The Catskill Mountain Region is Over 6,000 Square Miles....Where Should You Begin?


Are you new to the Catskills or not familiar with the layout of our public lands and recreational resources? Looking for some good suggestions on where to go hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, or cross-country skiing? In a region larger than the state of Connecticut - here are some suggestions to get you started.




Choose a vicinity below to view some of the many
outdoor pursuits in the Catskill Mountain region.









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Northern Catskill Park

Strenuous Hikes:

Blackhead Range - Traverse the three high peaks that define the skyline of the northern Catskill Park; Thomas Cole (elev. 3,940'), Blackhead (elev. 3,980'), and Black Dome (elev. 3,940'). Mileage approx. 5-6 miles one-way depending on route.  Scenic view points.  NY/NJ TC Catskills Trail Map #41.

Devil?s Path - Doing even a small chunk of the 23-mile Devil?s Path can be considered an extremely strenuous hike, however the rewards are numerous and unforgettable.  Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, and Twin are signature Catskill high peaks, and Plateau, Southwest Hunter, and Westkill Mountains will give you a better workout than you could ever pay for at a gym.  Once you make it up to the spruce-fir summits, all of your troubles will disappear in the breeze.  Amazing vistas from bluestone ledges will turn you into a romantic such as the likes of Thomas Cole and Washington Irving.

Moderate Hikes:

Dibble?s Quarry and Pecoy Notch  - A moderate hike of 1.9 miles one-way will take you through classic Catskills northern hardwood forest and typical rock outcrops, then to an abandoned bluestone quarry with modern-day charm, on to a tumbling stream through a hemlock ravine, up to a high-mountain beaver meadow, and finally to the rugged notch between Twin and Sugarloaf Mountains  (elevation gain 1,000?)..  More ambitious hikers can ascend the Devil?s Path to the summits on either side of the notch.  Scenic views at Dibble?s Quarry and summits of Twin and Sugarloaf Mountains.  NY/NJ TC Catskills Trail Map #41.

Huckleberry Point- Hike from the magical Platte Clove up onto the lower flanks of Kaaterskill High Peak and then out to a rocky promontory with fantastic views of the Hudson Valley, Platte Clove, and Indian Head Range.  2.5 miles one-way; gradual ascents.  NY/NJ TC Catskills Trail Map #41

Easy Hikes:

Catskill Mountain House Site and Artists Rock  - Accessed via North-South Lake State Campground, this is arguably the most classic scenic view in the Catskill Park (along with the view of North-South Lake and South Mountain from North Mountain)..   The Catskill Mountain House Site is a short stroll from the parking areas at the campground and boasts an incredible panorama of the Hudson Valley.  Artists Rock (0.5-mile from campground), Boulder Rock (0.75-mile from campground), and Sunset Rock (1.3-miles from campground) also have great views.  NY/NJ TC Catskills Trail Map #40 and #41.

Primitive Camping:

Elm Ridge Lean-to

 

Cross-Country Skiing:

Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center

 

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:

Colgate Lake - Enjoy scenic views of the Blackhead Range while paddling lazily on this pretty out-of-the-way lake. This lake supports trout. NY/NJ TC Catskills Trail Map #41.

River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

Trout Fishing:

Schoharie Creek

Warm-water Fishing:

Lake Rip Van Winkle in Tannersville

 

Mountain Biking:

Hunter Mountain Ski Area

Ski Windham

 



Southern Catskill Park

Strenuous Hikes:

Table and Peekamoose Mountains - Start in from the end of Denning Road, for a hike of 3.9 miles one-way to the summit of Table Mountain (elevation gain 1,700'), and another 0.85-mile brings you to the summit of Peekamoose. Alternate approach is 3.9 miles one-way to summit of Peekamoose Mountain, from Peekamoose Road (Ulster Co. Rt. 42)., (elevation gain 2,640'). Enjoy the magic kingdom of the spruce-fir forest that crowns our highest Catskill peaks.


