August 19th, 2013 by Bob Gildersleeve

To someone interested in the history of the trails around North-South Lake State Campground, one of the oldest recreational trail systems in America, the long and varied history can be confusing.  In the heyday of the Mountain House, each trail led past many well-known and named locations. The trouble is that the names of the locations changed, and often the same name was used for different locations. It may be that different hotels or boarding houses assigned names to spots on their trails without regard for the names used by other resorts. Hence, there was a Sunset Rock near the Mountain House, and one near the Laurel House. There were two Prospect Rocks as well as two different locations one named Glen Mary and and the other Mary’s Glen.  There was also an elusive location north of the Mountain House named Artist’s Rock–elusive because there are no common images that clearly identify it and the trail descriptions are vague and somewhat inconsistent. 

The Mountain Top Historical Society presents Hikefest as part of the Catskills Lark in the Park

On Saturday, October 11, 2014 the Mountain Top Historical Society's Haines Falls campus will be the place to be.  Starting at 9:00 a.m. there will be a choice of hikes spreading out to various trail heads around the area with popular experienced hike leaders. Wendell George from the Catskill Mountain Club will lead a hike to Sunset Rock/ Bear's Den on North Mountain.  David and Carol White will offer an expedition to Dibbell's Quarry, and beyond, through a hemlock forest to an amazing beaver dam that survived Hurricane Irene.  Pete Senterman from Platte Clove, with his son, Jeff, from the NY/NJ Trail conference will lead a group on the Huckleberry Rail Trail from Clum Hill Road to Bloomer Road in Tannersville passing the location of the CCC camp.  This very easy hike will provide an opportunity for hikers who prefer a “walk in the woods” style outing. In addition, Susan Kukle and Athena Billias will use the Kaaterskill Rail Trail to hike to Sphinx Rock.

All of the hikers will meet at the MTHS campus at 9:00 a.m. and car pool to the different trail heads for the hikes.  The hikes are all designed to last about 3 hours and return to the MTHS for lunch.  

Lunch will be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill with all the fixings including salads, cold drinks and dessert.  The cost per person for lunch is $10 and will be served beginning at noon.

Around 1:00 p.m. or as soon as all the hikers have returned and had their lunch, in the U&D Train Station, we will have presentations by Jeff Senterman about the Catskill Park and by the Whites about measuring the trails throughout the Catskill Forest Preserve.  There will also be displays in the Train Station by the 3500 Club, the NY/NJ Trail conference, the Kaaterskill Rail Trail, the MTHS and others.  We are arranging a presentation by Marty Molitoris of Alpine Endeavors on ice climbing.

We welcome hikers and those interested in hiking or just in the beauty of the Catskill Park to join us for a hike, a presentation, lunch, good company and interesting information.  We expect to finish up by 4:00 p.m.

MTHS does not require membership for hike participation. We do however request that you register for each hike. Participants can register at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, and total in your party. Schedule is subject to change. The latest information is available on our web site For last-minute questions call Bob at (518) 734-9701. Notification of changes, including weather cancellations will be made on the web site up to the day of any given hike.

Please make reservations for the hikes and for lunch.

This is a Lark in the Park event.

The Mountain Top Historical Society will sponsor a hike of South Mountain on September 13 as part of the 2014 Hudson River Ramble. Led by Bob Gildersleeve, author of Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide, the hike will take participants along one of the most scenic footpaths in the Catskills passing by Layman's Monument, Council Bluff, Sunset Rock, Inspiration Point and Artist's Rock. Time permitting, hikers will also see Split Rocks, Bowlder Rock, and Fat Man's Delight before the hike finishes. All of these locations were known to Hudson River School artists and 19th century tourists. The location of Council Bluff and Artist's Rock were not widely known until recently and the more modern spelling 'Boulder' has taken the place of the spelling often used in the 19th Century. Views of Kaaterskill Clove and the Hudson Valley that inspired Hudson River School artists and generations of residents and visitors to the Catskills are abundant along the walk. This is a moderate hike with a climb of about 450 ft. and a distance of about 4.8 miles. The trail has rocky footing in some sections so good hiking footwear should be worn. Bring food and water. Limited to 12 hikers so please register. Register by calling the Mountain Top Historical Society at (518) 589-6657 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Meet at the MTHS Campus at 9:00am.

A controversial decision by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has opened Early Bear Hunting Season from September 6 through September 21. Hunters are allowed to use a variety of weapons including shotguns and rifles. Our hike was scheduled prior to the approval of the extended season and is in the popular hiking region contiguous with North-South Lake campground. The area of our hike is part of the area open to the extended Bear Hunting season. Hikers should wear bright colors.

The Mountain Top Historical Society celebrated its 40th anniversary Sunday, August 10th with a ceremony honoring the Society's volunteers, music by the band Rhythm and Blues, and a presentation by Larry Tompkins. Larry, a former board member and past president of the MTHS, presented Out Windham Way, a preview of his upcoming Black Dome Press book. The presentation featured a photographic tour of much of the Town of Windham as it appeared in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Larry has been collecting images of the Windham area for 35 years and has a vast knowledge of the people, homes, and lifestyles of the era. His profusely illustrated book is scheduled to be released soon. Larry poses here with Society board member and former editor of The Windham Journal, Sidonia Palace.