Alder Lake Scout Reservation - The Alder Lake Trail

In recent years new landowners along the Old Hunter Road have objected to anyone hiking the old Alder Lake Trail route. The dispute has been going on for years, and in the interest of safety please stay off those properties. The current camp staff can help you with an approved route if you wish to hike to Alder Lake from Onteora; the route below is presented purely for historical purposes.


The Alder Lake Trail covers almost all of the types of trails in the Catskills. It goes up and down hills, follows logging roads, dirt roads, macadam roads, goes through wooded areas and a meadow, and crosses a deep ravine. It is approximately 10 miles long and offers a couple of beautiful views.

HIKING STUMP - The Alder Lake Trail starts at the hiking stump and follows the Red and Yellow past the Health Lodge. A short distance after the Health Lodge the Red and Yellow Trails fork. Follow the Yellow trail to the right.

ALDER LAKE TRAIL - At the top of the hill on the Yellow Trail you will cross a dirt logging road. At this point you will start to follow the Alder Lake Trail markers (White with a Red pie slice.) You will follow these markers all the way to Alder Lake.

OLD STAFF TRAINING CAMP- At the old staff training camp the trail will follow an old logging road a short distance and switch north to another along the trail. You will see deer tracks and a loading skid.

LOADING SKID - This is similar to the one we have at Onteora. The logs are rolled up to one end and a truck pulls up to the high end and the log is rolled onto the truck. At this point the trail proceeds into the woods, leaving the logging road. You will notice that the trail is quite rocky.

STEEP CLIMB- The trail will begin a steep climb up hill. You will climb from 2400 to to 2800 feet.

LOGGING ROAD- Near the top of the climb is a Logging road. Proceeding along this road 1 mile you will see a double marker; this particular one designates a beautiful view to the left. Follow the beaten path for about 15 yards. Be careful; it is a steep drop.

TRICKY TURN - Proceed in 5/10 of a mile from the beautiful view. The trail then turns left into the woods; 1 mile.

FALLEN LOGS - Immediately after re-entering the woods, you will come upon 2 logs, one you must climb over and the other you must go underneath. Further on this trail you will come upon 3 trees crossing the trail. The trees lay parallel to the ground and the branches grow straight up. The trail proceeds downhill, enters a meadow, and reaches Shin Creek.

SHIN CREEK - The water in Shin Creek is not drinkable. The creek is at the bottom of a 30 foot deep ravine. It is very slippery, steep, and dangerous; going down its banks, be very careful.

DIRT ROAD - Proceed 50 yards from the creek and there is a dirt road running north and south. Proceed south and it will turn, running east and west, with another road meeting it going north and south. You proceed east, going up hill. This road passes through a New York State Forest Preserve. At the top of the hill is the halfway point; 5 miles traveled and 5 miles to go. The road and trail proceed down hill passing through some farm fields and passing a few houses. The road bears sharply to the right with a driveway to a barn straight ahead. The trail follows the road to the Beaverkill.

BEAVERKILL RIVER - Here you must cross the bridge and proceed left in a northeastern direction on a macadam road. The distance from this point to the lake is 2 3/4 miles. Alder Creek is to your left and you will pass a farm on your right. About 1/8 mile from the bridge you will see a gravel sifter to your left. The water from Alder Creek is drinkable but respect posted land. About one half mile from the bridge you will pass a wooden bridge on your left. We have permission from the owner to take water upstream of this bridge. Please do not throw rocks or wood into the pool below it.

THREE BRIDGES - About 200 yards above the wooden bridge the road crosses Alder Creek. There are two similar bridges further upstream, all utilized by the trail. At the third one, the creek bears right and the road bears left. Follow this to the fork.

FORK - Here there are three roads branching out. The trail bears completely right onto a dirt road and drops slightly, but goes steeply up hill. At the top there is a meadow. Proceed along the road and stop at the sign requesting all troops to halt. The Senior Patrol Leader will follow the path down the hill to the right. After he has checked in with the Staff at the outpost store, the Senior Patrol Leader will lead his troop to their assigned camping area.

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