Popular Catskills Hikes
The Most Popular Catskills Hiking Trails
These Catskills mountain hikes are beloved and often busy to the point of being beleaguered, especially at weekends. But they’re popular for a reason: most offer stunning scenic views from ledges or fire towers.
High Use Areas
Use this list to plan your visit — either to avoid known popular locations during busy times, or to visit them during off-peak hours, or on off-peak days.
On busy weekends, several high-use areas — e.g. Peekamoose Blue Hole, Kaaterskill Falls, Plattekill Clove — are staffed with specially trained Catskill Stewards. You may also come across forest rangers. Their collective job is to help preserve our wild lands, though we can all be stewards through our sensitive use of the outdoors.
Timing is Everything
If you’re desperate to get away from people, these are definitely not the hikes for you — at least not at peak hours on peak days. Friday / Saturday / Sunday will see many of their trailheads overflowing by 9am.
Tip 1: Choose well. I prefer to do these hikes mid-week, when most people are at work. Or I will hike them in the very early hours, in the dark, on my way to a summit sunrise.
Tip 2: Have an alternate hike in mind in case you need to switch to Plan B. Especially in 2020, during COVID times, trailheads seem twice as busy as they’ve ever been.
Tip 3: Leave No Trace. Carry out every single item you carry in. Leave zero trash, not even a single scrap of orange peel — it takes six months to decompose!