Catskill Mountaineer

Round Top to East Kill Falls

image of east kill falls in the Catskill Mountains

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 7.2 mile trip from the DEC parking lot at the end of Stork Nest Road off of Maple Lawn Road in Round Top.
Time: 5 hours (hiking time)
Elevation Gain: 1,424' gain from parking lot (1,130' to 2,554')
Best Time to Hike: Any time of day - After a good rain
Difficulty: Moderate
Peak Elevation: 2,554'
Digital Mapper: Topo      Terrain      Satellite
Access Methods: Foot and Snowshoeing.

Maps, Profile, and GPS files

topo map of hike from round top to dutchers notch to east kill falls

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 10.7 miles on Rt 23 (past Cairo, NY and up the hill towards Windham)
  • Take a left onto Route 31 to Round Top, NY
  • Go approximately 3.7 miles on Rt 31
  • Take a RIGHT onto Maple Lawn Road
  • Go approximately 1.3 up Maple Lawn Road.
  • At the top of the hill take a LEFT onto Floyd Hawver Road.
  • Go approximately 200'
  • Take a RIGHT onto Stork Nest Road
  • Follow Stork Nest Road to the very end (0.6 miles)
  • Park on the left side - Do NOT go up the driveway.
  • Parking lot holds 5 cars.
  • GPS: N42 15.177 W74 03.199 for Parking Lot

  • Mile Post Chart

    Mile PostAltitudeNotes
    0.001,130 Parking lot. GPS: N42 15.177 W74 03.199
    0.331,253' DEC registration box.
    0.791,620' NYS Land on both sides of the trail.
    2.232,554' Dutcher's Notch.
    3.552,277' East Kill Falls
    3.602,269' Old Homestead (field with apple trees)
    7.201,130 Return to Parking Lot

    Notes about this Hike

    The hike to Dutcher Notch and East Kill Falls from Round Top is in Greene county. This trail follow the old Cairo and East Kill Turnpike. The East Kill Turnpike was built in 1836. It was used by farmers in the East Kill Valley to transport the farmers produce and live stock to market in the Village of Catskill. The Cairo and East Kill Turnpike runs from the Old Soul Church in Onteora Park to Cairo, New York. Some people also refer to the road as the old Colgate Carriage Road. The land was owned by the Colgate Family after they were refused ownership in Onteora Park. The hike is rarely hiked because it never reaches a peak. Many people discount it because it is the longest way to Blackhead Mountain. But, it is easily the most beautiful hike to Blackhead. Good chance of seeing wildlife.

    This hike can be rough after a large rain storm. But, if you want to see East Kill Falls running good, then you need to go after a large rain storm. After a large rain storm, the old Colgate Carriage Road becomes a stream almost the entire trip to Dutcher's Notch. Expect to get wet feet. The old Cairo and East Kill Turnpike from Round Top to Dutcher's Notch is very rocky from the water erosion. In some sections, the trail diverts from the road to the side of the road. When the rocks are wet it can be quite slippery.

    At the beginning of the hike, you will be hiking up someone's driveway. You will be on private property. PLEASE respect the home owner.

    The DEC registration box is a ways from the parking area. Please register. Should you get lost, the first place the Ranger look is the registration box. Your life may depend upon it. You have to hike up a ways before you come to land that is owned by the state on both sides of the road. So, please stay on the trail.
    As you approach the Eastern Escarpment, the trail will get steep. The trail will turn to the right and go up the Eastern Escarpment at a diagonal. As you approach Dutcher's Notch (2 miles later), the trial will level off. Dutcher's Notch is not that big, but you can stop and have lunch there. There is not a place to camp at this point.

    As you go past Dutcher's Notch, the trail levels off and is easy hiking. You will go downhill, but ever so slightly. Along the way, you might be able to see a small water fall that is 5' high. This is NOT East Kill Falls. As the trail starts to turn to the right, you will start to hear the East Kill Creek. When the sound gets louder, bushwhack over to the stream. You should be able to see East Kill Falls. It is about 100-200' off the trail.

