Hike Poet's Ledge

Poet's Ledge - Catskills - NY Travel Blog

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The view from Poet's Ledge. Left Kaaterskill High Peak, Right South Mountain. Center: the valley with Route 23A

Finally some good weather! Finally time for a real strenuous hike! The first 500+ meter (1600+ ft) hike after returning from Alaska. Since the days are getting shorter I chose a medium-long hike of an estimated 4.5 hours, in my precious Catskill Mountains.

The destination was a somewhat mysterious place, called Poet's Ledge. Poet's Ledge is, as the name indicates, a small ledge on the side of Kaaterskill High Peak Mountain, facing the village of Palenville. The ledge is located in a pretty dense forest. The story is that it was only recently re-discovered after 100 years. Before that the ledge must have been know by hunters and other explorers. Old maps have been found that even mention the ledge.

Others state that the ledge must have been visited by many artists. Recent research led to the hypothesis that painter Sanford R. Gifford painted his October in the Catskills from this very same ledge.

October in the Catskills, by Sanford R. Gifford, is said to be painted here! (Photo: Wikipedia)
It has never been proven, but it is also assumed that Catskill writer Washington Irving together with poet William Cullen Bryant visited the ledge, hence the name. Anyway, since the ledge was rediscovered a nice trail was created to it, leading the hiker steeply uphill through the forest to the ledge.

The hike is a bit of a hassle to organize. Parking cannot be done at the trailhead. So I had to park about a mile away from the start and make my way over the abandoned section of Malden Avenue in Palenville. The climbing started almost immediately. During 3.1 km (1.9 miles) the trail almost continuously ascended for 510 meters (1675 ft). Although nice, the dense forest blocked any views. This was made up at the ledge and two small viewpoints before the ledge, which give an unobstructed view along the Kaaterskill High Peak mountain side, the South Mountain (with the Enscarpment Trail) and the valley in between these giants. I had the site completely for myself and enjoyed the view.

More pictures below!

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The view from Poets Ledge. Left K…
The view from Poet's Ledge. Left …
October in the Catskills, by Sanfo…
October in the Catskills, by Sanf…
The abandoned part of Malden Avenu…
The abandoned part of Malden Aven…
After a long time of climbing fina…
After a long time of climbing fin…
Just before stepping on Poets Led…
Just before stepping on Poet's Le…
Poets Ledge
Poet's Ledge
The view from Poets Ledge. Left K…
The view from Poet's Ledge. Left …
The view from Poets Ledge towards…
The view from Poet's Ledge toward…
Poets Ledge has some mean cracks …
Poet's Ledge has some mean cracks…
Poets Ledge has some mean cracks …
Poet's Ledge has some mean cracks…
Poets Ledge has some mean cracks …
Poet's Ledge has some mean cracks…
Next to the Ledge
Next to the Ledge
Next to the Ledge
Next to the Ledge
GPS height profile of the hike
GPS height profile of the hike
GPS tracking of the hike
GPS tracking of the hike
Poet's Ledge - Catskills - NY
photo by: mdalamers