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15 Must-Experience Hikes in Catskills for Trailblazing Adventures

15 Must-Experience Hikes in Catskills for Trailblazing Adventures

By Sometime Traveller

Are you looking for fantastic hikes in Catskills that will take your breath away? Do you want to explore the stunning natural beauty of this region, from lush forests and waterfalls to rugged mountains and valleys? Do you want to challenge yourself with some of the most rewarding trails in New York State? You are in luck if you answered yes to any of these questions! 

This blog post will share 15 must-experience hikes in Catskills that will make you feel like a trailblazing adventurer. Whether a beginner or an expert, you will find something to suit your taste and skill level among these easy Catskill hikes. So, grab your hiking boots, pack your snacks and water, and prepare for unforgettable adventures outdoors. Here are the best hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

Here are List of the Best Hikes in Catskills

#1: Kaaterskill Falls Trail

One of the most popular and scenic hikes in Catskills is the Kaaterskill Falls Trail. This trail leads you to the highest two-tiered waterfall in New York State, with a total drop of 260 feet. 

The trail is about 2.6 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 787 feet. It is rated moderate but slippery and steep in some sections, so be careful and wear proper footwear. 

The trail starts from the Laurel House Road parking area and follows the yellow-blazed Escarpment Trail to the top of the falls. From there, you can enjoy the spectacular views of the waterfall and the surrounding valley. 

You can also descend to the base of the falls via the blue-blazed Kaaterskill Falls Trail, but be aware that this is a very steep and rocky descent that requires caution and skill. The Kaaterskill Falls Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

#2: Overlook Mountain Trail

If you are looking for a hike that combines history, nature, and panoramic views, then the Overlook Mountain Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 4.6 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,400 feet. It is rated moderate but primarily uphill and can be strenuous for some hikers. 

The trail starts from the Meads Mountain Road parking area and follows the red-blazed Overlook Spur Trail to the summit of Overlook Mountain. Along the way, you will pass by the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House, a grand hotel built in the late 1800s and burned down in the 1930s. You can explore the hotel’s remains and imagine what it was like in its heyday. 

Once you reach the summit, you can climb the fire tower and enjoy the stunning views of the Hudson Valley, the Ashokan Reservoir, and the Catskill Mountains. You can also visit the nearby Buddhist monastery and see the giant stone Buddha statue. The Overlook Mountain Trail is one of the most exciting and rewarding hikes in Catskills that you should try.

#3: Indian Head and Twin Mountain Loop

If you are looking for a hike that will test your endurance and skills, then the Indian Head and Twin Mountain Loop is the one for you. This trail is about 8.4 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 2,821 feet. It is rated as hard and not recommended for beginners or inexperienced hikers. 

The trail starts from the Prediger Road parking area and follows the blue-blazed Jimmy Dolan Notch Trail to the notch between Indian Head and Twin Mountain. From there, you can take the red-blazed Devil’s Path to the summits of both mountains. Along the way, you will encounter steep ascents and descents, rocky scrambles, and narrow ledges. 

You will also enjoy the fantastic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, especially from the ledges on Indian Head and the cliffs on Twin Mountain. The Indian Head and Twin Mountain Loop is one of the most challenging and exhilarating hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

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#4: Hunter Mountain and Fire Tower Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to the second-highest peak in the Catskills, then the Hunter Mountain and Fire Tower Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 9 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 2,027 feet. It is rated moderate but can be long and tiring for some hikers. 

The trail starts from the Spruceton Road parking area and follows the blue-blazed Spruceton Trail to the summit of Hunter Mountain. Along the way, you will pass by the John Robb lean-to, where you can take a break and sign the trail register. Once you reach the summit, you can climb the fire tower and enjoy the panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson Valley, and the Berkshires. 

You can also visit the nearby Hunter Mountain summit shelter, where you can find a plaque commemorating John Burroughs, a famous naturalist and writer who loved the Catskills. The Hunter Mountain and Fire Tower Trail is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable hikes in Catskills that you should try.

#5: Slide Mountain Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to the highest peak in the Catskills, then the Slide Mountain Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 6.7 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,788 feet. It is rated moderate but steep and rocky in some sections, so be prepared and wear proper footwear. 

The trail starts from the Slide Mountain parking area and follows the yellow-blazed Phoenicia-East Branch Trail to the junction with the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail. From there, you can take the Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail to the summit of Slide Mountain. Along the way, you will pass by the Curtis-Ormsbee lean-to, where you can find a memorial plaque for two hikers who died in a blizzard on Slide Mountain in 1903. 

