Hiking The Catskill Mountains

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    Feb 28, 2014
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Twin Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain from Platte Clove Road in Catskill Mountains
Twin Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain from Platte Clove Road in Catskill Mountains
Photo by MiguelVieira

When a vacation or getaway is planned for the Catskill Mountains, it is important to consider that hiking is one of the biggest tourist draws for the area. There is no greater feeling than hiking to the top of a mountain and enjoying the view from way up high. Among the most important things to consider are hiking skill levels, which will be discussed in this article. Thankfully, the Catskill Mountains have hiking trails suited for all levels of hiking abilities. This makes it the perfect place for just about anyone looking for a hiking getaway or hiking vacation.

Lake Region

Let’s start with the trails located in the North/South Lake Region. The most visited, and one of the easiest trail is the Kaaterskill Falls trail. It is about a mile and takes one to two hours. For the most spectacular view of the falls, try hiking after a large rain storm. More water equals more volume in that waterfall! Katerskill Falls is a 260 foot two tier waterfall that is the biggest waterfall in New York State. Another hike in this area include Escarpment trail which has many spectacular ledges and is also an easy hike. This area includes many other historical and easy hikes.

Indian Head Mountain Range

For those looking for one of the most difficult hiking areas in the world, there is the Indian Head Mountain Range. This range includes several large peaks, and the Devil’s Path, which is one of the most difficult hiking paths in the world. Indian Head Mountain, Twin Mountain, and Sugarloaf Mountain all boast hiking ratings of difficult to very difficult and are all a part of Devil’s Path. Overlook Mountain, Plattekill Mountain, and Echo Lake are all in this area as well and have easy hiking paths for those with a mixed group or looking to access all skill levels.

Slide Mountain Wilderness Area

The Slide Mountain Wilderness area is another popular area because it boasts the highest peak in the region, the Slide Mountain (4180 feet). It is a moderately difficult hike that usually takes about 4 hours. In this area there is also the Lone Mountain, Rocky Mountain, Table Mountain, and Peekamoose Mountain. These are moderate to difficult hikes with the best views being from the Peekamoose and Table Mountains.

Hunter West Kill Wilderness

For an area with mostly moderate climbs, the Hunter West Kill Wilderness area is a wise choice. This was the first area of New York State to be acquired for a Forest Park in 1874. It has several mountain hiking paths for the middle of the road type hiker. The West Kill Mountain is the only difficult hike in this area, but it also boasts one of the best scenic views as well. It has two vantage points from which to view the vistas.

The Catskills has bragging rights for fifty mountain peaks that are over 3400 feet in elevation. These peaks are called the “Catskill High Peaks.”If you are lucky enough to be able to climb all the mountains peaks that are over 3500 ft, you get to be a part of the Catskill 3500 club. Many hikers will not be able to join this club, but it is something to consider for those looking to achieve certain hiking goals.

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Overall, the Catskill Resorts offer a wide variety of hiking trails for any skill level of hiker. Hikers can choose from trails in state parks, private preserves, wildlife preserves, and specifically assigned scenic trails. The great variety of scenes, difficulties, and elevations, make this an exciting getaway for anyone who has a joy of hiking.

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