scenic sunset view from Pakatakan Mountain

18 Amazing Western Catskills Hikes

Some of the best day hikes are only a few hours from New York City. The Western Catskills have it all!

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fire tower shot from below

Catskills Fire Tower Challenge 2022

Everything you’ll need to complete the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge safely.

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rock outcop

Thru-Hike Doubletop, Graham & Balsam Lake

This hike really has it all: stream crossings, herd paths, bear prints, a canister, a memorably steep descent, a true bushwhack, a rugged ascent, an ice grotto, some old ruins and, to top it all off, a fire tower with amazing sunset views.

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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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trail junction

Trail Maintenance, Balsam Lake, Fall 2019

Finished my 2019 maintenance by tidying up a few things between the two junctions on the south side of Balsam Lake. When I first took on this trail section in the spring, it hadn’t been tended to in many years and was very overgrown.

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fire tower view across conifer forest

Graham Mountain & Balsam Lake Hiking Trail

This long day-hike combines Graham and a loop around Balsam Lake’s summit. Permission is required to hike on Graham Mountain.

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Hello, I’m Sean

I write independent hiking content to help hikers like you find amazing hikes in the Catskills, Adirondacks, Gunks, Hudson Highlands, Taconics and beyond.

On social media, I’m @TotalCatskills. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

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