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Best Hikes in the Catskills, Hudson Highlands, Adirondacks & More

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Hike The Mountains

Take a leisurely nature stroll (or cycle) along the scenic Ashokan Rail Trail, a premier Catskills destination.

This three-tiered best bug spray system keeps me (mostly!) bite free in New York’s backcountry every season

Giant Mountain is one of the most popular peaks in the Adirondacks. This route offers a super fun climb and a super scenic descent.

Storm King Mountain from Cornwall-on-Hudson has better parking and quieter trails — and you still get all the same incredible views.

I’ve just opened a YouTube channel. I’m jumping into video and learning how to swim, hopefully without drowning…

Have you ever turned around on a hike for any reason? Hike safely. Always listen to your gut.

I thought it’d be cute to quantify exactly how much more difficult the Adirondacks are over the Catskills. Do we need this information? No. Does this information feel important? Yes.

Want a deep Catskills experience without the angst of a rigorous mountain hike? These are the hikes for you.

After a steep mile, this hike up Plateau rewards with three great scenic lookouts — and then an easy walk across a stunningly wooded ridge.

This loop hike features easy riparian trail, then a steep climb to views of Mohonk and the Shawangunk Ridge, as well as stunning blueberry meadows and a plane wreck just feet from the trail’s edge.

This loop features an easy ascent, great Catskills views, and a beautiful walk-out that passes through varied woods and terrain.

Hiking News & Culture

YouTube Logo and Mountain Hiking Logo

YouTube Channel

I’ve just opened a YouTube channel. I’m jumping into video and learning how to swim, hopefully without drowning…

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mountain peaks

It’s Official: Adirondacks 23% Harder Than Catskills

I thought it’d be cute to quantify exactly how much more difficult the Adirondacks are over the Catskills. Do we need this information? No. Does this information feel important? Yes.

  Read ›

fire tower shot from below

Bramley Mountain Fire Tower (Kaatscast)

At Bramley Mountain, in the western Catskills, the fire tower was dismantled in the 1970s, but a local family has been keeping it safe in a nearby barn…

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sunrise with some clouds

Solar Eclipse 2021

Nothing beats watching the sun come up from a mountain summit — except maybe walking into the woods in the dead of night, alone, to catch an eclipse.

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Death at Kaaterskill Falls

A young man from Yonkers went missing April 24. His rented car was found April 30 at the main Laurel House Road parking lot. Later the same day, his body was recovered from the base of the falls.

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map of planned project

Proposed Hydroelectric Plant at Ashokan Reservoir Raises Concerns

Officials are urging local residents to participate in the process to determine if developers can move forward with an underground hydroelectric power station on the banks of the Ashokan Reservoir.

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Mountain Hiking Trails

The Best Hikes

These are the best mountain hikes in the Catskills, Taconics and Adirondacks.

fire tower and cabin

Catskills Fire Towers

Everything you need to know about the five classic Catskills towers — plus the newest (sixth) addition. Includes links to the gear and maps you’ll need to hike safely.

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catskill mountain view from overlook

Hike Balsam From Rider Hollow

A truly delightful Catskills hike. Climb Balsam Mountain by hiking up Mine Hollow and down Rider Hollow. One of the most picturesque hikes in the Catskills.

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Behind the Cave on Twin

Hike Sugarloaf & Twin from Roaring Kill

Any hike that includes Twin Mountain is a great hike. From either side, Twin offers some the funnest ascents in the Catskill Park. But the western side of Twin, with its steep talus field and a section of technical open rock face, is perhaps the toughest 0.7 mile you’ll hike on any Catskill trail.

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Giant Mountain seen at a distance

Giant Mountain

Giant Mountain is one of the most popular peaks in the Adirondacks. This route offers a super fun climb and a super scenic descent.

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scenice view of Blackhead Mountain

Hike Blackhead & Black Dome via Batavia Kill

This route crosses some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Catskill Mountains. I think this is the best route for hiking Blackhead.

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knoll and mountain from indian head

Indian Head Hiking Trail (Best Route)

Fantastic terrain, epic views, a beloved cliff ascent, a long boreal summit, a steep and rugged descent, and an easy walk out through beautiful woods — this is my absolute favorite single-mountain hike in the Catskills.

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Easy Mountain Hikes

Be aware that “easy mountain hikes” does not mean “easy hikes” — before you go, learn how to stay safe on a mountain.

Iced-up Kaaterskill Fals

Kaaterskill Rail Trail

This is a short, super-easy hike to one of the most popular Catskills destinations. It includes views not seen by those who park closer to the falls. It’s the perfect trail in winter for some easy snow-shoeing or cross country skiing.