You can also enjoy the views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, especially from the lookout point near the summit. The Slide Mountain Trail is one of the most iconic and impressive hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

#6: Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will give you some of the best views in the Catskills, then the Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 6.3 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,926 feet. It is rated moderate but can be steep and slippery in some sections, so be careful and wear proper footwear. 

The trail starts from the Giant Ledge parking area and follows the yellow-blazed Phoenicia-East Branch Trail to the junction with the blue-blazed Giant Ledge-Panther-Fox Hollow Trail. You can take the Giant Ledge-Panther-Fox Hollow Trail to the Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain. Along the way, you will pass by several ledges that offer stunning views of the Catskill Mountains, the Ashokan Reservoir, and the Hudson Valley. 

You can also continue to the summit of Panther Mountain, which is one of the 35 peaks in the Catskills that are over 3,500 feet high. The Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail is one of the most scenic and spectacular hikes in Catskills that you should try.

#7: Balsam Lake Mountain and Fire Tower Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the oldest fire towers in the Catskills, then the Balsam Lake Mountain and Fire Tower Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 5.3 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,194 feet. It is rated moderate but can be muddy and buggy in some sections, so be prepared and wear proper clothing. 

The trail starts from the Dry Brook Ridge Trailhead and follows the red-blazed Dry Brook Ridge Trail to the junction with the blue-blazed Balsam Lake Mountain Trail. From there, you can take the Balsam Lake Mountain Trail to the summit of Balsam Lake Mountain. Along the way, you will pass by the Balsam Lake Mountain lean-to, where you can take a break and enjoy the views. Once you reach the summit, you can climb the fire tower and enjoy the panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains, the Pepacton Reservoir, and the Delaware River Valley. 

You can also visit the nearby ranger cabin to find historical information and exhibits about the fire tower. The Balsam Lake Mountain and Fire Tower Trail is one of the most historical and fascinating hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

#8: Huckleberry Point Trail

If you are looking for a hike that is easy, family-friendly and offers excellent views, then the Huckleberry Point Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 4.5 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 944 feet. It is rated as easy but can be rocky and narrow in some sections, so be careful and watch your step. 

The trail starts from the Platte Clove Road parking area and follows the blue-blazed Long Path to the junction with the yellow-blazed Huckleberry Point Trail. From there, you can take the Huckleberry Point Trail to the Huckleberry Point, a rocky outcrop that offers stunning views of the Platte Clove Valley, the Kaaterskill High Peak, and the Hudson River. 

You can also enjoy the wildflowers, berries, and birds along the way. The Huckleberry Point Trail is one of the most delightful and easy Catskill hikes you should try.

#9: North Point Loop Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the best viewpoints in the Catskills, then the North Point Loop Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 4.8 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,371 feet. It is rated moderate but can be steep and exposed in some sections, so be prepared and wear proper clothing. 

The trail starts from the North-South Lake Campground parking area and follows the blue-blazed Escarpment Trail to the yellow-blazed Mary’s Glen Trail junction. From there, you can take the Mary’s Glen Trail to the North Point, a rocky ledge that offers breathtaking views of the North-South Lake, the Kaaterskill Clove, and the Catskill Mountains. 

You can also see the Kaaterskill Falls from a distance. You can also visit the nearby Ashley Falls, a small but charming waterfall that flows into the North-South Lake. The North Point Loop Trail is one of the most spectacular and enjoyable hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

#10: Windham High Peak Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the 35 Catskills peaks over 3,500 feet high, then the Windham High Peak Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 6.4 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,699 feet. It is rated as moderate but can be windy and cold at the summit, so be prepared and wear proper clothing. 

The trail starts from the Peck Road parking area and follows the yellow-blazed Elm Ridge Trail to the junction with the blue-blazed Escarpment Trail. From there, you can take the Escarpment Trail to the summit of Windham High Peak. Along the way, you will pass by the Elm Ridge lean-to, where you can take a break and enjoy the views. Once you reach the summit, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson Valley, and the Schoharie Valley. 

The Windham ski resort and the Batavia Kill Valley from the summit can also be seen. The Windham High Peak Trail is one of the most rewarding and impressive hikes in Catskills that you should try.

