Hiking: Shandaken Brook Lean-To | Catskill Mountains, NY | 4/26/2011

The Shandaken Brook Lean-to is located on Shandaken Brook at the every end of the Dry Brook River Valley in the Catskills.  It's accessible via the trailhead in Seager and is about a 2 mile walk along old roads for the most part from there.  The majority of the hike is over private land, with the lean-to located soon after you reach the Forest Preserve boundary.

The hike starts from the trailhead along an eroded roadway.  The walking for the most part is fairly easy, though there are some sections where the trail has be relocated away from the old road that are washing out.  Also the trail makes several stream crossings which are difficult at best and almost impossible, if not impossible in higher water.  We were there after the spring flows had dropped a bit, but the water was still high and the main creek crossings were still a challenge.  Be ready to ford the stream or expect to spend a bunch of time scouting the stream for a good place to cross.

After about a mile of following the old road, the trail takes a sharp left up the hill on an older woods road.  From here, it follows this road all the way to the lean-to site, a distance of about a mile.  Along the way you do pass a small flume that the creek flows through and it is well worth the short walk down from the trail.  Just remember that it is private land, so be mindful and make sure you don't make a mess.Shandaken Brook Lean-To Hike - 4/26/11

A word of caution though, if you are there with higher water and are scouting the riverbank for a crossing, it is easy to miss the trail as it takes the hard left turn up and away from the main creek.  If that's the case, you'll end up rejoining a road, but there will no longer be any yellow markers and you'll have to backtrack down until you find the trail heading up the hill.

There are no real steep sections of the trail and it is a fairly easy walk.  It's almost exactly 2 miles each way for a 4 mile round trip hike.

I lucked out with the first really hot and sunny day of the year.  I think it was about 75 degrees in the woods and basically cloudless.  As expected, I finished the day with a sunburn, even with a hat and a bit of sunblock.  That said, it was great to be outside enjoying the sunshine and reveling in the warmer temperatures.

The Shandaken Brook Lean-to is an older lean-to that has a partially closed in front.  That's something you don't see in the Catskills and only occasionally elsewhere in areas with trail shelters.  This lean-to is scheduled for reconstruction though, as it is quite old and definitely showing its age.  By the end of this summer there should be a new lean-to nearby and the old one should be removed.
Shandaken Brook Lean-To Hike - 4/26/11
Trip Details
NYNJTC Catskill Trails Map #142
Mileage - 2 miles from Seager Trailhead to Shandaken Brook Lean-to / 4 miles road trip
Elevation - Approximately 500 vertical feet of climbing between trailhead and leanto

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.