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Colgate Lake to Dutcher Notch

colgate lake to dutcher notch with blackhead mountain and arizona mountain in the background

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 9.24 mile trip from the DEC parking lot #2 past Colgate Lake.
Time: 5 hours (hiking time)
Elevation Gain: 385' gain from parking lot (2,166' to 2,551')
Best Time to Hike: Any time of day
Difficulty: Easy
VO Map No: #10
Catskill Highest: N/A
Peak Elevation: 2,300'
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Nice views of the Blackhead Mountain Range from parking lot.
Attractions: Nice field at the start of the hike.
Attractions: Very flat hike - very unusual for the Catskill Mountains.
Attractions: Lots of Pin Oak trees with a lot of acorns in September.
Attractions: Five "bogs" with one 1/4 mile wide.
Attractions: Four bridges to cross.
Attractions: Two water falls (5' and 15' high).
Attractions: Nice field for camping about 3 miles in with Apple Orchard.
Attractions: Nice wide trail.
Attractions: Rarely used trail.
Unattractions: Very muddy section after large bog.
Unattractions: Very muddy trail in the Spring and after large rainy periods - Hard and dry in the summer.
Unattractions: Lots of black bears.
Common Animals: Black bears, deer, Garder snakes, birds, butterflies.
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes (none), Bears (high),
Access Methods: Foot, ski, and Snowshoeing.



Maps, Profile, and GPS files

colgate lake to dutcher notch topo map
Click here to download the GPS file in gdb format (Garmin Version 3)
Click here to download the GPS file in gpx format
Click here to download the GPS file in text format




Directions to Trail Head from New York State Thruway (Easist, not the shortest):

  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill).
  • Take a left out of the NYS Thruway entrance road.
  • Go approximately 1/4 mile
  • Take a right onto Route 23 West
  • Go approximately 6.6 miles to Cairo, NY
  • Take a LEFT onto Rt 32. McDonalds Rest. on corner.
  • Go approximately 7.7 miles on Rt 32
  • Take a RIGHT onto Rt 23A
  • Go approximately 9.0 miles to Tannersville NY (6.9 miles if you come from Saugerties from Palenville).
  • Take a RIGHT at the Red Light in Tannersville onto Rt 23C.
  • Follow Rt 23C approximately 3.0 miles to Jewett
  • Take a RIGHT onto Rt 78 to Colgate Lake
  • Go Approximately 1.7 miles on Rt 78 PAST Colgate Lake
  • There are TWO DEC parking lots on the LEFT side of the road - You want the SECOND one off of the DIRT Road.
  • The first parking lot is flat and hold about 25 cars - Second parking lot is on a slight incline and holds 10 cars.
  • You want to continue past Colgate Lake where the road turns into a dirt road.
  • GPS:


  • Mile Post Chart

    Mile PostAltitudeNotes
    0.002,166 DEC Parking lot #2 on Rt 78. GPS:
    0.182,204' DEC registration box.
    1.202,256' Bridge #1.
    1.502,301' Bog #1.
    1.802,227' Bog #2
    1.862,224' Bridge #2
    2.362,217 Bridge #3
    2.632,227 Bog #3 - Very Large!
    2.752,227 Bog #4 & #5
    3.102,246' Bridge #4
    3.182,238' Field with Apple Orchard & Campsite - Just after Bridge #4.
    3.352,277' Waterfall about 150' off trail - listen for water splashing - NO trail to Falls - Easy to miss.
    4.622,551 Dutcher Notch
    9.242,166 Return to DEC Parking Lot #2



    Notes about this Hike

    The hike to Dutcher Notch from Colgate Lake is in Greene county. The hike is rarely hiked because it never reaches a peak. Many people discount it because it only goes up a couple hundred feet in elevation. This hike is great because of some many other things that you will never see on other hikes. It has five bogs that you can see from the trail. It has four bridges. Beauiful forest. Great trail. Nice apple orchard in a field in the middle of no where. Lots of streams. Good chance of seeing wildlife. You can take children on this hike, with the exception of the muddy section. You can go as far as you like before turning around. .

    This hike is not recommended in the Spring or when there has been lots of rain. But, in the dryness of the summer, it is a delight. It can also be cross-country skied in the Winter. The Fall season is exceptional. The field at the beginning of the trail is packed with butterflies. Also some rare Yellow butterflies.

    The field at the beginning of the hike takes you throught a beautiful field. Take some time to see some wildlife and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. I should also note that there are a lot of Black Bears in this region. Most of them come out at dusk and dawn. But, you can see them during the day.

    As soon as you enter the forest, you need to register at the DEC registration box. There are a lot of Pin Oaks which produce acorns. In early September there are hords of acorns on the trail. Bears like these acorns, and will eat many of them during the night.
    The trail to Dutchers Notch is very flat. The trail does go up and down slightly. But, it is a nice cross-country ski trail.

    There are five bogs along the trail, and many other bogs in the forest. These are not true peat bogs because there is incoming-and-outgoing water, so their pH level does not become very acidic like real peat bogs in the Catskill Mountains.

