The Shavertown Trail that runs over the summit of Perch Lake Mountain in Andes is a moderate hike suitable for all ages that offers its rewards early on: stunning views from Snake Lake about a mile up from the trailhead. This hike is perfect for a large family party or house full of visitors of assorted ages. The first mile is the most strenuous, after which less fitter members of the group can loiter at the lake and picnic – if spring ever visits us again – while admiring the views over the Pepacton Reservoir. Those who need more of a workout can can go further. After the lake, the trail is a solid, long hike for 1.5 miles through a dense hemlock forest to a loop which turns you around to hike back to where you started. The entire trail is 5.3 miles long and the elevation gain is only 700ft.
This guided hike – led by volunteers of the Catskill Mountain Club – was supposed to be a spring hike, but winter is hanging on like the overbearing party guest who has outstayed his welcome. Yes, he’s handsome and charismatic, but cold, and exhausting. Plus, the house is a mess.
Although, there’s nothing more enigmatic than ascending into a large hemlock grove in a swirling snowstorm and the bare trees provided glimpses of the frozen Pepacton, we’re ready for some green. In the summer. Snake Lake is covered with wild flowers, bullrushes and saplings.
The parking area for the Shavertown trailhead is on Route 30, at the north end of the Shavertown Bridge by the boat launch. The trail – on NYC DEP land – is maintained by Catskill Mountain Club volunteers. Click here to find out more about the trail.
The Catskill Mountain Club regularly conducts guided hikes led by its members. If you’re new to hiking, go with a guide on your first few hikes.
As usual with Catskills hikes, always take your map and compass. Remember that you’re entering wilderness areas for the most part and its easy to get lost or disoriented. This trail is marked by red disks affixed to trees and the disks are affixed to the reverse sides of the trees too, so if you’ve had enough, you can simply turn around the return the way you came, following the red disks back to the trailhead.
The later part of the Shavertown Trail has a lot of ash trees and the Catskills’ ash tree population is suffering because of the invasive species the Emerald Ash Borer. We are expected to lose all of our ash trees in a few years. Logging is set to commence on the Shavertown Trail later in the spring to remove the ash trees on the trail before which time the trail will be re-routed and re-marked.