Hiking: Hodge Pond Area Hike | Catskill Mountains, NY | 8/20/2011

Hodge Pond is located in the southwestern Catskills near the Mongaup Pond State Campground. Access is provided by the Beech Mountain Road parking area and the hike takes you up a shoulder of Beech Mountain and then drops you down into a bowl that holds the lake on the side of the mountain. From there you can either continue for a longer loop via the Quick Lake Trail or for a shorter loop, you can backtrack back to the Yellow trail to the Times Square intersection, then past Frick Pond to Gravestone Junction and then back to the parking area on Beech Hill Road via the Quick Lake Trail.

I was out with a group and we decided to climb the Flynn Trail (marked blue) where we skipped the half of a mile down to Hodge Pond since we had all already been there. Instead we hiked the 1.7 miles to the intersection with the yellow, Big Rock Trail. The Flynn Trail for the most part follows an old access road and climbs steadily, but at a reasonable slope. About three quarters of the way to the intersection with the Big Rock Trail, there is an interesting clearing about 100 yards to the northeast of the trail (to the right as you're climbing) - just above a large stockpile of logs on the right hand side of the trail. It's a large opening in the woods with very shallow soils. It must have been developed as something, as an old road accesses the site, but no matter what caused it, it's a rare sight in the Catskills and makes for an interesting stop.

From the intersection of the Big Rock Trail, you can either descend about a half of a mile on the Flynn Trail to Hodge Pond or you can go left on the Big Rock Trail and descend to the Time Square trail intersection.

If you continue to Hodge Pond, you can continue making a large loop by going by Hodge Pond to the Junkyard Junction trail intersection. At that point turn left on the Quick Lake Trail, which descends to the Iron Wheel Junction trail intersection. From there, stay on the Quick Lake Trail to the southern edge of Frick Pond and the Gravestone Junction trail intersection. Then stay on the Quick Lake Trail and come back out at the parking area on Beech Mountain Road where you started.

If you descend on the yellow marked Big Rock Trail like we did, you will descend a fairly steep section of trail to reach the Times Square intersection. Here you intersect the Loggers Loop Trail, which is also marked yellow. You can either continue following the Big Rock Trail or take the Loggers Loop Trail to Frick Pond. The only difference is one trail skirts the eastern edge (Loggers Loop) and the other skirts the western edge (Big Rock). I prefer the Big Rock Trail and we walked along through a mature hemlock forest with glimpses of the field that used to be Frick Pond (the dam was removed years ago so there is only a small pool of water in what was the much larger pond). Be careful on the wooden plank walkways and bridges in this area, if they are wet, they are very slippery.

The Big Rock Trail intersects the Quick Lake Trail near the outlet of Frick Pond you turn left on the Quick Lake Trail, cross the outlet of Frick Pond on a foot bridge and then passes an old gravestone and memorial on the right. The memorial marks the site where a mother and child died when their cabin burned down and they were trapped inside. The trail then gently climbs to the Beech Mountain parking lot.

The total loop this way is about 4 miles. If you added the mile down to Hodge Pond and back the total hike would be 5 miles. The larger loop past Hodge Pond and back the Quick Lake Trail is a total of 6.5 miles.

I'd consider this an easy to intermediate hike. The climb on the Flynn Trail is steady, but not overly steep or difficult. The descent to Hodge Pond is brisk, as is the descent along the Quick Lake Trail. The steepest descent is along the Big Rock Trail, but it is along an old roadway and is not difficult. The trails surrounding Frick Pond either have very gently slopes or are almost flat.

Trip Details
NYNJTC Catskill Trails Map #144
1.7 Miles - Beech Mountain Road Parking Area to Intersection with Big Rock Trail (Via blue marked Flynn Trail)
1.1 Miles - Big Rock Trail/Flynn Trail Intersection to Times Square (via yellow marked Big Rock Trail)
0.5 Miles - Times Square to Intersection with Quick Lake Trail (via yellow marked Big Rock Trail)
0.7 Miles - Big Rock Trail/Quick Lake Trail Intersection to Beech Mountain Road Parking Area (via red marked Quick Lake Trail)
Total of 4 miles round trip

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