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Mud Pond/Trout Pond Loop
This loop hike in the western Catskills climbs through a ravine to reach Mud Pond, with interesting stone foundations from former settlements, and continues to scenic Trout Pond, with opportunities for fishing and swimming.
Allowed off leash
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Take NJ 17 north to the New York Thruway and continue to Exit 16. Proceed west on NY 17 to Exit 94 (Roscoe). Turn left at the end of the ramp onto County Route 179, which becomes N.Y. Route 206 in half a mile. In 2.6 miles (from Exit 94), you’ll cross the Beaver Kill. Just beyond the bridge over the stream, turn left onto Morton Hill Road. Follow this road for 3.1 miles to the intersection with Russell Brook Road (on the left). Turn left onto Russell Brook Road and follow it downhill for about half a mile to a parking area on the right.
From the parking area, follow a short path downhill and turn right onto a woods road that descends parallel to Russell Brook, on the left. At the base of the descent, the road turns left and crosses the brook on a wooden bridge (to the right, a short distance upstream, are the stone abutments of the original bridge over the brook). Just ahead, you’ll pass a trail register on the left and reach a Y-intersection. Bear left at this fork, following the signs to Mud Pond, and continue along a blue-blazed snowmobile trail. After crossing another bridge over a tributary stream, the trail begins to climb, first rather steeply, then more gradually.
In about a mile, you’ll reach a trail junction, marked by signs. Turn left onto the blue-blazed Mud Pond Trail and follow it for about 500 feet, then turn left onto a path that leads down to Mud Pond. Despite its name, Mud Pond is a very attractive body of water, and both fishing and swimming (at your own risk) are permitted. You’ll want to spend a few minutes at the shore of this pond.
Now return to the Mud Pond Trail and turn left. Just ahead, you’ll notice some bluestone foundations to the left of the trail – remnants of old settlements in the area. You may wish to explore these interesting ruins, but use caution, as there are some steep drop-offs.
After checking out these interesting historical relics, retrace your steps to the trail junction, marked by the signs, and continue ahead (east) on the blue-blazed Mud Pond Trail, which follows a grassy woods road. After a short climb, the trail crosses an old stone wall and levels off, passing through abandoned fields that are now overgrown with young maple saplings. The trail descends slightly, crosses a branch of Russell Brook, then starts a gradual climb to a spur of Cherry Ridge. Unfortunately, there are no views from the crest of the rise.
The trail now descends rather steeply, reaching Trout Pond at the base of the descent. The largest wilderness lake in this area of the Catskills, Trout Pond offers opportunities for fishing and swimming (again, at your own risk). The trail bears left and crosses the pond’s inlet stream on a wooden bridge. Just beyond, a short side trail on the left leads to a lean-to. This is a good place to stop for lunch.
When you’re ready to continue, return to the main trail and bear left. Almost immediately, you’ll reach a junction with the Trout Pond Trail. The Mud Pond Trail ends here, but you should continue heading south along the eastern side of the pond, following the Trout Pond Trail (also blazed blue). In about half a mile, you’ll reach the southern end of the pond, where there are views over the pond from the dam just to the right of the trail. The trail now descends on a woods road through a mixed deciduous and evergreen forest, with the pond’s outlet stream on the right.
In about 20 minutes, you’ll reach an open area where the snowmobile trail you followed at the start of the hike comes in from the right. Continue ahead on the Trout Pond Trail, which crosses Russell Brook on a wooden bridge, curves to the right, and climbs to the parking area on Russell Brook Road, where the hike began