Manitou Ledge

Manitou Ledge provides one of the finest escarpment views in The Catskills.

Hike Length: 5.0 miles (8.05 km)

Total Ascent: 1,036ft (316m)

Intensity: Moderate Catskills Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail, Herd Path, Stream Crossing

Parent North Mountain

Similar Entries In: Catskills, The Best Hikes, The Moderate Hikes, , , .

Manitou Ledge in The Catskills

Manitou Ledge

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 Moderate out-and-back, requires permission to park on and use private grounds.

Hiking Trail Description

This moderate hike to Manitou Ledge from the Winter Clove Inn offers one of the grandest Hudson Valley views in The Catskills.

This hike can be done on its own, but is best done in combination with the wonderful hike to Rip’s Rock, the location of Rip Van Winkle’s 20 year slumber in The Catskills. (When done on its own, this out-and-back route is actually a little longer than the loop that includes Rip’s Rock!)

The word “Manitou” comes from an Algonquin word meaning “spirit”. The Catskills Escarpment, rising abruptly from the broad, flat Hudson Valley floor, is often referred to as “The Great Wall of Manitou”.

Manitou Ledge from Winter Clove Inn is definitely one of the best Catskills hikes.

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Manitou Ledge Hiking Trail

PLEASE NOTE: This hike begins and ends on private property, at the very lovely Winter Clove Inn in Round Top, New York. 95% of this route is on public lands owned by New York State but, before you begin your hike, please stop by the reception area of the Winter Clove Inn to ask permission to use their trails. The staff are very friendly and the owners are keen for respectful hikers to enjoy the trails which surround the Inn. Please make sure to carry out everything you carry in, and leave no trace.

The Manitou Ledge hiking trail includes…

  • A start on private property that requires permission
  • A lean-to
  • Modest stream crossings
  • Beautiful trails
  • An imposing quarry
  • One of the best views in Catskills

Allow 2½-3 hours for this hike.

Manitou Ledge Hiking Trail Notes & Gallery

Positioned at the foot of North Mountain, the Winter Clove Inn might be the loveliest trailhead in the Catskills. Park away from the main building, past the smaller buildings on the far side.

Winter Clove Inn
Winter Clove Inn. Ask for permission to hike here.

If you’re looking at the front of the Winter Clove, this trail begins to its left, and behind where this photo was taken. So, to begin, walk away from the building and look for the dirt road and trail signage on your right.

You will be following red painted blazes most of the way. (You can ignore the older blue painted blazes.)

Deeper into the woods, you’ll find junctions which are generally well sign-posted…

Trail sign posts near Winter Clove Inn
Trail signage

But there are also many more junctions and trails in the area than either AllTrails or GaiaGPS show — so a digital navigation aid is very useful here, and will help you stay on the correct trails for this route.

Quarry & Junction

You’ll pass a wonderful quarry on the way. 20-25 minutes after the quarry, you’ll come to a junction from which you can leave the main route and head down to Manitou Ledge.

Sean heading down to Manitou Ledge
Sean approaching the ledge (Photo: Zoeann Murphy)

Manitou Ledge

This is a wonderful spot to picnic and to just sit and take it all in.

Manitou Ledge, Catskills
Manitou Ledge

The ledge is very large, with lots of space to spread out, and a fire pit…

Manitou Ledge, Catskills
Manitou Ledge

Manitou Ledge, Catskills
Manitou Ledge

Manitou Ledge, Catskills
Manitou Ledge

From here, you can return the same way to your car — or visit Rip’s Rock, which is just 10-15 minutes away, for an equally stunning view into Rip Van Winkle Hollow.

Similar Hikes

The whole area around North Mountain and South Mountain is lovely and offers so many incredible hikes and scenic views.

For a longer and even more dramatic hike, try Gertrude’s Nose in The Shawangunks.

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The parent mountain for this hike is North Mountain.

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

This hike begins on private property. Pop into the reception area to ask for permission. (Staff are super friendly.)

Google Maps Location: 42.241474, -74.032292

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Because this route hugs the Catskill Escarpment, I had cell service for the whole of this hike. My network is Verizon. YMMV.