Yellow loop plus red lollipop.
Hiking Trail Description
With open views of the surrounding Catskills mountains, Kenneth L. Wilson State Campground is extremely picturesque. It has two dense forests: one for camping (currently closed) and one for exploring a nature trail. This post focuses on the nature trail, which remains open during the Coronavirus crisis.
Help: Due to Coronavirus, all state campgrounds have currently waived entrance fees. However, services are minimal and public buildings are closed; they are effectively public parks during this time. Please maintain social distancing.
If you have feedback on this page, please feel free to contact me directly.
The campground is located off Route 28, north of the Ashokan Reservoir, south of Mt Tobias, and east of the Catskills Visitor Center. From the Kingston traffic circle at Exit 19, take Route 28 past Onteora Lake until for 7.4 miles. Turn right on Old Rte 28, a very sharp right onto Ohayo Rd, and then left onto Glenford Wittenberg Road for 5 miles. Pass the DEC sign for Mt Tremper on your left. The entrance to the campground is just a few hundred yards more, also on the left. From Kingston, it takes about 25 minutes.
The parking lot is quite large. Dotted around the lake are several docks for boating and fishing, all wheelchair accessible. I’m not a campground guy but the amenities here seem top notch. It feels like a superb campground.
This partial view of Wittenberg and Cornell opens up as you walk to the far end of the lake…
Nature Trail: Yellow Loop, First Half
There are two connected trails: yellow and red. The Yellow Trail is a loop. About half way through it, you’ll have the option of turning on to the Red Trail which is a lollipop route, before returning to the yellow loop. The total for both loops is just under 2½ miles.
Immediately after the register, the trail passes over a stream via a sweet footbridge with built-in seats, before starting into the woods. Follow the yellow blazes.
When we got to the fork where the yellow loop begins, we turned right and began walking the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.
Not long after you begin the yellow loop, you’ll come to a fork: the yellow trail goes to the left. To the right, a short spur trail descends to this lovely fishing dock…
Head back to the yellow trail, and turn right. The trail continues through fairly open spruce and pine forest…
…before descending into a seemingly endless stand of old hemlock trees.
Soon, you’ll come to this very old white pine tree, with its distinctive offshoot trunks.
The yellow trail continues downhill toward the water. But here you also have the option of turning right onto the Red Trail.
Nature Trail: Red Lollipop
This trail passes through old farm land and there are many fine stone fences. The terrain undulates as it descends to a bayou-like section. This bayou is just off trail to the right, but you’ll see a short herd path descending to the water’s edge. It’s very peaceful but there is a lot of animal activity: birdsong and movement in the woods across the water, and you might see tracks in the mud around the water’s edge.
The trail turns and winds back uphill. You’ll pass several primitive lean-tos made of branches.
Eventually, you’ll come back to the enormous white pine tree. Now turn right, and head downhill to the water’s edge. The trail turns left through an opening in the trees.
Nature Trail: Yellow Loop, Second Half
The Yellow Trail continues past a swampy section, through still predominately hemlock woods.
The environment along this section is mostly riparian — it follows the banks of a stream. Riparian woods are their own micro-environment and there are many species of plant and animal that populate this kind of terrain.
The trail heads uphill, leading back to the parking area but not before passing one more time through the spectacular stand of pine trees that marks the beginning of the trail.
Full information for the campground can be found at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24472.html
In these Coronavirus times, it’s more important than ever to get out into nature and enjoy the health and psychological benefits of dappled forest light. This easy hike is both short and kid-friendly.
Trailhead Info for this Hike
Description: Large lot but popular during summer
Address: 859 Wittenberg Road, Mt. Tremper, NY 12457
Due to the nature of rural addresses, this address is an approximation; it’s the “close enough address” I use to get driving directions from my phone. Click to launch Google Maps in a new window/tab.
Location: The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead.
On and off throughout. Patchy. My network is Verizon. YMMV.