Catskill Mountaineer

Hike the Azalea-Karst Loop Trail

Mongaup Upper Pond off the Azalea-Karst Loop Trail
View of Lower Mongaup Pond in the Willowemoc Wild Forest


  Trail Name:  Mongaup Campground Trail
  Trail Name:  Mongaup-Willowemoc Loop Trail (From Mongaup Pond TO Flugertown Road PA)
  Trail Name:  Azalea Trail
  Trail Name:  Hunter Road (From Azalea Trail to Karst Trail)
  Trail Name:  Karst Trail
  Forest : Willowemoc Wild Forest
  Parking Area : Mongaup Pond Campground
  Pay Camp sites: Mongaup Pond Campground
  Access: Hike, bike, snowshoe, snowmobile
  Trail Length: 7.26 miles
  Trail Type: 100% Double-track trail
  Hiking Time: Average 3-4 hours
  Lowest Elevation: 2,119' (A)
  Highest Elevation: 2,582' (A)
  Views : Nice view of Mongaup Pond & Marsh
  Difficulty: Easy
  USGS Map: USGS Willowemoc Quad Maps (free)
  DEC Trail Map: DEC Willowemoc Wild Forest Map (free)
  Mongaup Campground Info: DEC Mongaup Campground Information
  Mongaup Campground Map: DEC Mongaup Campground Map (free)
  Digital Mapper: Topo     Terrain     Satellite

Maps for the Azalea-Karst Loop Trail

Azalea-Karst Loop Trail map

Mongaup campground map
NY State Mongaup Campground Map ( $ Reservations Required - see link at bottom of page )


Notes about the Azalea-Karst Loop Trail

  The Azalea-Karst Loop Trail is located on the east side of Mongaup Pond. The Trailhead actually starts around campsite #37. Just look for the snowmobile sign. Once you get on the trail, the first part of the trail is a little muddy. Then you turn right onto the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail. On this trail you will climb up in elevation, and then descend back down in elevation. You then turn onto the Azalea Trail. There is a elevation climb that can be a little rocky. This trail is almost 3 miles long. Once at the highest elevation, it is downhill most of the way to Hunter Road. Once at Hunter Road, you will descend down the rocky road. When you get close to the Karst Trail, you will climb a little in elevation. Then you will turn onto the Karst Trail. The Karst Trail takes a sharp left shortly after starting and goes back into the woods. Near the end of the Karst Trail, you will see the Mongaup Marsh on the left. It is fairly big. Once past the marsh, the loop will be close. Take a left, and you will be back in the Mongaup Campgrounds shortly thereafter.

While this trail allows mountain bikes to be ridden on this trail, we found it too rocky for good riding experience. It would probably be better for full-suspension mountain bikes. Hard tail mountain bikers would probably regret this ride.

There is a marsh near the end of the hike where animals like to visit. So, if you are looking for birds, deer, and other animals, you will likely find them here. Probably not a good hike during hunting season.

  There are two parking areas just after you leave the Ranger Station ticket booth. You should be able to park in either parking area.

In the Winter, the camping loops are closed off to vehicle traffic. But, there are three parking areas to park in.

  There is limited cell phone service.


DIRECTIONS to Mongaup Pond Campground from Exit 19 (Kingston)

  • Mongaup Pond Parking Area WGS84 (DEC): 41.950167, -74.632317 - Elevation is approximately 2,032 feet
  • Mongaup Pond Parking Area Deg/Min/Sec: N41 57 00, W74 37 56 - Elevation is approximately 2,032 feet
  • Mongaup Pond Parking Area GPS: N41 57.010, W74 37.939- Elevation is approximately 2,032 feet
  • Mongaup Pond Parking Area UTM: 18N 530474 4644309 - Elevation is approximately 2,032 feet

  • Get off New York State Thruway at Exit 19 (Kingston).
  • Take a RIGHT out of the NYS Thruway onto Route 28 West.
  • Go approximately 30.4 miles on Rt 28 West
  • Take a LEFT onto Rt 47 in Big Indian
  • Go approximately 19.3 miles on Rt 47
  • Take a (180 degree) RIGHT onto Pond Road
  • Go approximately 9.4 miles on Pond Road (turns into Willowemoc Road)
  • When Willowemoc Road splits - Go RIGHT
  • Take a RIGHT onto Mongaup Road
  • Go approximately 2.7 miles on Mongaup Road
  • Take a RIGHT onto Mongaup Pond Road
  • Go approximately 1.1 miles on Mongaup Pond Road
  • You can park in one of two parking areas near the foot of the pond

  • MILEAGE CHART for Azelea-Karst Loop Trail

      Miles Total Altitude Notes
      0.00 0.00 2,185' Trailhead near campsite #37 inside the campground
      0.13 0.13 2,189' Go STRAIGHT at Trail Junction for Karst Trail
      0.70 0.83 2,240' Go RIGHT at Trail Junction for the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail
      1.32 2.15 2,236' Go RIGHT at Trail Junction for the Azalea Trail
      2.90 5.05 2,306' Go RIGHT at end of Azalea Trail onto Hunter Road (closed)
      0.53 5.58 2,109' Go RIGHT on to Karst Trail from Hunter Road
      0.10 5.68 2,112' Go LEFT at entrance to field - then go into forest again
      1.18 6.86 2,179' Mongaup Marsh on left
      0.27 7.13 2,234' go LEFT at end of Karst Trail.
      0.13 7.26 2,264' GO LEFT at Trail Junction back to the Mongaup Pond Campgrounds

    Hike the Azalea-Karst Loop Trail

    dam at the foot of the Mongaup Pond
    Once you enter the campgrounds from the DEC Ticket Booth there are two parking areas at the foot of Monguap Pond. Both parking areas are about 250-400 feet from the DEC ticket booth. You should be able to park in either parking area.