Moderate Hikes:




 

Easy Hikes:

Red Hill Fire Tower - A 1.35-mile hike through a pleasant forest, uphill but not too steep, leads you to the Red Hill Fire Tower.  Thanks to volunteer efforts, the tower is now completely restored and open to the public.  Enjoy 360-degree views of the mountains.  The old ranger cabin, open on most weekends in summer, now has old photographs and other interpretive material about the days when the tower was used by the State for spotting forest fires.
 

Primitive Camping:

 

Cross-Country Skiing:

 

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:

River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

Trout Fishing:

Willowemoc Creek- One of the legendary trout streams that made the Catskills famous for trout fishing beginning in the mid to late-1800?s.  The "Willow" is natural, free-flowing river that holds some beautiful fish and beautiful surroundings.  Public fishing areas can be found at several sections along the course of the river.  Generally typical Catskills fly hatches and fly patterns, according to the time of the season.  Some sections open year round for catch and release only.  Don?t forget to visit the non-profit Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, between Livingston Manor and Roscoe to learn about our rich Catskill Mountains fly fishing heritage.

 

Warm-water Fishing:

 

Mountain Biking:

 


 



Western Catskill Park

Strenuous Hikes:


Moderate Hikes:

Kelly Hollow  - A nice loop trail through both serene hardwoods and deep dark Norway spruce plantations. Lean-to for camping next to a small beaver pond.

Easy Hikes:

Alder Lake  - Once you see what a beautiful place Alder Lake is, you'll want to keep it to yourself. A bowl in the mountains, surrounded by State land. Great for canoeing, tent camping, and brook trout fishing. A one-mile loop trail circles the lake, mostly flat and dry. The old abandoned Coykendall mansion looking over the lake is quickly succumbing to a sad state of decay, but is still architecturally interesting. A spectacular place when the fall foliage peaks.

Waneta Lake- A pretty little lake that most people drive by without giving a second thought to. Hike over the "stepping stones" on the dam, and look for a yellow trail on the far side of the lake, leading to a handful of designated tent camping sites.

 

Primitive Camping:

 

 

Cross-Country Skiing:

 

 

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:

Big Pond - A real find for those who have never traveled down Barkaboom Road before. The beautiful mountain setting of this medium-sized, deep lake will keep you coming back, as will the bald eagles and great fishing. Open for trout fishing year-round, which makes Big Pond a Catskills hot-spot for ice-fishing in winter. Pitch your tent at one of four designated campsites.

Alder Lake - see above


River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

East Branch Delaware River - Water releases from the Pepacton Reservoir keep this river flowing steady even during dry summer months. Release water is very cold, which helps the healthy population of wild trout, but can make for painful swimming or wading in bare skin, at least in the upper stretches. A classic 5-mile float trip is from Rt. 206/30 bridge just above Downsville to the bridge in Shinhopple. Canoe/kayak rental available in Downsville.

 

Trout Fishing:

Beaverkill River - Steeped in lore and legend, the Beaverkill is the preeminent American trout stream. It is the river that made the Catskills famous as the birthplace of American fly-fishing. Very little public access upstream of Roscoe, but many places to get on the river below Roscoe. Many fly shops and guides in the area. Best to fish at off-peak times when you can find some elbow room. River supports a great wild population of trout, mostly browns, but also rainbows and brookies.

Pepacton Reservoir - The biggest brown trout in the Catskills, and perhaps the east, swim in the Pepacton. The reservoir is part of the New York City water supply system, and requires a permit to access. Fish from shore or rowboat just about anywhere in the spring, then go deep during the summer. Live bait fish (usually sawbellies) and shiny spoons (most notably Krocodiles) are proven methods. Water levels fluctuate depending on seasonal rainfall fluctuations. Beware of mercury contamination and other State health advisories.

 

Warm-water Fishing:

Pepacton Reservoir - When the hot summer weather slows down the trout fishing, many anglers turn their attention to hard-fighting "bronzebacks" (smallmouth bass) of the Pepacton and other NYC reservoirs. Cruise the shoreline with fly or spinning rod, looking for good structure such as rock ledges and drop- offs. Access permit required; shore fishing or rowboats only. Water levels fluctuate depending on seasonal rainfall fluctuations; beware of mercury contamination and other State health advisories.

