, NY | 7/5/08

The hike out to Echo Lake is fairly easy and generally fairly level as you make your way from the Platte Clove Preserve up the Old Overlook Road and then around Plattekill Mountain to the junction with the Echo Lake Trail. This trail, only slightly over a half mile in length, probably has the most descending (and/or climbing) related to the whole hike as you make your way down from the ridge between Plattekill and Overlook to Echo Lake, which sits in a bowl between the two mountains. The whole trip is just over 8 miles.

The trail starts out off of County Route 16 (aka the Platte Clove Road) and travels up through the Platte Clove Preserve. The Catskill Center has little interpretive signs up along the way, so if you ever wondered about tree species and stuff, you’re in luck here.

While the weather wasn’t all that great for the trip, this is a good hike rain or shine. Thankfully the rain held off, but we didn’t get much shine either. The weather was warm and humid and the clouds were hugging the eastern escarpment, so the views were fairly limited.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
You quickly join up with the Devil’s Path, which comes in from where it starts on Prediger Road. There’s also a fairly large bluestone quarry on the right-hand side of the trail here (as you’re heading towards Echo Lake). It’s not the most stunning quarry in the Catskill, but it’s interesting to explore if you have the time.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
From there, the trail makes its way up a few hundred yards to the Devil’s Kitchen Lean-to. This lean-to is located along the Cold Kill and is a very well used (and worn out) lean-to.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
After you cross the Cold Kill you begin the ascent around Plattekill and up to the front of the escarpment.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
At the height of land there’s a side trail out to Codfish Point. Codfish Point is an extensive series of quarries and at the end of the side trail there’s a couple of stone chairs and a view out into the Hudson Valley. Unfortunately for us, it was a humid and cloudy day so our view was limited to a few homes at the base of the mountain and then lots and lots of clouds.

Echo Lake Hike - 7/5/08
The rest of the hike along the Old Overlook Road to the Echo Lake Trail is fairly unexciting. There are a few kinda-views through the trees out into the valley as you are walking and in a few places, the road is carved into a fairly steep slope, so it’s interesting to look down and wonder how much work it took to make the road. There’s also skunk springs, which is a mostly reliable source of water in all but the driest conditions.

Echo Lake Hike - 7/5/08
When you reach the trail junction with the Echo Lake Trail you’ve got just over a half of a mile down to the lake. The trail isn’t steep, but it is a steady descent the entire way.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
The trail ends at the Echo Lake Lean-to, which like the Devil’s Kitchen one is very well used. There are also several official campsites around the shores of the lake. While there’s no official trail, there’s a herd path in fairly good shape all the way around the lake.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
Echo Lake Hike - 7/5/08
The lake isn’t that big and the hike around it is quite nice.

Echo Lake  Hike 7/5/08
The views from the outlet (the opposite shore from the lean-to) are quite nice.

Echo Lake Hike - 7/5/08
A cool thing we discovered was that the tadpoles in the lake were just finishing growing up and thousands (literally) of tiny toads and frogs were making their way from the water onto the shore and then up into the woods. The ground was coated with them in places and at first I thought they were grasshoppers or bugs until I looked more closely and realized they were tiny little frogs out on land for the first time.

After some lunch and some exploration around the lake, it was time to head back. You only have two options here, continue out to Overlook Mountain and then the Meads trailhead if you have a second car over there or to go back the way that you came. Since we didn’t have a second car, we made our way back down the Old Overlook Road and out to Platte Clove.



All of the photos from the hike are available here on Flickr.


For More Information on Catskills Hiking and Outdoors

Check out our Catskill Mountain Information Page for hikes, advice and planning information.  Need a hiking map for the Catskills?  The Trail Conference publishes the Catskills Trails Map Set, which is the best set of maps available for hiking in the Catskills. How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish Trail Guides to the Catskill Region


Guide to Catskill Trails (Forest Preserve, #8) (The Forest Preserve Series)AMC Catskill Mountain Guide, 2nd: AMC's Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Trails in the Catskills (Appalachian Mountain Club)Catskill Trails

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