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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

North-South Lake Public Campground
Description: North-South Lake is the largest and most popular campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Campers or day visitors encounter a good cross section of wildlife common to the storied Catskill Mountains at this multiple-use recreation area, just a 2.5-hour drive north of New York City. The mixed hardwood and conifer forests, the lake, and the mountain streams combine to support a rich ecosystem for wild plants and animals.

Enjoy the same picturesque scenes that attracted guests to the historic Catskill Mountain House Hotel at spots like Alligator Rock and Newman’s Ledge. While at North-South Lake, don’t miss a chance to visit nearby Kaaterskill Falls, the state’s highest falls, where water cascades from a precipice rising 260 feet.

Wildlife to Watch: This campground is in the heart of the Catskills, so white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and signs of black bear are common. The bears themselves also make an appearance on occasion. Wild turkeys and ruffed grouse are often heard and encountered in the woods, as are ubiquitous eastern gray squirrels and their feistier little cousins, red squirrels.

Warblers and many other songbirds migrate through in May, while September and October are prime hawk-viewing months along the escarpment. At night, campers might hear the deep, resonant hoots of great horned and barred owls, while hungry bats fly open-mouthed through a smorgasbord of insects.

Visitors to the lake may be treated to the sight of migrating common loons diving for fish. Gaggles of Canada geese, flocks of mallards and a host of other waterfowl are also plentiful on North-South Lake.

Special Tips: This site is open from mid-May through late October. There is a vehicle entrance fee. Fishing is allowed in season. Bicycling, horseback riding (accessible mounting platforms available), swimming, boating (no motors) and fishing (in season) are also popular here.

518-589-5058, County Route 18, Haines Falls, NY 12436, www.dec.ny.gov/ outdoor/55669.html

Ownership: NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation 
Size: 600 Acres 
Closest Town: Haines Falls

RestroomsParkingTent CampingFishingHikingPicnic tablesFeeSmall BoatsDrinking WaterSwimmingBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Black capped Chikadee - Photo by Jeff Nadler
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
From the south: Take the NYS Thruway/I-87 north to exit 20 at Saugerties. Follow Rte. 32 north for approximately 6 miles to Rte. 32A to Rte. 23A west. Stay on Rte. 23A to the Village of Haines Falls. Make the first right turn in Haines Falls onto County Rte. 18. Campground entrance is 2 miles from there. From the north: NYS Thruway/I-87 south to exit 21 at Catskill. Turn left on Rte. 23 east to Rte. 9W south. Follow Rte. 9W through Catskill to Rte. 23A. Follow 23A west to Haines Falls. Make the first right turn in Haines Falls onto County Rte. 18. Campground entrance is 2 miles from there.

Map Link

North-South Lake Public Campground : Wildlife Viewing Area