Hiking: Elm Ridge Lean-to | Catskill Mountains, NY | 5/12/2011

Elm Ridge Lean-to HikeThe Elm Ridge Lean-to is located on the northern portion of the Escarpment Trail to the west of Windham High Peak.  It's about a mile east from Route 23 on the Escarpment Trail and just over a mile from the Trailhead on Peck Road via the Elm Ridge Trail.

Since our goal was a visit to the lean-to and check it out prior to a workshop that was being run there, we decided to take the less strenuous Elm Ridge Trail.  The trail leaves from the end of Peck Road and follows old roadways almost all the way to the intersection with the Escarpment Trail.  The climbing is generally moderate too with only a handful of short, steep stretches.  The rest of the trail alternates between gentle climbs and flat sections along rock benches.

Elm Ridge Lean-to HikeThe only real problem with this trail is that it tends to be very wet and very muddy, especially in this spring of endless wet weather we've been having.  The lower section of the trail near Peck Road is especially muddy and while I mostly avoided ankle deep (or deeper) mud in most spots, in some places, you just had to trudge through.  Higher up it starts to dry out but there are a couple of benches that are muddy and wet, but that probably dry out during the summer months.  In the wintertime you might want to watch out for lots of ice on this trail if the snow isn't very deep, as all those muddy and wet areas are going to freeze solid.

There is a good spring that serves the lean-to about two tenths of a mile before the Elm Ridge Trail's intersection with the Escarpment Trail.  The spring is covered and a small pipe provides running water to fill water bottles.  This spring is fairly reliable all year round.

Just before the lean-to the trail does reach higher and dryer ground, it wraps around the bottom of the ledges that the lean-to sits on.  The section is kind of cool as you are climbing up through something of a narrow notch with fairly large ledges to the east.

Elm Ridge Lean-to Hike

The trail reaches the junction with the Escarpment Trail and ends there.  A short distance east on the Escarpment Trail you reach the yellow side trail to the lean-to, which sits on top of the ledges that the Elm Ridge Trail had wrapped around down below.  There is no real view to speak of, but the lean-to does sit in a spruce forest and is a nice location to rest and/or camp.

Elm Ridge Lean-to Hike

Elm Ridge Lean-to Hike

We headed back down the way we came, but you could continue up Windham High Peak from here or head west and hike out to Route 23.  From Route 23 the Long Path continues on its trek northward, leaving the Catskill Park.

A nice hike though for an evening trip or to walk the dogs, or if you had children and were looking for a place to spend a night with them that was not difficult to reach.

Trip Details
NYNJTC Catskill Trails Map #141
  Peck Road Trailhead to Intersection with Escarpment Trail - 0.85 miles
  Escarpment Trail Junction with Elm Ridge Trail to Elm Ridge Lean-to - 0.10 miles
  Roughly 2250 feet at Peck Road Trailhead and 2500 feet at Elm Ridge Lean-to (250 vertical feet)

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