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wooden cabin, two stories

Slabsides / John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary

Slabsides is the rustic two-story cabin hand-built by famous naturalist John Burroughs at the end of the 1800’s. It is preserved just as he left it, including its personal contents. A series of interconnected trails wind through woods, a swamp, past dramatic rock outcroppings and waterfalls, and alongside peaceful lakes. The terrain is rugged but the trails are appropriate for well-managed children.

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scenic looking

Hike Huntersfield via Ashland Pinnacle

Situated among some of the most bucolic land in New York State, this quiet trail over lush peaks makes for a rich, rewarding and restorative hike.

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ski lift

Cortina Ski Resort Ruins

A short, easy half-mile hike leads up to the very creepy ruins of an old abandoned Catskills ski resort. Bring a friend.

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pre-dawn mountain ridges

Overlook Mountain Trail

One of the most popular hikes in the Catskills can be completed in 2-3 hours. Overlook’s fire tower is 60 ft tall and is placed for one of the best views in the Catskills. An excellent view from a large ledge near the summit trail caps an insanely scenic hike.

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the cabin in woods

Balsam Lake Fire Tower

Even light snow cover turns Balsam Lake into a glittering winter wonderland. And it’s a cinch to hike. A cold fall morning is the perfect time to take in the fire tower’s incredible 360° view. Winter hikes to the tower are absolutely spectacular.

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  Moderate Hikes

orange canister affixed to tree trunk

Fir & Big Indian

This long hike mixes beautiful Catskills trails and fun water crossings with a long bushwhack section over two substantial mountain peaks.

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stream in snow

Hike Big Indian & Fir via Biscuit Brook

This was one of my earliest mountain hikes and by far my longest hike at the time. In the shin-deep snow, I found it extremely tiring. However, after another year in the hills, with much stronger legs, I would now class this as a moderate hike — which seems to suggest: one’s experience hiking depends on one’s hiking experience.

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rock ledge and tree

Alander from Bash Bish

This is a great hike if you crave solitude among mountain laurel and pitch pines, as well as interesting geology — but also enjoy solid scenic views! The parking area is the same lot used by visitors to Bash Bish Falls (which are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19).

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view of mountains with cloud inversion

Hike Cross Mountain from Woodland Valley

This moderate hike along quiet trail packs a punch: stunning forest, dramatic rock formations, and a spectacular panoramic scenic lookout.

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Denning Woods

Hike Table & Peekamoose from Denning

I was not prepared for how much I would fall in love with this hike. I’d heard both summits were low on scenic views so my plan was to just check both peaks off my 3500 list and move on. Wrong. So wrong. 100% dead-ass wrong.

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two painted blazes on tree trunk

Ginseng & Hayden: Quiet Northern Catskills

A very quiet and peaceful section of the Northern Catskill Escarpment / Long Path, free of Classic Catskills crowds.

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   Difficult Hikes

Blackhead from Black Dome

Hike Blackhead & Black Dome from Big Hollow via Lockwood Gap

An outstanding double-bill that combines an epic view of Black Dome from Blackhead with an epic view of Blackhead from Black Dome. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Catskills.

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Behind the Cave on Twin

Hike Sugarloaf & Twin from Roaring Kill

Any hike that includes Twin Mountain is a great hike. From either side, Twin offers some the funnest ascents in the Catskill Park. But the western side of Twin, with its steep talus field and a section of technical open rock face, is perhaps the toughest 0.7 mile you’ll hike on any Catskill trail.

  Read ›

boulder channel

Hike Sugarloaf from Roaring Kill, Clockwise

Pass through Dibble’s Quarry, rock-hop over a stream and around a beaver pond, make your way up to the col between Sugarloaf and Twin, and then head west over Sugarloaf’s enormous boreal summit — to a fantastic view of the Southern Catskills. Sugarloaf is a lot of mountain. An awesome lot.

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sunset over mountain peaks

Indian Head & Twin (Sunset Hike)

This is my favorite hike in the Catskills. It has everything the Catskills can give you: classic Catskills forests, rugged terrain, excellent scrambles, and jaw-dropping scenic views.

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large boulder protruding from mountain

Twin Mountain via Jimmy Dolan Notch

This quick ascent to a gorgeous two-peaked Catskill ridge includes a fun, tricky rock scramble — and one of the truly great views in the Catskill Park.

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green ski lift building in snow

Belleayre via Lost Clove

This challenging out and back begins with one of the steepest trails in the Catskills, passes over two sub-peaks and visits two lean-tos on the way to a ski resort with a scenic view.

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 Interactive Map of Hike Reports on this Site

The icons below are color-coded for difficulty: green, yellow, orange, red. Clicking on a pin will display the link to that hike report.

Recommended Reads

catskill mountains in distance

How Windy is Too Windy To Hike?

I moved my hike from a windy Friday to a less windy (but much colder) Saturday. 80% of my online followers agreed with me. Here’s why.

