Trout Pond is a small lake located in the southwestern Catskill Mountains near the village of Roscoe. The pond is accessible from the Russell Brook Road Trailhead, which is about 20 minutes from the Roscoe exit of Route 17. The hike and the trailhead are shown on the Trail Conference's Western Catskill Trails Map (#144).
The hike to Trout Pond is a pleasant 1.5 mile walk along an old road that gently climbs until you reach the lake. Once you reach the outlet of the pond, you have a pleasant walk around the lake to the two lean-tos, which are located near the northern shore of the pond. This is a great hiking and outdoors opportunity for hikers of any ability. The hike from the trailhead to the pond is a good walk for users of any ability, from children to older adults. For a more challenging hike, you can add a trip up on to Cherry Ridge from Trout Pond, then down to Mud Pond and then down the Mud Pond Trail and back up the abandoned Russell Pond Road to the trailhead where you started.
To reach the Russell Brook Road Trailhead, take exit 94 on Route 17 and follow Route 206 north a few miles to Morton Hill Road on the left. The turn is located just after 206 crosses the Beaver Kill River. Morton Hill Road climbs up a shoulder of Morton Hill and you pass by several farms that offer views of the Beaver Kill and Willowemoc Valleys. The road turns to dirt and shortly afterwards there is a left hand turn onto Russell Brook Road. This intersection is not well signed, but there is a "seasonal highway" sign and a small "Russell Brook Road" sign. Turn left here and follow this road about a half a mile as it descends towards Russell Brook. The main portion of the road ends at the Trailhead, which has parking for a number of cars along with a information kiosk and trailhead signage.
From the trailhead, you turn right on to the Trout Pond trail, cross Russell Brook and begin the gentle climb up to Trout Pond. The trail is well maintained and there are no steep sections. The grade is steady, but gentle and you can make good time as you walk. The trail passes through a generally open forest with a few small drainages passing by. The trail is slightly wet in a few places, but not as wet as many other Catskill trails.
At about nine tenths of a mile (0.90) you reach the damn and outlet of Trout Pond. There's a small kiosk here and a small beach area at this end of the pond. Not so much a beach in a traditional sandy sense of the word, but it is an area you could sit and get into the water if you would like without much effort.
The old road and trail continues along the eastern shore of Trout Pond and makes its way to the lean-tos located at the northern end of the pond. The trail then passes a small tributary to the pond which has a small structure that is used in the springtime to help stock fish in the pond. Just after that is the first Trout Pond Lean-to, about 200 feet or so back from the shoreline of the lake and set back from the trail on your right.
At this point you also join with the Mud Pond Trail. Following the Mud Pond Trail, you cross the inlet of Trout Pond on a bridge and the second Trout Pond Lean-to is located to your right, slightly up the hill from the main trail. This lean-to is set back further from the lake shore and is located higher up on the hillside.
If you wanted to continue on the loop hike from this point, the hike back to Russell Brook Road is about 4 miles with about another mile of walking from there back to the trailhead. The grades are slightly more intense than the Trout Pond Trail, but the entire hike is not that difficult.
For our trip, we headed back out the way we came. All told, with lunch at the lake at one of the lean-tos, it took us about 3 hours to make it in, relax for a while and then make it back out. We saw plenty of families and different hikers coming and going. This is a popular destination, so if you are looking to stay at the lean-tos, make sure you arrive early.
Trail Conference Map - #144 Western
Distance - 1.5 miles to Trout Pond Lean-to #2 (3 miles round trip)
Need more information on hiking and planning your
trips to the Catskills and the Catskill Park?
Read up on the Catskill Park at our Catskill Mountains Information Page for hikes, advice, travel and planning information. We have a Guide to Hiking in the Catskills available and on our sister site, ReviewThis is a Guide to visiting 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 the Adventures 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.