An easy out-and-back.
Hiking Trail Description
This one mile out-and-back to the old, abandoned Cortina Ski Resort is the creepiest hike I’ve been on. I recommend it.
Cortina Ski Resort History
Built by Mario Belardino, a New York attorney and ski buff, the Cortina Ski Resort first opened in 1974. Its ski runs were mostly for beginner and intermediate skiers. Business largely picked up the Hunter Mountain overflow, and the resort was always understood as playing third fiddle to the nearby Hunter and Windham resorts.
In 1987, the resort was bought by a Korean investment group, then abandoned some time in the late 1990’s. The history of this period isn’t well-documented online but there are allusions to the resort limping along, solid party times, hills blasted with cocaine, etc.
For some period in the mid-2000’s, the resort was active again. An online commenter states, “Although the lifts were closed, it was open a few years between 2002-2006. The main lodge and hotel were open. We would ride snowmobiles around the trails, then have food and cocoa by the fire in the main lodge. There was a full bar, dining room, and even an arcade at one point.”
If you have more information on the old Cortina Ski Resort, feel free to comment below and I’ll update the post.
The small lot for this hike is the first of two lots on Gillespie Road. The lot is at the intersection of Gillespie and Cortina Lane. GPS coordinates below.
This lot is also the starting point for a long, easy (but very wet) western approach of Kaaterskill High Peak.
Warning! This post is for informational purposes only. Undertake at your own risk and liability.
From the lot, hike uphill using Cortina Lane. Ignore where the road bends sharply right. Instead, keep straight.
Cross the gully and head uphill along an old washed-out road.
Follow the abandoned trail as it winds uphill. There are no blazes. Much of this land is private but there is no other way to access the western trailhead for the snowmobile trails that run around the base of Round Top and Kaaterskill High Peak.
You may also find an obvious shortcut that leads directly onto one of the ski runs.
After just a few minutes, you’ll find yourself at the chairlift platform…
Definitely one of the creepier locations in the Catskills, the abandoned Cortina ski resort has strong haunted-by-clowns vibes.
Kaaterskill High Peak Western Trailhead
If you follow the overhead steel cables, and walk past the creepy murder shack shown above, you’ll come to a spot under the chairlifts and cables where you’re looking downhill and directly north to Tannersville.
Here, look right and you’ll notice an open gate.
Walk right through the puddle and you’ll find the first red blaze. After hiking roughly ⅔ mile through some nice hemlock stands you’ll come to a clearly sign-posted junction. Here, you can either turn left to begin winding your way around the north side of Round Top and Kaaterskill High Peak before climbing the latter from the north — or you can turn right to tackle KHP from the south, a much trickier climb.
Here’s a short list of excellent Catskills ruins you can hike to, including the ruins of Overlook Hotel. If you know of other Catskills ruins or abandoned sites, let me know. I’m keen to check them out.
The parent mountain for this hike is Round Top.
Hey! If you do this hike, let me know how it went in the comments below.
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Trailhead Info for this Hike
Small lot for a handful of cars.
GPS Location: 42.177558, -74.120955
The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead
Okay service from the trailhead and along the trail. No guarantees but we had several bars of LTE and 3G. My network is Verizon. YMMV.