As popular as Catskill destinations like Kaaterskill Falls and the Blue Hole are, you can beat the crowds and explore the Catskills beyond those headline locations by stepping a bit off the beaten path. With this short guide we offer you information and choices for additional waterfall, walking, hiking and swimming options in the Catskills that help get you away from the crowds and into the Catskill Mountains. These resources should ensure an enjoyable visit to the Catskills and give you a chance to have your own Catskills adventure.


We carry three different trail maps, along with a number of different trail and hiking guidebooks for the Catskills in our online shop and at the Gift Shop in the Catskills Visitor Center. These maps provide information on over 400 miles of hiking trails in the Catskill Park and the information you'll need to navigate and explore scenic byways, trails and attractions.


The Catskills Visitor Center is the visitor center for the Catskill Park. Staff and volunteers are on hand to provide information on trails, recreation, local communities and more! The Visitor Center is home to the Catskills only fully accessible walking trail and offers the opportunity to walk and fish on the site. The Visitor Center is open daily and is located at 5096 Route 28 in the Village of Mount Tremper. Staff and volunteers at the Visitor Center are trained to help visitors plan their Catskill adventures, including hiking and mountain biking adventures in the park.


Visit Kaaterskill Falls and avoid the parking problems on Route 23A! The Kaaterskill Rail Trail (KRT) offers the opportunity for intimate views of Kaaterskill Falls along its 1.5 miles between Kaaterskill Falls and the Mountain Top Historical Society (MTHS) in Haines Falls. Offering a family-friendly, easy walk with views of Kaaterskill Falls without the crowds and without the parking difficulties, visitors should begin their walk at the MTHS campus. The MTHS has a visitor center that is open on weekends and plenty of free, legal, off-street parking available. From there, the KRT heads east towards Kaaterskill Falls. There are opportunities to explore the old railroad grade that the trail follows and there are views of Kaaterskill Clove and Kaaterskill Falls. Download the free trail map and guide for the KRT and surrounding trails.


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation maintains 8 public campgrounds on state land in the Catskill Park. The campgrounds offer a variety of camping options and facilities. The campgrounds often include beaches and swimming areas. 

New York State DEC Campgrounds


Catskill Fire Towers: Some of the five restored fire towers of the Catskill Park offer visitors of differing ability levels the opportunity for 360-degree views from the tops of mountains across the Catskills. Learn more at the Catskill Center's Catskill Fire Tower Project. Not every Fire Tower hike is easy, so be sure to download the trail map and guide before you go!

North & South Lake Campground Trails: For visitors in the northeastern Catskills, these trails are your best option overall as an alternative to Kaaterskill Falls and for finding amazing views. The trails feature views of Kaaterskill Clove and the Hudson Valley at a number of different viewpoints and vistas. Download a free guide to the trails of the region to explore the many miles of trails in this area. Be sure to walk at least some of the Escarpment Trail for the views that inspired the artists who created America's first school of landscape painting, the Hudson River School.

Onteora Lake Area: Located near Kingston on Route 28, the Onteora Lake area includes a large parking area, 3 easy loop hikes and lake-side picnic areas. 

Ashokan Reservoir: Located near Kingston and just south of Shokan off of Route 28. There is plenty of parking and a great easy walk on a hard packed/pave surface where you can walk, bike or push a stroller. Amazing views of the reservoir, the mountains and a great place to see a bald eagle!

Windham Path: The Windham Path offers an easy walk near the village of Windham just off Route 23. There’s plenty of parking and views of the surrounding mountains as you walk along the path.

Pratt Rock: Located in Prattsville, Pratt Rock is a hiking and picnicking destination with beautiful views of the Schoharie River Valley and historical stone carvings. Located on Route 23 in the Village of Prattsville. The stone carvings and views are at the end of an approximately 0.5 mile moderate hiking trail.

Catskill Scenic Trail: The 26 mile former railroad offers walkers, hikers, bikers and horseback riders the opportunity to experience the Catskills close up in a friendly, easy to walk way. Running between Roxbury and Bloomville in Delaware County, the trail is accessible in a number of locations along Routes 10, 23 and 30. 

