Top 5 Hiking Trails in the Catskills & Hudson Valley
One of the many reasons why the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley are so beautiful is because of all the preserved state land that exists here. New York State and local community non-profits such as Catskill Mountainkeeper, have done a great job at maintaining natural resources including watersheds, native species to the area, and keeping up with land conservation (so all you city dwellers can have clean water)!
One of the best ways to experience the area is by hiking.
Here is a list of my top 5 favorite trails!
Overlook Mountain – Woodstock
This is great trail with rewarding views for anyone visiting the Woodstock area. The trail starts only a 15 minute drive from the heart of Woodstock, and takes you up a steep incline, but wow – are the views worth it! Pass by the abandoned remains of the Overlook Hotel on your way to the top.
5 miles – out and back
The link above has a longer hike attached, but you can stop and turn around once you get to the overlook.
Breakneck Ridge – Cold Spring
If you don’t have access to a car, but still want to get out of the city, there is limited (weekend only) Metro North stop which takes you directly to the Cold Spring trailhead. It’s almost as if the 4 / 5 /6 subway popped you right out into the woods (just transfer once at Grand Central)! This is very tricky climb, with lots of rock scrambles, but once you reach the top of the ridge, the views of the Hudson Valley are breath taking and the trail flattens out a little if you want to keep going onto other paths. Otherwise, loop back around and come down the ridge and hop back on the returning train. P.S. – if you bring a dog, make sure you can hoist them up and down the large boulders – some spots are two steep for a four legged friend to climb!
You can customize the length of this hike, but it is about 1-2 miles round trip, if you take the shortest route.
Kaaterskill Falls – Haines Falls
This is the tallest two-tiered waterfall in the state of New York – over 260 feet! This is a not to miss waterfall, and two ways of accessing it. You can either park on route 23A, and hike up for a 1-2 mile hike or drive to Laurel House Road and take an easier route, about .5 miles, to the viewing platform at the top. This top viewing platform makes it an accessible spot for families with a wide age range.
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
1-2 miles round trip from the bottom.
.5 miles from the parking lot at Laurel House.
Hunter Mountain Fire Tower – Hunter
If you love stunning views, then definitely head to the top of Hunter Mountain. There are two ways to access it, one from route 214, and the other from the West Kill area. From the top of the fire tower, which is open only on weekends, you have an insane 360 degree view of the great northern Catskills!
Difficulty: Moderate – Hard
8-9 miles round trip.
Lake Minnewaska – New Paltz
This is a beautiful, easy trail that goes around the perimeter of a glacial lake. Not far from the town of New Paltz, it is easily accessible and has some spots with beautiful views of the Hudson Valley.
1.9 miles round trip