Located in the Catskill Forest Preserve in New York, North-South Lake is a 1,100-acre state campground. The North-South Lake Campground has scenic views and stunning sites including Alligator Rock and Kaaterskill Falls. If you hike up towards the Catskill Mountain House, you will find yourself at an elevation of 2,250 feet in New York state. From there, you can see the Hudson River and four neighboring states from the impressive height.
The campground has seven camping loops with 219 sites, two lakes, two beaches, and several picnic areas. The picnic areas have several tables with fireplaces and charcoal grills, perfect for getting together with your family. There are also hot showers, boat launches, firewood sales, volleyball, and horseshoes all within the campground.
Some of the popular activities in the area include boating from the North-South Lake Campground. Both the North and South lakes are great for a boat ride. The lakes are also perfect for fishing, and anglers can enjoy catching all sorts of fish. On sunny days, campers also enjoy a quick dip in the lakes in some of the supervised swimming areas. Visitors also enjoy hiking in the area with trails including short trails for beginners and more strenuous hikes reaching the summits.
The North-South Lake Campground is located in the middle of the densely forested Colgate Lake Wild Forest and Kaaterskill Wild Forest. To reach the campground, you can drive from the Haines Falls and Palenville. The roads within the campground are all paved, with the campsites themselves being made out of compacted dirt and spaces between the tall pine trees. The campground has seven loops all around North Lake with an abundance of parking for campervans and RVs. Additional parking can be found near the park entrance, on the far side of South Lake, and by the boat launch on the North Lake.
The campground is located on an elevated plain which was eroded over time. On this plain the twin lakes were formed, creating the basis for this stunning travel destination.
The campground features over 200 dry campsites, which are all dog-friendly. There are seven loops located around the North Lake, which have camping spots able to accommodate rigs up to 30 feet in length. There is also a water fill up station available if you need. The campground has expansive facilities which include a comfort station, dump station, firewood sales, picnic tables, recycling station, hot showers, and flushing toilets.
If you are looking for lake campsites, then you should choose campsites at loop 1, loop 5 or loop 6. There are some lovely riverside campsites in loop three, which feature stunning tall pine trees and hardwoods. A large amount of trees in the area mean the campsites stay relatively private. This means you can have a quiet camping experience with your friends and family. Bears are active in the area, so stay vigilant while walking and make sure to secure all food scraps.
There are no motorized boats permitted on the North or South Lakes, however you can take kayaks, rowboats, or canoes. There is a paved boat ramp at the North Lake day area. If you do not have your own boat, you can rent kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, and paddle boats from the campground.
The lakes themselves provide diverse habitats, and a large range of wildlife live there. There are sections of the lake which are shaded by the trees, some swampy areas, a beach, and little islands. So grab your kayak or rowboat and enjoy paddling around the twin lakes.
The twin lakes and their diverse habitats provide a comfortable home to many fish species. So grab your fishing rod out of your camping trailer and head out for a day of relaxing fishing. Some of the fish which you might have the chance to catch include chain pickerel, brown bullhead, black crappie, pumpkin seed, and large mouth bass.
During the summertime, the sunshine heats up the water and provides ample sunlight. For this reason, bring sufficient fresh water onto your kayak, as while as sun protection in the form of hats and sunscreen. Fishing licenses are not sold at the campground facilities, so make sure to order them online or over the phone.
In the summer months, the temperatures soar to 80 degrees. This makes just about anyone ready to jump into the water. The beaches are located at the end of North Lake Road and on the south side of South Lake. Both these beaches have parking lots nearby for daytime visitors and basic facilities for swimmers. These areas are designated for day use and feature picnic tables, pavilions, ADA-accessible picnic tables, and toilets.
There are designated swimming areas available at the beaches on South and North Lakes. Dependent on the amount of staffing,s the designated swimming hours vary. The hours are posted in the swimming facilities or available over the phone. You are only permitted to jump into the water when there is a lifeguard on duty.
There are many hiking trails leaving directly from the campground that are perfect for any level of experience. If you want some sort of short hikes then you should definitely consider the trail up to the Catskill Mountain House. This hike will lead you to some of the most beautiful views in the area. If you get lucky, it is said that you can see five states from up there.
Other hikes in the area lead to Sunset Rock, Boulder Rock, and the Kaaterskill Hotel. These hikes are longer and more strenuous, so ensure you are a comfortable hiker. If you wish to see some stunning waterfalls, you can follow the trail starting from route 23A. This will lead you to the Kaaterskill Falls, which are the highest two tiered falls of 175 feet and 85 feet in New York state.
The areas surrounding North-South Lake Campground are teeming with wildlife. This makes it the ideal opportunity for the whole family to look at animals, learn about nature, and get out into the fresh air.
Some of the animals you might have a chance to see include white-tailed deer sniffing around the edges of the campground. The forests are also the home to black bears, bats, and red squirrels. The mixed hardwood and conifer forests also hide wild turkey, ruffed grouse, warblers, and other song birds.
The lakes themselves are the ideal temporary habitat for common loons, geese, and ducks. Under the surface of the lake, you can see sunfish and large mouth bass. During the night time, the campground comes alive with hooting horned owls and barred owls, which sit high above in the trees scouting for prey below.
If you are lugging your bike in your camper, you are in luck. The Great Northern Catskill Mountains have over 120 miles of mountain biking trails. It has become a mecca mountain biking enthusiasts from all over the country.
One of the most popular trails nearby is the Elm Ridge Trail, close to Route 23. There is a section there named the FUN loops, which are beginner level trails on the mountain. The trails travel over small streams, feature gentle climbs, and stunning views for mountain bikers. One of the best and easiest trails in the area is a simple loop around the two lakes for mountain bikers.
A more difficult route is the Levitate Trail, which brings you to the top of the ridge. From there, you have many options of how to descent. You can opt for a well-marked path along the ridge or hop down the steep descent down the mountain.