Catfish Loop Trail


This loop hike traverses a remote area of the park, reaching an interesting rock formation with broad west-facing views and passing many old stone walls.

3.5 hours
Easy to Moderate
4.9 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
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Daniel Chazin


Many stone walls are passed on this hike. Photo: Daniel Chazin


View Catfish Trail parking in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its northern terminus at the Bear Mountain Bridge. Cross the bridge and proceed north on N.Y. Route 9D for 8.0 miles to Peekskill Road at the southern end of Cold Spring (just beyond the Boscobel Restoration). Turn right and follow Peekskill Road for 0.5 mile to its terminus at a junction with N.Y. Route 301, then turn right and follow Route 301 for 4.6 miles to its intersection with Dennytown Road. Turn right onto Dennytown Road and continue for 1.2 miles to a large dirt parking area on the left side of the road.


This hike follows the 4.9-mile-long Catfish Loop Trail, which loops around the southwest corner of Fahnestock State Park. 

On the west side of Dennytown Road, just south of the parking area, you will see a sign for the Catfish Loop Trail. Head west into the woods on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. In a short distance, you’ll reach an intersection with the red-blazed Catfish Loop Trail. Turn left to follow the Catfish Loop Trail in the clockwise direction.

Stone walls along the Catfish Loop Trail with the Hudson Highlands visible. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

The Catfish Loop Trail immediately crosses a stone wall. You’ll observe many stone walls – which indicate that the area was once used for agricultural purposes – along the hike. In a quarter mile, the trail turns sharply right and crosses a stream. After crossing another stream, the trail begins a steady climb. At the crest of the rise, it passes through a mountain laurel thicket. The trail then descends to cross yet another stream, and it follows the park boundary (marked by “posted” signs to the left of the trail) for some distance. Soon, it reaches the highest point on this section of the ridge, which is marked by a cairn.

After a relatively level stretch, the Catfish Loop Trail crosses the white-blazed A.T. (this junction is also marked by a cairn). The trail now proceeds through mountain laurel thickets and soon begins a steady descent to cross a woods road (blazed yellow as a horse trail). It continues to descend and, in a short distance, crosses a stream on rocks.

The trail now climbs gradually to the most interesting point on the hike, where it goes through a narrow Catfish Loop Trail going through narrow rock passage. Photo by Daniel Chazin.passage between large lichen-covered boulders. From the top of the boulders, there is a panoramic west-facing view, with Crows Nest and Storm King Mountains visible on the west side of the Hudson River. You’ve now hiked for about two miles, and this attractive spot Is a good place to take a break.

Continue ahead on the Catfish Loop Trail, which descends through mountain laurel, climbs a rock outcrop, then descends steeply. The trail crosses several more rock outcrops and passes through dense mountain laurel thickets. After going by a cliff to the left, the trail bends sharply to the right and begins to head north on a relatively level footpath through mountain laurel.

After crossing a small stream, the trail climbs to a ridge overlooking a valley to the left. It descends a little to cross a wider stream, then goes through a gap in a stone wall and climbs again to a rock outcrop that overlooks the valley. You’ll notice an abundance of rock walls near the trail in this area, and it is hard to believe that this land that appears so inhospitable to settlement was once devoted to agricultural pursuits. In leaf-off season, there are several limited west-facing viewpoints along this section of the trail, with the West Hudson Highlands visible in the distance.

Stone wall along the Catfish Loop Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.Soon, the trail begins to parallel a stone wall on the left, which marks the park boundary (note the “posted” signs on the opposite side of the wall). After a while, the blazes bear right, away from the wall. A short distance beyond, the trail crosses a stream and continues through dense mountain laurel thickets. It climbs gradually to a rock outcrop from which Duck Pond is visible through the trees to the left. Just north of this outcrop, the trail makes a very sharp bend and nearly doubles back on itself, heading south and then east. Soon, it reaches a large rock outcrop with a view of the valley below to the left.

From the outcrop, the Catfish Loop Trail descends steeply to the valley below, where it crosses a wide stream on rocks. After going over a minor rise, the trail begins a steep, steady climb of about 150 vertical feet. Upon reaching the crest of the ridge, the trail goes down a little, regains the lost altitude and levels off, heading north along the west side of the ridge.

After bending to the right, the Catfish Loop Trail crosses a yellow-blazed woods road – the same horse trail that you crossed earlier in the hike. The trail now climbs briefly to a rock outcrop, descends steadily through the woods, and climbs once more to reach a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail – completing the loop. Follow the Appalachian Trail uphill to Dennytown Road and the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Peaceful hike!

Did this hike on Monday and it was peaceful and easy to follow. Can't say anything bad about this hike! When you get to Dennytown Rd, don't turn into the first parking lot like I did. Go down the road a bit and you will then be at the correct parking area.

Parking Lot

The directions/notes for the hike should read that after your turn onto Dennytown Road, continue until you reach the second dirt parking on the left, the one with the large kiosk. :) I went in that first one also and then kind of figured it was not the right one. 

Excellent Thought Clearing Hike

I've done many hikes, but this one was one of the most peaceful that I have done in a while.  There is practically no chance of loosing your place on this trail, just follow the red blazes start to finish.   It really does wonders for just letting go and enjoying the hike without having to worry whether you missed a blaze or if you where supposed to switch trails.   The fall foliage is amazing and the addded snow shower in the middle of the hike made it that much better.  I would definitely reccomend this hike for anyone who wants to experience peace and quiet, is a first time hiker(the terrain is easy, just a few moderate parts) or just wants to tone it down from all those strenous hikes this season.

Hike description requires updating

On the most current version of Map # 103 of the East Hudson Trails map set, published this year, the red-blazed Catfish Loop Trail only exists west of Dennytown Rd., so the 1st two paragraphs of the current hike description no longer make sense.  Similarly, the blue-blazed 3 Lakes Trail now begins and ends east of Dennytown Rd., so it should not be included in the loop as described.  Essentially, the hike should now begin by crossing Dennytown Rd. and picking up the AT, and then doing the entire Catfish Loop trail in either direction. That said, thanks as always to Daniel Chazin and everyone at the Trail Conference for these wonderful hike descriptions, trail work, and advocacy!

Hike description has been corrected

Thanks for pointing out the trail changes that are shown on the new 2014 edition of East Hudson Trails Map 103.  The hike description has been updated to reflect the revised configuration of the trails in the area.


...for the update!

Catfish Loop Trail to Moneyhole Mountain Trail

The southernmost point of the Catfish Loop trail comes within a few meters of the yellow Moneyhole Mountain Trail.  I would like to follow the Moneyhole Mountain trail north to Indian Brook Road.  However going north on the Moneyhole Mountain Trail there are no trespassing and "members only" signs on both sides of the trail.    Is it OK to pass through as long as one stays on the trail - I assume it is since it is a marked trail and is on the official park map.  If so, why the no trespassing signs?   Any clarification would be apprreciated.


This is a serene hike, rambling through light forest, with a handful of interesting rocky areas along the way. The views from a few vantage points would be better when the leaves are down. Trails are well marked, and the hike is well described in the description. (Note to moderator: the Catfish Loop Trail Register book/log is FULL.)