 

Mountain Biking:

Snow-mobile Trail off Morton Hill Road - Ride 2.5 miles one-way on an old road bed to the unnamed peaks north of Morton Hill.

 



Northeastern Catskill Region
(Outside the Catskill Park)


Strenuous Hikes:

The Long Path - Strenuous hikes along a portion of the Long Path from ROute 23 west in Windham to Huntersfield Road in Prattsville. Approximately 15 miles over 8 mountains.

Moderate Hikes:

Vroman's Nose  - The scenic gem of Schoharie County, this conspicuous promontory juts out over the pastoral Schoharie Creek Valley and provides fantastic views of some of New York's best farmland. This preserve, maintained by the non-profit Vroman's Nose Corporation, has dramatic ledges, an interesting geological history, and lies along the Long Path. Off NYS Rt. 30, near Middleburg.



Easy Hikes:

 

Primitive Camping:

Huntersfield Mountain Lean-to  - The lean-tio is located just below the summit of Huntersfield Mountain. The Long Path leads to the yellow-blazed NYSDEC trail that circles the summit and to the lean-to.

Eminence State Forest Complex - The lean-to within the 12,000-acre Eminence State Forest can be reached by taking Route 30 north to West Fulton Road. Head west to Rossman Hill Road, and west on Rossman Hill Road to Burnt Hill Road. Make a left turn to reach the Lean-to. The Long Path is nearby.

Cross-Country Skiing:

 

 

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:





River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

 

Trout Fishing:


 

Warm-water Fishing:

 

 

Mountain Biking:


 

 



Northwestern Catskill Region
(Outside the Catskill Park)


Strenuous Hikes:


Moderate Hikes:

Catskill Scenic Rail Trail  - The scenic rolling hills and rich agricultural lands of the Delaware River Valley will surround you as you walk or bike on this gentle-grade path. Choose a stretch from the 20 miles of rail trail between Bloomville and Grand Gorge, or try out the newly completed 5.5-mile section from Grand Gorge to Roxbury.

Easy Hikes:

Emmons Pond Bog  - A preserve owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, with a hiking trail in easy walking distance from the road. Approach through a meadow with many wildflowers, then walk through the shrubby edge of the pond before stepping out onto a short boardwalk through the bog mat that surrounds the pond. See pitcher plants and other bog vegetation.

The history of the pond and bog date back 11,000 years when the retreat of the last glacier left a drepression which was soon filled with water. Sphagnum moss and other bog plants grew in the shallow water around the edge of the pond. Plant materials broke down slowly because of the acidity and low temperature of the water. As a result, the plant materials accumulated to form a floating doughnut-shaped mat around the pond. Beavers dammed the outlet stream in the late 1970s, so the bog mat is now ringed with water.

In the beginning of the trail there is a sign-in box and interpretive signs. The trail is easy and is marked with orange markers and is 1.4 mi long, circles the pond in a counter-clockwise direction. Southside Drive, 4 miles southeast of Oneonta in the Town of Davenport.


Primitive Camping:

 

 

Cross-Country Skiing:

 

 

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:

 

River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

West Branch Delaware River - Spring rains and snow-melt make for a fun run on this meandering river through the beautiful rolling hills of Delaware County. Hold on tight to your paddle through the quick bends, and share the long flats with kingfishers, mergansers, herons, osprey, and bald eagles. A classic trip is from Bloomville or Delhi to Hamden. Put in at public bridges. River can be too low to float during drought months. Canoe rental available in Walton. Oh, and don't forget to buy some local maple syrup!

 

Trout Fishing:

West Branch Delaware River - Good fishing in both the farm country of the upper West Branch, and the tailwater river below the Cannonsville Reservoir. River below Deposit, and down into Main Stem of the Delaware below Hancock is one of the few places in the east where you can hire a guide to take you in a drift boat. Lots of public access points. The Delaware system is noted for its wild rainbows.

