Catskill Park

Photo

View from Huckleberry Point in the Catskills. Photo by Georgette Weir.

Map


View Catskill Park in a larger map

Park Overview:

Thirty-five peaks and ridges in the Catskills have elevations of 3,500 feet or more; 19 of them have maintained trails to their summits.  Hundreds of miles of trails of all degrees of difficulty invite the hiker to this varied and delightful area.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, Bridle path, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs off leash
Trail Miles:303 miles
Park Acreage:292000 acres
City/County/
State:
Various towns,
Greene/Sullivan/Delaware/Ul
ster/NY
Buy Trail Map:Catskill Trails Map Set - Maps for Hiking the Catskills
Buy Book:Catskill Day Hikes for All Seasons

Park Description:

Trail Alerts

Click here to find trail alerts and updates for the Catskills.

North of the more familiar metropolitan hiking areas are the Catskills, whose high summits and steep climbs can provide especially rewarding hiking.  The paved roads through the mountains are well populated with hotels, bed-and-breakfast establishments, and private homes, but the higher, more rugged and remote parts of these mountains are unspoiled.  From the summits and other vantage points, the views are magnificent.  To the east, The Hudson River valley is spread out against a backdrop of New England hills, and in all directions lie the fir-topped peaks of the Catskills themselves, with little or no sign of human intrusion.

Thirty-five peaks and ridges in the Catskills have elevations of 3,500 feet or more; 19 of them have maintained trails to their summits.  Hunter and Slide Mountains reach 4,000 feet in elevation.

Hundreds of miles of trails of all degrees of difficulty invite the hiker to this varied and delightful area.  Although a great deal of the forest land in the Catskills can be explored using marked trails, hikers can find out what the wilderness is really like only by "getting off the beaten path."  Trailless travel, or bushwhacking, often leads to interesting discoveries - a little-known waterfall, a balanced rock, or one of the remains of the mountain industries of the last century.  Best of all, bushwhacking heightens the hiker's awareness of the environment.

  • Some of the trailless Catskill summits, such as Rocky or Balsam Cap, are thickly overgrown with spruce, making bushwhacking a physically demanding endeavor.  Others, such as Halcott or Vly, are relatively open.  All hikers - but especially those who plan to bushwhack - should let someone know where they are going before setting out, and their expected time of return.

Keep yourself informed about the latest Catskill news and trails opportunities by visiting the Catskill Trail News and Programs Page.

The Catskill Forest Preserve is comprised of state-owned lands within the "Blue Line" boundary of the Catskills region. The Preserve contains numerous wild forests, wilderness areas and campgrounds managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC].   Many New York City watershed lands in the Catskills, managed by the NYCDEP, are open for hiking and boating.  The Catskill Mountain Club provides a helpful overview with links to the NYCDEP site.

Trails Overview:

Catskill Park described on this page is not actually a single park but consists of public and private lands in the Catskills region open to hikers.  This website subdivides the Catskills according to geographical location based on the Trail Conference “Catskill Trails” map set (link near top of page). 

Each of these provides a description of the sub-region, trails overview, and directions.

Trails in the Catskills are marked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC] plastic markers nailed to trees - blue for trails that run generally north-south, red for trails running east-west, and yellow for connecting trails or trails running diagonally.

Click to see a larger version of this map overview image.

The Long Path (aqua blaze) traverses the Catskill Park in a north-south direction for 94 miles,

Looking for a hike in the Catskills?

Directions:

Available on the Catskill sub-region pages linked above

Contact Information:NYS, Department of Environmental Conservation
845-256-3082
Region:Catskills
Fees:None

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

German Hollow Lean-to Crushed by Fallen Trees

Doug Senterman, volunteer supervisor of lean-tos in the Catskills for the Trail Conference reports on Feb. 23, 2010:

Some time over the winter (likely in the Jan. rain/wind storm) not just one but six trees came down and crushed the German Hollow Lean-to and it has been completely destroyed! The lean-to can not be used in it current condition and is dangerous to go around due to all the splintered wood and metal from the roof so please spread the word that it is gone and should be avoided.

Devil's Path

Excerpt the NYT "Escapes" page:

New York Times, Stephen Regenold, "2 Days, 3 Nights, on a Path Named for a Devil," September 25, 2009.

"NIGHTFALL came after the rain had stopped, and in the wet woods columns of fog twisted around dripping trees. It was 10 p.m. on a summer Friday, the forest moonless and still at the trailhead to the Devil's Path.

An opening in the woods off the parking lot looked like a dark door. Beyond, a small trail edged into the night, its route unseen. The Devil's Path, an east-to-west voyage along the spine of the Catskills, is often cited as the toughest hiking trail in the East. In 25 miles it ascends six major peaks, plunging into deep valleys between climbs.

‘From end to end the Devil's Path is one of the more challenging trails around,' said Josh Howard, a director at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, which publishes detailed maps of area trails, including the Devil's Path.

Backpackers hoping to complete the route face a total climb and descent of more than 14,000 feet. Steep ascents include cliff bands and traverse terrain that is vertical enough at times to be confused with a mountain climb.

‘It's straight up and straight down, and then you do it over again,' said Mr. Howard, 33, who once hiked the entire trail in a one-day feat of endurance.

Most backpacking groups commit three days of hiking to complete the route, according to the trail conference. Backpackers can camp in lean-tos along the way and purify water from streams."    

For the rest of the article, click on this link to the NYT.