Rip Van Winkle Hollow

April 19, 2006


Provided and copyright by: Steve Kluge, Fox Lane High School
Summary authors & editors: Steve Kluge

From the mid 1820's until its demolition in 1963, the Catskill Mountain House dominated the view of the ledge of the eastern Catskill Mountains, from the Hudson River Valley below (between New York City and Albany). During the first 70 years of its existence, access to the hotel was made by a 2.8 mile (4.5 km) long stagecoach ride that gained 1,500 feet (460 m) of elevation as it zigzagged up the steep slopes of the "Catskill Mural Front." Accessible by foot today, the stage road climbs steeply up the narrow Rip Van Winkle Hollow, and at the hairpin turn and narrow bridge across Stony Creek one finds the old foundation of "a small hut, or shantey as they are called here, whose occupant by universal consent bears the name of the immortal sleeper. Whether a genuine descendant or not is the point upon which I will not state my veracity. His hut is in a singularly romantic situation; built in a deep angle of the rock with a perpendicular ascent fifty feet directly above him. He keeps refreshment for travelers, and is supplied with water by spout which is laid from his window to the spring in a rock behind him."(From the Boston Recorder And Telegraph Oct. 6, 1826).

This photo, made February 22, 2006, is the view up Rip Van Winkle Hollow from the bridge at "Rip's Cabin." The Catskills here are characterized by alternating layers of red shale and gray sandstone. Above, Stony Brook cuts through a layer of red shale, and its bed is littered with sandstone blocks shed from the cliffs above.

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