    There is a field about 3 miles in where there was probably house at one time. You will find Apple Trees in the field. It is a very unusual place. There is a 15' Water Fall about 750-1000' from the field. There was a mill at the water falls at one time.

    Over 100 years ago, there was a road from the Old Soul Church in Onteora Park that run down the mountain side and ran on the south side of Colgate Lake and Capra Lake. It then went to Dutcher Notch and finally to Round Top, New York. But, this path is rarely hiked. Few know that it even exist.



    Hike of Windham High Peak & Burnt Knob Loop

    dec parking lot for the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    This picture is taken from the dirt road (Rt 78) looking into the DEC parking lot. It will hold about 10 cars. There is another DEC Parking Lot just before Colgate Lake. You want the second one.
    dec trail sign for the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    The picture on the LEFT shows you the trail marker at the road (rt 78) and the DEC Parking Lot #2

    There is a metal fence at the beginning of the trail. The DEC registration box is about 2/10 of a mile past this gate, and at the beginning of the forest.
    metal gate at the beginning of the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    beautiful field at the beginning of the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    The picture on the LEFT shows a beautiful field. It is one of the few fields on State land. You can see Blackhead Mountain and Arizona Mountain in the background.

    This is the trail leading up to the forest. A real nice walk.
    trail thru the field from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    DEC registration box for the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    When you leave the field into the forest, you will encounter the DEC registration box. Please register.

    The path looks like this on the right. Almost the entire trail is flat like this. In the Spring this trail is incredibly muddy. In the Summer it is dry and very easy to travel on.
    trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    bridge #1 on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    At 1.20 miles you will encounter Bridge #1.

    After the bridge, you will see a trail pointer. There are quite a few side logging roads. Some of these logging roads continue onto private land owned by Capra Lake.
    trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    bridge two on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    At mile post 1.87 you will come to Bridge #2. At mile post 1.50 you will see your first "bog" on the left.

    Just past the second bridge you will come to another trail pointer. You will then encounter a muddy section of the trail. It is muddy year around. Not matter how dry it gets, it will always be muddy here. Most people walk off the trail and work their way around the overflowing sections. Sneakers are tough in this section. But, it can be done. In the Spring you will get incredibly muddy and wet in this section.
    muddy section on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    large bog on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    At mile post 2.36, you will encounter a very large "bog". It is about 1/4 mile wide. It is not a true peat bog because the water flows in-and-out. But, it is very impressive. If you walk out a ways, you will notice the spongy ground. In the background, you can see West Stoppel Mountain. Some people call West Stoppel and the two mountain to the right the "Three Sisters".
    trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    After your stop at the bog, you will then walk around the bog thru some thick conifer forest. The Balsam trees smell great.

    At the corner of the bog, you will see another trail pointer sending you to the left. There is also an old road that goes right. This old road will take you up to the old Soul Chruch in Onteora Park.
    old road from the old soul church to dutcher notch
    bridge on old road from the old soul church to round top and dutcher notch
    At mile post 2.63, you will come to bridge #3. This bridge use to be part of the old road from the Old Soul Church to Dutchers Notch, and finally to Round Top.
    colgate lake to dutcher notch
    This is the steam by bridge #3. It is a very nice stream. Just beyond here are two more bogs.
    colgate lake to dutcher notch
    The trai / road continues along a flat course.

    The picture on the RIGHT shows some old cars parts from the 1940's.
    old car parts on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    bridge #4 on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    At mile post 3.10 you will encounter bridge #4. Just beyond the bridge is a large field.
    field on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    This is a picture of the field. It has a number of old apple trees. There is also a place where people camp.
    camping site on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    This is a picture of the camping site and the fire ring.
    apple orchard on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    In September the apple trees have thousands of ripe apples for the picking.
    the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    Beyond the field / campground the trail is rarely traveled. The growth can get a little thicker. A short distance up the trail is the water falls. The water falls are about 150' off the trail. You need to listen carefully to find them. You cannot see them from the trail. There is no trail to the water falls.
    water falls just beyond the field on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    At mile post 3.35 (750-1000' from the field) is the Water Falls about 150' off the trail. Listen for the water falling. The water falls are about 15' high. The pool of water below the falls are about 5 feet deep.
    small water fall on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    Further up the trail is another water fall that is about 5' high. In the summer it does not run.

    The picture on the RIGHT shows the trail further up. The road is rougher here. There are also a couple of sections of the trail that have been rerouted.
    the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    the beginning of the notch on the trail from colgate lake to dutcher notch
    As you approach Dutcher Notch the trail will increase in altitude slightly. You will also see rocks on the right, and the trail will sit on the edge of a steep bank.
    the notch in dutcher notch
    When you get near the top of Dutcher Notch, the trail will only be about 10 feet wide. The side walls go up about 100' vertical feet at a very steep angle. It truly looks like a V-notch. Hence the name, Dutcher Notch.
    dutcher notch
    When you get to Dutcher Notch, you will come to a 4-way intersection of trails. Left till take you to Arizona Mountain and Blackhead Mountain. Right will take you to Stoppel Point and North Mountain. Straight will take you to Round Top. This is the end of the hike.
    Links and References:
    CatskillMountain.com Forum - Ask questions or tell us about your experience with this hike

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