#11: Bonticou Crag Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will give you some of the best views in the Shawangunk Mountains, then the Bonticou Crag Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 3.5 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 590 feet. It is rated moderate but can be very steep and challenging in some sections, especially the final scramble to the top of the crag, so be careful and wear proper footwear. 

The trail starts from the Spring Farm Trailhead parking area and follows the red-blazed Crag Trail to the junction with the yellow-blazed Bonticou Ascent Path. From there, you can take the Bonticou Ascent Path to the Bonticou Crag, a massive rock formation that offers stunning views of the Shawangunk Ridge, the Catskill Mountains, and the Hudson Valley. 

You can also enjoy the wildflowers, birds, and butterflies along the way. The Bonticou Crag Trail is one of the most adventurous and scenic hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

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#12: Gertrude’s Nose Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the most spectacular rock formations in the Shawangunk Mountains, then Gertrude’s Nose Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 6.6 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,171 feet. It is rated moderate but can be very rocky and exposed in some sections, so be prepared and wear proper clothing. 

The trail starts from the Minnewaska State Park Preserve parking area and follows the red-blazed Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road to the yellow-blazed Gertrude’s Nose Trail junction. From there, you can take the Gertrude’s Nose Trail to the Gertrude’s Nose, a prominent rock outcrop that offers fantastic views of the Shawangunk Ridge, the Catskill Mountains, and the Hudson Valley. 

You can also see Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting from the trail. You can also visit the nearby Patterson’s Pellet, a small but beautiful waterfall that flows into the Palmaghatt Ravine. The Gertrude’s Nose Trail is one of the most stunning and enjoyable hikes in Catskills that you should try.

#13: Sam’s Point and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the highest points and waterfalls in the Shawangunk Mountains, then the Sam’s Point and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail are the one for you. 

This trail is about 8.2 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 1,614 feet. It is rated moderate but can be very hot and dry in some sections, so be prepared and bring plenty of water. 

The trail starts from the Sam’s Point Preserve parking area and follows the blue-blazed Loop Road to Sam’s Point, a rocky ledge that offers spectacular views of the Shawangunk Ridge, the Catskill Mountains, and the Hudson Valley. You can also see the Ice Caves, a series of crevices and caves that retain ice and snow throughout the year. From there, you can take the yellow-blazed High Point Carriage Road to the junction with the aqua-blazed Long Path. From there, you can take the Long Path to the Verkeerderkill Falls, a 187-foot waterfall that plunges into a deep gorge. 

You can also enjoy the wildflowers, berries, and birds along the way. The Sam’s Point and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail is one of the most diverse and impressive hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

#14: Sugarloaf Mountain Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the most challenging and rewarding peaks in the Catskills, then the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 6.8 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 2,552 feet. It is rated as hard and not recommended for beginners or inexperienced hikers. 

The trail starts from the Roaring Kill Road parking area and follows the blue-blazed Mink Hollow Trail to the red-blazed Devil’s Path junction. From there, you can take the Devil’s Path to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Along the way, you will encounter steep ascents and descents, rocky scrambles, and narrow ledges. 

You will also enjoy the fantastic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, especially from the lookout point near the summit. The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail is one of the most challenging and exhilarating hikes in Catskills that you should not miss.

#15: Wittenberg Mountain Trail

If you are looking for a hike that will take you to one of the best viewpoints in the Catskills, then the Wittenberg Mountain Trail is the one for you. This trail is about 7.8 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 2,382 feet. It is rated as moderate but can be steep and rocky in some sections, so be careful and wear proper footwear. 

The trail starts from the Woodland Valley Campground parking area and follows the red-blazed Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail to the summit of Wittenberg Mountain. Along the way, you will pass the Woodland Valley lean-to, where you can take a break and enjoy the views. Once you reach the summit, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains, the Ashokan Reservoir, and the Hudson Valley. 

You can also see the Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills, from the summit. The Wittenberg Mountain Trail is one of the most scenic and rewarding hikes in Catskills that you should try.

Conclusion

The Catskills are a hiker’s paradise, with hundreds of trails to choose from, ranging from easy to challenging, from short to long, from gentle to steep, from wooded to exposed, from scenic to spectacular. Whether you are looking for a relaxing stroll, a challenging climb, or a stunning view, you will find it in the Catskills. 

These 15 hikes in Catskills are some of the best ones you should experience at least once. They will give you a taste of the beauty, diversity, and adventure the Catskills offer. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking gear, pick a trail, and prepare for some trailblazing adventures in the Catskills. You will not regret it. Happy hiking!

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