Skiing: Boulder Rock | Catskill Mountains, NY | 1/14/10

The trip out to Boulder Rock from South Lake is probably the 'classic' backcountry cross-country ski trip in the Catskill Mountains. It is not an overly long trip or difficult trip, but the trip out to Boulder Rock is pleasant enough and then the ski back offers plenty of opportunities for long downhill cruises with just a bit of climbing back up to the car at the South Lake dam.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10
Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

The trip starts out at the winter parking area for the North & South Lake Day Use area near the outlet of South Lake. Snowmobiles are allowed on the roads and the lakes, so it can be a bit crowded here. We were there on a Thursday though and there were only a few cars.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

The trail crosses over the South Lake dam and climbs a bit before the road intersects with the ski and snow shoeing trail to the Schutt Road trailhead. That trail is only for skiers and snow shoeing and is basically flat to slightly downhill to the trail junction.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

From there, the climb begins in earnest. You pass the sign-in booth for the trail shortly after the trail junction and then for about a mile you make a steady climb until you reach the old site of the Kaaterskill Hotel. About halfway you'll come to the trail junction with the Inspiration Point trail.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

Once you reach the Kaaterskill Hotel site, the rest of the trip is fairly level.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10
Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

The trail follows the escarpment around the mountain and you'll come to the trail junction for the Boulder Rock trail.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

This trail isn't exactly the best for skiing, at least right at the trail junction where it makes a quick drop down over a steep area before leveling off and heading out to Boulder Rock proper.

Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10
Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10
Boulder Rock Ski - 1/14/10

Besides that bit of steep climbing to the trail junction with the Escarpment Trail, the rest of the trip back to the car is just a really nice and easy cruise. You go back the same way you came to Boulder Rock, so you have about a half of a mile or so of flat skiing back to the Kaaterskill Hotel site and then about 2 miles or so of downhill to Schutt Road and then about a half a mile of slightly up to flat back to the parking lot at South Lake.

The total trip is somewhere between 6-7 miles, with each way being between 3 and 3 1/2 miles in length. It's not a overly difficult trip - I've always done it in about 3 to 4 hours depending on the weather and the conditions at Boulder Rock. If it's cold and windy, you really don't want to be standing and admiring the view for too long.

The full photo set for the Boulder Rock Trip is on Flickr.




Need more information on hiking and planning your 
trips to the Catskills and the Catskill Park?




Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills? We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set. These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park. The Catskill Center offers a regional map of the Catskills that provides an excellent overview of the region, it's roadways, attractions and trails. National Geographic Trails Illustrated also produces a map for the region. 

How about a guidebook? Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region and thAdventures in the Outdoors Bookstore carries many more books and maps that will help you as you hike and explore the Catskill Mountains region. 

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock and The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line. For the most comprehensive natural history of the Catskill Park and the Forests of the Catskill region, we recommend reading The Catskill Forest, a History by Michael Kudish.

   

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