    A couple hundred feet west of East Kill Falls is a field. This is an old homestead. You will find Apple trees in the field. At the end of September and early October the apples become ripe. They are not the prettiest apples, but they are organic. You can camp at this location.

    This hike does have a lot of wildlife. During the Fall and Winter, you can see Barred Owls if you get lucky. Deer and bears will also roam through this area.

    Hike to East Kill Falls from Round Top

    parking lot on stork nest road for trail to east kill falls and dutcher notch
    This picture of the parking lot at the end of Stork Nest Road. It will hold about 5 cars. View from the trail looking backwards towards the parking lot. Do not block the driveway to a private residence.
    beginning of the trail from the parking lot on stork nest road
    View of the trail from the parking lot. The trail runs over the driveway to the house. Do NOT drive up the driveway. Please respect the home owner. Do NOT walk off the driveway or annoy the home owner.
    sign at the beginning of the trail head
    There is a DEC sign at the beginning of the trail.

    This is the trail leading up to the forest. A real nice walk.
    trail after the private residence on the cairo east kill turnpike
    DEC registration box for the trail from round top to dutcher notch
    When you walk up the old Cairo and East Kill Turnpike after the private residence you will encounter the DEC registration box. Please register. There is a small bridge that goes over a small stream by the registration box.

    You have to walk quite a ways before the land on both sides of the trail are owned by NY State DEC. As you walk up the trail, you will see that the old road is heavily indented from the past car traffic and water erosion. After a large rain storm, the trail looks like a stream.
    trail from round top to dutcher notch
    trail near the top of dutcher's notch on the east side of the escarpment
    As you approach the eastern escarpment, the trail will shift to the north-west. The trail will also become steeper. There are a few sections where there is some exposure. But, since this was an old road there is plenty of room to hike safely.

    As you approach Dutcher's Notch the trail will start to level off.
    trail near dutcher notch
    dutcher notch
    When you get to Dutcher Notch, you will come to a 4-way intersection of trails. Right will take you to Arizona Mountain and Blackhead Mountain. Left will take you to Stoppel Point and North Mountain. Straight will take you to East Kill Falls and Colgate Lake. We want to continue STRAIGHT.
    colgate carriage road to east kill falls and colgate lake
    The trail from Dutcher's Notch to East Kill Falls is fairly level and easy hiking.

    As you hike down the trail, you may see a small water fall (about 5' high). This waterfall after a large rain storm. It is not a problem to get across the small stream.
    water falls on cairo and east kill turnpike stormwater
    east kill waterfalls
    East Kill Falls are about 100-200' off the trail. There is no official trail to the falls. When the trail turns to the right and you can hear the stream, you can bushwhack over to the Falls. If you come to a bridge or field, then you have hiked past the Falls. Go back a couple hundred feet and bushwhack over to the Falls.
    bridge on old road from the old soul church to round top and dutcher notch
    When you come to the field, you will see an unofficial trail into the field. About 200' into the field you will find a small camping area. In the field are old Apple trees. Around the end of September and the beginning of the October the apples become ripe.
    camping site off the trail near east kill falls
    This is a picture of the camping site and the fire ring. There are numerous apple trees in the field. If you were to continue further, you will run into a marsh. But, it is some difficult bushwhacking to get to the marsh.
    barred owl on the eastern escarpment
    During the Fall and Winter, sometimes a few lucky people will see Barred Owls. Barred Owls nest in the Durham Valley and lower eastern escarpment. After they are done nesting, they often move up to the Eastern Escarpment. The Eastern Escarpment has lots of chipmunks and rabbits for them to prey on. If you hear birds screaming and mobbing in a tree, look for an owl.
    Links and References: Forum - Ask questions or tell us about your experience with this hike

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