    To get to the Trailhead, walk towards "Loop B", which is on the east side of Mongaup Pond. The trailhead is about 750-1,000 feet away from the parking areas. The trailhead for this hike is around campsites #37 / #38.

    Start walking down the trail. After you walk down a small hill, you will cross part of the Mongaup Marsh. Shortly thereafter, you will reach the trail junction for the Karst Trail. The distance from Loop B of the Mongaup Pond Campground to the trail junction of the Karst Trail is approximately 700 feet.
    trail junction for the Karst Trail
    At the trail junction for the Karst Trail, you want to continue STRAIGHT on the campground trail. The distance to the next Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail Junction is 7/10 of a mile.

    The trail on the right is the Karst Trail. When you complete the loop, you will come out on this trail.
    trail junction to the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail
    At the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail Junction you will take a RIGHT.

    From the Karst Trail Junction to the Trail Junction for the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail is 7/10 of a mile.

    If you continued straight, the campground trail will take you to the upper western part of Mongaup Pond (Loop G).
    beginning of the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail and uphill climb
    The beginning of the Monguap-Willowemoc Trail is a easy uphill climb.
    approaching the high point of the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail
    When you get to the top of the climb, the trail will turn slightly and then be flat for a short distance. Then it will start to descend down the hill.
    first bridge on the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail
    The Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail will level off to a flat hike. This is the first bridge on the trail that you will have to cross.
    trail junction to the Azalea Trail
    After about 1-1/3 miles, you will come to the next trail junction for the Azalea Trail. You want to take a RIGHT.

    The climb up the trail on the Azalea Trail
    After turning onto the Azelea Trail, the trail will gradually climb several hundred feet in elevation for about 1-1/2 miles.

    first wooden bridge on the azalea trail in the Mongaup Pond region
    This is the first of two wooden bridges on the Azalea Trail.
    high point on the Azalea Trail
    About half way up the Azalea Trail it will reach a high point in elevation. The Azalea Trail then begin to descend in elevation.
    second wooden bridge on the Azalea Trail about 1/2 mile from Hunter Road
    When you get about 2-1/2 miles down the Azalea Trail (from the Mongaup-Willowemoc Trail) you will cross the second wooden bridge. The Azalea Trail will end in about 4/10 of a mile.
    fern blade on the Azalea Trail near Hunter Road in the mongaup pond region
    As you approach Hunter Road on the Azalea Trail, you will go through a very large fern glade.
    Trail Junction on the Azalea-Karst Loop Trail
    At 2.9 miles, you will come to the end of the Azalea Trail. This is the defunct Hunter Road. You want to take a RIGHT at this Road Junction.

    NOTE: The Hunter Road is listed as a valid road. But, the reality is that the bridge over the Mongaup Creek is damaged and blocked. The road has significant erosion. It is NOT maintained by the town. It is now being used as a hiking and snowmobile trail.
    Hunter Road is now closed on the Azalea - Karst Loop Trail
    After you turn RIGHT, this is the view of the GOOD portion of Hunter Road. You will hike down Hunter Road for about a 1/2 mile.
    upper Mongaup Pond from the end of the Mongaup-Hardenburgh Trail
    There is a small stream that runs below the Hunter Road. There is also a hole in the road that you cannot see in the picture.
    view of the upper Mongaup Pond from the end of the Mongaup-Hardenburgh Trail
    After a 1/2 mile of hiking down the closed Hunter Road, you will encounter the Trail Junction for the Karst Trail. You want to take a RIGHT onto the Karst Trail.

    The condition of the closed Hunter Road continues to decline past this point. Some hikers like to hike another 4/10 of a mile down Hunter Road to view the Mongaup Falls.
    field on the karst trail
    After you hike down the Karst Trail a couple hundred feet, you will come to this field. The trail takes a LEFT at the beginning of this field.
    flat forest walk on the Karst Trail near Mongaup Pond and Marsh
    The Karst Trail will leave the field in 100-200 feet and enter back into the forest. The trail is fairly flat and easy hiking.
    Mongaup Pond Marsh on the Karst Trail
    About a 1-1/4 up the Karst Trail, you will come to this large marsh called the Mongaup Pond Marsh. The Mongaup Pond Marsh is fairly long. The Karst Trail runs parallel to the Mongaup Pond Marsh. There is a lot of wildlife here.
    end of the Karst Trail near the Mongaup Pond
    After you get done visiting the Mongaup Marsh, you will hike another 3/10 of a mile up the Karst Trail. The Karst Trail will come to to a Trail Junction that will complete the loop. Take a LEFT and hike a couple hundred feet up to Loop B in the Mongaup Pond Campground and hike back to your vehicle. Hope you enjoyed this easy hike.
    Links and References:

    USGS Topo Map of the Willowemoc Quad (free)

    NY DEC map of the Willowemoc Wild Forest (free)

    DEC Information on the Willowemoc Wild Forest

    Mongaup Campground Information

    Mongaup Campground Map (free)

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