Catskills, Then and Now: Alligator Rock

February 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

During the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratic and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, The Sphinx, and perhaps the most popular and widely known, Alligator Rock, enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

 

The two photographs seen here of Alligator Rock are separated by 109 years, with the first one taken in 1907 by John W. Rusk and published as part of his postcard business. My photo was taken in the spring of 2016.

 

Alligator Rock, located near South Lake, is a glacial erratic left behind during the last ice age.Catskill Mts., N.Y., Alligator Rock (Near Catskill Mountain House)North-South Lake, Greene County

During the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratic and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, The Sphinx, and perhaps the most popular and widely known, Alligator Rock, enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

 

Alligator Rock, located near South Lake, is a glacial erratic left behind during the last ice age.Alligator RockNorth-South Lake, Greene County

During the last ice age of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, receding glaciers left behind many gigantic “erratics” throughout the Catskills. Erratics can be defined as “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” Many examples of these rocks and boulders as well as other interesting rock formations can be found around South Mountain and the North-South Lake area. As per 19th century fashion, many of the more noteworthy erratic and formations were named, both as a means of identification but also to promote tourism. Locations such as Druid Rocks, Pudding-Stone Hall, Lemon Squeezer, Elfin Pass, Fairy Spring, Star Rock, Boulder Rock, The Sphinx, and perhaps the most popular and widely known, Alligator Rock, enthralled visitors as they hiked through the woods in and around the famed Catskill Mountain House. Many of these funky rocks are still popular hiking destinations today.

 


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