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the blacks

Where are the Catskill Mountains?

The Catskill Mountains are located in New York State, just south of Albany and just west of the Hudson River.

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Blackhead Range

The 3 Best Ways to Not Die on a Hike

Every month, people get into trouble in the Catskills, almost always because they are under-prepared. Here are the 3 best things you can do to stay safe on your hike, while making sure you’re prepared in the event of an emergency.

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screenshot of best hiking iphone apps

12 Best Hiking Apps

The best hiking apps broken into four categories: navigation/planning, field identification, photography, and fun. Whether you enjoy easy scenic trails or challenging mountain hikes, these apps will help you plan, plot and prepare for your next adventure.

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blue plastic brush cleaning dirt off bottom of dirty hiking hoot

PSA: Leave No Trace at the Trailhead

Step up your LNT game with this simple post-hike trick.

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standing desk with hiking gear storage underneath

Storage Bins for Hiking Gear

I sorted my growing jumble of hiking gear as a fun weekend project. With all my regular hike gear in a single box, I don’t have to worry I’m overlooking or forgetting anything. I spend less time preparing — which means more time doing.

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Wilderness Safety Basics

Planning Tips, Gear Lists, Emergency Numbers

Start safely, hike well, finish in one piece. Here’s everything you’ll need: your clothing, your gear, how to plan a safe hike in every season, the best apps, what to eat, what to bring. It’s all the advice, all in one place.

Stay Safe

The Best Mountain Hikes

The Very Best Hikes You Can Do in the Catskills, Taconics & Adirondacks

This list is a personally-curated selection of the most rewarding hikes you can do in the Catskills, Taconics and Adirondacks. Use this list to hike an awesome hike every week!

Best Hikes

The Catskills High Peaks

The Traditional List of Catskills Peaks Above 3500’

Most people start hiking the Catskills by climbing a few High Peaks: Indian Head, Slide Mountain & Balsam Lake are popular starting points. Here are the summits you’ll need to bag if you want to join the 3500 Club.

Catskill High Peaks

Or Start Here…

With hundreds of miles of hiking trails and countless bushwhack routes, there are so many ways to hike the mountains. I can’t make new peaks, but I do add new hikes regularly…

Apart from the Classic Catskills High Peaks and the Best Catskill Hikes, you can also view lists of Popular Catskills Hikes and Scenic Catskills Hikes.

If you’re just starting out, check out the Easy Hikes list.

If you have kids in tow, these Kid-Friendly Hikes will give you plenty of great options.

For anyone new to hiking, Nature Walks are a great way to get a deep dose of forest magic without much uphill effort.

Finally, you can view a simple but complete list of all the Catskills peaks I’ve hiked, with all their associated hikes. (The Taconics and Adirondacks lists are small right now, but growing.)

Best Hikes in the Catskills, Hudson Highlands, Adirondacks, Taconics, and more…

This website’s 12 most recent posts in reverse-chronological order

YouTube Channel

I’ve just opened a YouTube channel. I’m jumping into video and learning how to swim, hopefully without drowning…

Ashokan Rail Trail

Take a leisurely nature stroll (or cycle) along the scenic Ashokan Rail Trail, a premier Catskills destination.

Best Bug Spray & Bug Repellent

This three-tiered best bug spray system keeps me (mostly!) bite free in New York’s backcountry every season

Turn Around Every Now & Then

Have you ever turned around on a hike for any reason? Hike safely. Always listen to your gut.

Walk Through Mud

Here are three great reasons to always walk directly down the middle of every trail, and especially through any mud puddles or water you find on the trail.

It’s Official: Adirondacks 23% Harder Than Catskills

I thought it’d be cute to quantify exactly how much more difficult the Adirondacks are over the Catskills. Do we need this information? No. Does this information feel important? Yes.

Giant Mountain

Giant Mountain is one of the most popular peaks in the Adirondacks. This route offers a super fun climb and a super scenic descent.

Bramley Mountain Fire Tower (Kaatscast)

At Bramley Mountain, in the western Catskills, the fire tower was dismantled in the 1970s, but a local family has been keeping it safe in a nearby barn…

6 Easy Catskills Hikes

Want a deep Catskills experience without the angst of a rigorous mountain hike? These are the hikes for you.

What to Pack: The 10 Essentials

The ten essentials is a list of items you should carry on every trip into the backcountry. This essential gear can keep you safe and on track. In an emergency, it might save your life.

Solar Eclipse 2021

Nothing beats watching the sun come up from a mountain summit — except maybe walking into the woods in the dead of night, alone, to catch an eclipse.

Best Hiking Boots 2021

If you’re looking for a new pair of hiking boots, this list of hiking boot brands and models will get you started with great recommendations.

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