Warm-water Fishing:

 

 

Mountain Biking:

Ski Plattekill - This ski area offers fast action on the downhill slopes; serviced with chair lifts. Check their web site for rates and various events and competitions.

Catskill Scenic Rail Trail - see above



Southeastern Catskill Region
(Outside the Catskill Park)


Strenuous Hikes:


Moderate Hikes:


 

Easy Hikes:

Mohonk Preserve Carriage Trails  - Take a stroll along the under-cliff or over-cliff carriage trails in the Trapps section of the beautiful Shawangunk Ridge. Enjoy the mountain laurel when it's in bloomin spring, pick blueberries when they're ripe in fall, and watch rock-climbers whenever the rocks are dry. Mohonk Preserve day pass or season pass required.

Primitive Camping:

 

 

Cross-Country Skiing:

 

Mohonk Preserve - see above  

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:

Bashakill Wetland - A very unique and important wetland, the Bashakill is a part of a large protected area and tributary of the Nevesink River. The wetland is nestled between the Shawangunk Ridge and the Neversink Highlands, and offers a beautiful meandering paddling opportunity. Check with the non-profit Bashakill Area Association for guided outings led by professional botanists and other nature enthusiasts.  

River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

 

Trout Fishing:

Rondout Creek (upper) - Sections of the Rondout Creek below the Rondout Reservoir and down through Ellenville are stocked each year and generally remain cold enough to support trout. Temperatures begin to rise downstream of Ellenville.

Warm-water Fishing:

 

Rondout Creek (lower) - The flat-water sections of the Rondout, upstream of High Falls, make for great places to try your hand at largemouth bass, crappies, and sunfish.

 

Mountain Biking:

Vernooy State Forest - A recent addition to the State's land-holdings, the Vernooey State Forest outside of Ellenville is a great connector between the Catskills and Shawangunks. Several dirt roads make for relaxing mountain bikes rides with little or no other traffic.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail - Gentle-grade trail awaits those want to embark on a day-trip between New Paltz and Gardiner. 12 miles of completed rail trail in all. Bike shop at head of trail in New Paltz.

 



Southwestern Catskill Region
(Outside the Catskill Park)


Strenuous Hikes:

Neversink Unique Area - Explore a secret treasure of the Catskill region - the Neversink Gorge. The Neversink is a wild and beautiful river, and here it flows through an out-of-the-way valley, over waterfalls and through thick forests. Trails of 1 to 3 miles one-way lead to the river, and then bush-whacking can be the best way to truly explore the river's secrets.

Moderate Hikes:

O & W Rail Trail - Two completed sections, one from Hurleyville to South Fallsburg, and one from Woodridge to Mountaindale, offer a relaxing stroll or bike ride.
 

Easy Hikes:

Crystal Lake Loop Trail  - A relaxing loop hike around a beautiful hidden lake.

Primitive Camping:

 

 

Cross-Country Skiing:

 

O & W Rail Trail - see above  

Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking:

  

River Canoeing/
Kayaking:

 

Delaware River - Designated a National Scenic and Recreational River, the Delaware is a classic float trip. Start in Hancock or any number of other public access points and flat as little as one or two miles, or as many as 10, 20, 50, or even 100 or more. The main-stem Delaware is the largest un-dammed river in the east, and boasts a healthy population of bald eagles and many game-fish species. Private outfitters rent canoes and kayaks, and run campgrounds and guided trips. Keep your eyes out for bald eagles!

 

Trout Fishing:

Delaware River - The main-stem Delaware is the largest un-dammed river in the east, and supports a healthy population of naturally spawning brown, rainbow, and brook trout. One of the few good trout rivers in the east that can be floated in a rowboat or driftboat. Several fly shops and professional guides available in the area. The big river can be intimidating, so don't hesitate to seek professional advice on the best fishing tactics.

Warm-water Fishing:

 

Delaware River - When the water temperatures rise in the downstream portions of the Delaware, many fisherman turn to black bass, walleye, and shad.

 

Mountain Biking:


 







SAVE THE DATE:
9th Annual Catskill "Lark in the Park" - September 29 - October 8, 2012

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