Thorn Preserve: Located in the Town of Woodstock, the Catskill Center's 60-acre Thorn Preserve offers a number of walks in one of the most scenic areas of the Woodstock with tremendous views of Overlook Mountain.

Frick Pond Loop: This relatively easy 2.2 mile loop hike takes you around the shores of Frick Pond in the southeastern Catskills. Follow the Quick Lake Trail from Beech Mountain Trailhead in Livingston Manor, passing by the Loggers Loop Trail and crossing the outlet of Frick Pond on a bridge. At the intersection with the Big Rock trail, turn right following the Big Rock Trail to the Times Square trail junction where you will turn right once again and follow the Loggers Loop trail back to its intersection with the Quick Lake Trail. From there, turn left and follow the Quick Lake Trail back to the trailhead parking area.


North Lake Beach: Located in the North & South Lake State Campground, the North Lake Beach offers a beautiful swimming area surrounded by the mountains of the Catskills.

Platte Clove Preserve: Located at the head of Platte Clove, there is plenty of parking at the parking lot on Steenburgh Road. There’s a short road walk and then a short, easy hike down to Plattekill Falls, a beautiful 60-foot waterfall. Platte Clove Preserve is located at 2375 Platte Cove Road in Elka Park.

Colgate Lake: Colgate Lake is located in the Town of Jewett on Colgate Lake Road (County Route 78), which is off of County Route 23C. The lake offers public swimming and picnicking areas, along with the opportunity to paddle if you’ve brought a boat. The nearby Colgate Lake Trail offers a moderate 4.3 mile walk to Dutcher Notch while passing through fields, beaver meadows and beautiful forested areas.

Diamond Notch Falls: Located near the top of the Spruceton Valley, the 0.7 mile easy to moderate walk from the end of the Spruceton Road (County Route 6) ends where the West Kill Creek tumbles over Diamond Notch Falls. Along the way, the trail follows the West Kill Creek offering a number of areas to enjoy the scenery or take a swim in the many pools.


Colgate Lake Trail: There are miles of relatively flat wooded trails in the area, along with a very interesting beaver meadow with great views. To the beaver meadow and back is approximately 5 miles. Head further to explore Dutcher Notch and the Escarpment Trail.

Catskill Fire Towers: Each summer, thousands of people from all over the world visit the fire towers to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the Catskill Mountains. Volunteer interpreters welcome these visitors, sharing the history and lore of the fire towers and of the Catskill Mountains. Fire Towers are located on Hunter Mountain, Overlook Mountain, Balsam Lake Mountain, Red Hill and Tremper Mountain. Visit the Catskill Center's Fire Tower Project page for detailed maps for each of the five towers.

Acra point and Burnt Knob: A more challenging hike and more of a wilderness experience along the Escarpment Trail, this approximately 5 mile round trip hike features stiff climbs and great views of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. The trail begins on Big Hollow Road in Maplecrest.

Giant Ledge: A challenging, 3 mile roundtrip hike that offers some of the most incredible views in the Catskills. This is a very popular hiking destination and the parking lot fills up early on weekends. The hike is steep with some rocky scrambles and be sure to arrive early before the parking lot fills. The trailhead and parking area is located on Oliverea Road (County Route 47).

Indian Head Mountain: This very challenging 6.25 mile loop hike offers you the opportunity to climb one of the peaks of the world famous Devil's Path. The hike starts and ends at the trailhead parking area located on Prediger Road in Elka Park. Follow the Devil's Path from the trailhead to the Overlook Trail in the east. The Devil's Path then ascends Indian Head Mountain steeply and travels over its summit before descending to Jimmy Dolan Notch. From the notch, follow the Jimmy Dolan Notch trail down to its intersection with the Devil's Path and to the trailhead parking area.


Call the Catskills Visitor Center at 845-688-3369 or the Catskill Center at 845-586-2611. Email us at

We maintain a regularly updated Catskill Trail Conditions blog.

The NYSDEC maintains an information page on Catskill Backcountry Conditions.


Since 1969, the Catskill Center has led the effort to protect  the Catskills.  Our Mission is to protect and foster the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of the Catskill region. We operate and manage the Catskill Interpretive Center. Become a member or make a donation to the Catskill Center to support our work to preserve the Catskills and the Catskill Park!

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