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Where are the Catskills?
The Catskill Mountains are located in New York State, just south of Albany and just west of the Hudson River.
The range sits mostly inside the Catskill Park which consists of 700,000 acres of constitutionally protected land marked by a blue line boundary that spans four counties: Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, and Ulster.
Enjoy these Catskill Mountains facts…
How Many Mountains are in The Catskills?
There are over 100 peaks in The Catskills, with 35 or so peaks having summits above 3500 feet in elevation.
Two of those summits are above 4000 foot in elevation:
- Hunter Mountain — famous for its fire tower and top notch ski resorts
- Slide Mountain — the tallest Catskill mountain
The Eastern Catskills are higher in elevation, rising sharply and ruggedly from the flat Hudson Valley to their east. The range lowers and flattens as it spreads westward into the Allegheny Plateau.
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Are the Catskills Part of the Appalachian Mountains?
Yes, The Catskill Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains.
Are The Catskills Mountains Actually Mountains?
No. The Catskill mountains are not actually mountains!
The Catskills range is, in fact, a massive dissected plateau. Many of the “valleys” are cloves — enormous gorges, ground out of the rock-bed by glaciers and ice-water.
Are the Catskills Dangerous?
The Catskills are rugged. Much of the area is designated wilderness. One of our trails, the Devil’s Path, is notoriously difficult.
Any mountain hike has its dangers. In The Catskills, there are many rescue operations per year, mostly for lost or injured hikers. Sometimes — maybe once a year on average — a body is recovered.
Search & Rescue operations are almost always conducted due to lack of preparation, poor gear and skills. Mostly it’s casual day-hikers underestimating the dangers of mountain hiking.
Accidents can happen to experienced hikers, too, but it’s a much, much rarer occurrence.
On the whole, mountain hiking is safe. With some basic knowledge and gear, mountain hiking is rarely dangerous. Learn how to enjoy your hike safely.
What Other Features Are in The Catskills?
The Catskills are home to several ski resorts, many luxury resorts, dozens of historic sites, snowmobile trails, lakes and streams for swimming and fishing, and the tallest waterfall in New York State.
- Panther Mountain is the site of an ancient meteor impact crater.
- There are dozens of primitive and public campsites where you can enjoy backcountry camping.
- There are over 350 miles of well-maintained hiking trails in the Catskills. These trails are suitable for all levels of ability, with many easy hikes, difficult hikes, and options in between.
- If you don’t want to tackle one of the six amazing fire towers, you can opt to stroll in the backcountry on some of New York’s finest nature walks.
- There are also many kid-friendly hiking trails.
The Catskills also contain several major reservoirs that feed New York City, most notably the Ashokan, Pepacton and Neversink reservoirs.
Finally, there are many wonderful places to eat in the Catskills for hikers and tourists.
What Are The Catskill Mountains Famous For?
The Catskills have a long and rich history. They are the site of the infamous Woodstock festival, the birth of fly-fishing, the birthplace of the Hudson River School of Painting, dozens of Catskills resorts, and old-school hacky stand-up.
World Class Hiking in The Catskill Mountains
The Catskills are also famous for the Catskill High Peaks challenge — hikers must hike all 33 public high peaks to become members of the Catskill 3500 Club. It’s a life-changing challenge.
How Far are the Catskills from New York City?
By road, the Catskills are about 100 miles north of New York City.
The trip takes about two hours by car.
As the crow flies, Ashokan High Point and the Ashokan Reservoir are about 80 miles north northwest from Central Park.
Directions to the Catskill Mountains
From New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway to the Palisades Parkway, and make your way to I87/North. From there…
- Kingston is Exit 19 — Ashokan Reservoir / Route 28 to the Central and Western Catskills
- Saugerties is Exit 20 — Devil’s Path / Kaaterskill High Peak / Kaaterskill Falls / Blackhead Range
- Catskill is Exit 21 — Northern Catskills / Windham High Peak
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