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 this insanely scenic hike.
This brand new trail is un-blazed but it’s based on old roads and logging trails so it’s easy to follow. Although it’s short, it’s steep, and there are three unmarked turns along the way. I’ve included key photos in the post, and all major waypoints are included in the GPS track, which you can download.
This beautiful, serene and contemplative nature walk has so much to recommend it: lovely quiet woods of mixed evergreen and deciduous trees, easy stream crossings over delightful footbridges, dozens of stone fences built by settlers, small quarries and exposed rock faces, as well as fine field of glacial erratics.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to experience the Catskills. The lowlands have so much to offer. Sloan Gorge Preserve is a great example: an absolutely delightful, short, and family-friendly nature walk.
This kid-friendly nature trail winds through mature hemlock, spruce, and red/white pine woods between Ticetonyk Mountain and Mt Tobias. There are views of Wittenberg and Cornell, and the campground amenities are top notch.
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 short interconnected trails wind through hemlock-heavy woods and a swamp, past dramatic rock outcroppings and magical waterfalls, and alongside peaceful lakes. The terrain is rugged but the trails are appropriate for well-managed children.
Just a 10 minute drive from both Kingston and Woodstock, Onteora Lake is a fantastic set of three interconnected loop trails that are perfect for a hit of the real Catskills. Its lake, ponds, streams, trails, old quarries, hemlock and oak forests on gently rolling hills — with occasional cliffs — are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and cross-country skiing.
Mountain hikes are not easy hikes
One of the simplest things you need to know about any hike is: how long will it take? Knowing a planned hike’s duration is crucial to being able to figure out what to bring in terms of safety supplies, water and food.
The Ashokan Quarry Trail is a new, short, but highly entertaining hike most people will be able to do in under an hour. It’s so varied in terms of terrain, flora, views and ruins, it’s a hit with younger hikers, too.
I didn’t think too much of Halcott when I did it last spring, but this hike changed my mind. There’s a lot to see: the woods are spectacular, the ravines are beautiful and, at sunset, the summit is a Catskill photographer’s dream.