Hiking: Touchmenot Mountain & Little Pond | Catskill Mountains, NY | 3/27/2011

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Trying to extend my knowledge of the Catskills beyond the edges of Greene and Ulster Counties, I've begun to exploring some of the trails in Delaware County and started with a trip to Touchmenot Mountain and Little Pond.  I have been out this way before, for trips out to Alder Lake, but never to the Little Pond area.  Turns out to be an interesting area.  It lacks the major elevations of the eastern and Southern Catskills, but it makes up for it in continuous woodlands and rolling mountains with lots of opportunities for solitude.

Touchmenot Mountain is just over 2700 feet...I know, over my way there are notches higher than that, but the mountain offered an interesting trip from the trailhead on Big Pond.  Nothing was overly steep, but the climb was steady and thanks to the lack of leaves, there were plenty of views in almost all directions as we climbed.  I'd think in the summer though, this would be a bit more of a "Green Tunnel" kind of hike where the views would be few thanks to the dense foliage.

DSCF2017We parked at the parking lot/trailhead at Big Pond on Big Pond/Barkaboom Road.  We hiked east from there on the red marked Finger Lakes Trail past the intersection with the Blue Trail down to Little Pond and to the intersection with the Yellow Trail down to Little Pond.  The climb from Big Pond to the 1st trail junction was a little over a mile (which is just below the summit area of Touchmenot).  From that trail junction to the Yellow Trail junction it's about another half a mile.  There are some views through the trees, but nothing open and nothing that would be all that great in the summertime through this entire section.

When we got to the Yellow Trail junction we headed south along the Yellow Trail.  The trail comes into a slightly overgrown field that looks like it used to be a farming homestead.  There's an old foundation, a small farm pond and the trees are only starting to grow up in the field.  There's a knoll at the top of the field that has a grew view across the Beaverkill Valley and across to the peaks on the other side of the valley.
Little Pond Vista

Little Pond Vista


Further down the field are some pretty extensive views of the same area, but those are starting to grow up more.

DSCF2049The trail from here quickly drops about 1.65 miles to the southern end of Little Pond.  Once you reach the northern edge of the pond, the hike is very easy along an accessible trail around the pond that has been created as part of the State Campground at the southern end of the lake.  The campground was closed, but there were sure some nice camping spots.  My brother and I were like "we should reserve one of these spots for some weekend this summer!"

Since the campground was closed, that meant that the access road was also still closed, so we walked down the access road probably about another mile or so to Big Pond Road and then walked up that road to the county line where it becomes Barkaboom Road and shortly afterward reached the Big Pond parking area and trailhead.

Conditions weren't exactly ideal for hiking as there was still quite a bit of snow.  The snow conditions alternated from almost bare ground on southern slopes to over two feet of packed snow on the north flanks and in the shade.  Mind you this was the end of March!  We had snowshoes but we never actually put them on. There were too many places where the snow was melted or very thin and then where it was deeper, enough of a crust had formed that you could take about 95% of your steps without breaking the crust and post-holing your way along the trail.

Overall though I really liked the hike and discovered that if I had a group who wanted to do some car camping, the Little Pond Campground is a good choice.  I also have to say I loved the view from the old farmstead and that it would make a great place to take a short walk and have a relaxing picnic lunch with a great view.


Trip Details
NYNJTC Catskill Trails Map #144
Mileage:
Finger Lakes Trail from Big Pond to Blue Trail intersection - 1.2 miles
Finger Lakes Trail from Blue Trail intersection to Yellow Trail intersection - 0.4 miles
Yellow Trail from Finger Lakes Trail to Little Pond - 1.65 miles
Big Pond Road via the Little Pond Access Road - 1 mile
Big Pond Road/Barkabook Road from Little Pond Access Road to Big Pond parking - 0.5 miles
Total: Approximately 5 miles

Elevation:
Approximately 1400 feet in total (700' ascent & descent)

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Complete photoset 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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