Once you see what a beautiful places Big Pond and Alder Lake are, you’ll want to keep them to yourselves.
Both of these ponds are on state land with designated campsites but no services or lifeguards — swim and camp the way we used to — bring your floats and rafts, your BBQ and even your dog! They are great places for swimming, canoeing, tent camping, and fishing. A one-mile loop trail circles the Alder Lake, mostly flat and dry. You can hike from Big Pond to Alder Lake to take in both of them. Ruins of the old Coykendall mansion look over Alder Lake.
If you want bathrooms, showers, lifeguards and other services in a lovely setting, visit Little Pond State Campground. There are plenty of hiking trails in the park as well.
Many State trails in the Catskill Park have designated camping sites and even lean to’s. The lean to’s are available on a first come first serve basis and you will have to share the space if other campers come along. “At large” camping is also allowed in the Catskill Park — and it’s important to know the rules before you head out there.
- Camping and fires are prohibited over 3500′ in elevation (except for emergencies).
- Camping is prohibited within 150′ of any road, trail, spring or other body of water unless a “camp here” marker is posted.
- Use privies when available, otherwise, human waste should be buried in a hole at least 150′ from water or campsites
- Pack out what you pack in and leave no other traces of your stay
- Obey posted signs
- More detailed DEC regulations can be found here
If you’d like to camp but a sleeping bag on the ground or in a lean to isn’t quite your thing, maybe “glamping” is more your style. TentRR is the AirBnB for the glamorous camper and there are a number of sites in Andes and the surrounding towns: Eagles Nest, Big Sky, Willow Drey Pasture, Bears Den & Turtle Creek.