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There are quite a few ways to enjoy the sights and beauty of the Catskills. With camps, hikes, and a variety of other choices, travelers have many ways to experience the Catskills. One leisurely way to consider may just be a simple train ride. Relaxing in a car while it meanders through the mountains is a great way to leisurely experience the Catskills.

Travelers looking to ride the rails through the Catskills should look up the scenic Catskill Mountain Railroad. A part of the famous rail system that has serviced the area for over a century, the Catskill Mountain Railroad Ride now serves as a non-profit service that allows visitors to travel through the Catskills.

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Why The Catskill Mountain Railroad Is So Famous

The rise in popularity of the Catskill Mountain Railroad really took off when the Ulster & Delaware Railroad took over in 1875. They had an ambitious plan for expansion that would shape much of how the railroad is known today. In 1881, a narrow gauge branch was built from Phoenicia up to Hunter. In 1892, the connecting Kaaterskill Railway was acquired, extending the line to Tannersville. In 1895, the eastern terminal of the railroad was extended from Rondout to Kingston Point. This allowed for a direct connection with the boats serving New York and Albany on the Hudson River. The railroad completed construction to its western terminal and reached Oneonta and a connection with the Delaware & Hudson Railway in 1900.

Trains became a necessity for the region as they were responsible for bringing not only tourist traffic but vital supplies that were used to construct much of the Catskills during its golden age. The trains also always made sure visitors to the Catskills would always have what they needed. A number showing how important these trains were, is how 676,000 passengers rode them during 1913.

When & How Much Is The Railroad?

Operating from Spring until the end of its Christmas event, the Catskill Mountain Railroad ride is about one hour, with fun events along the way. Prices may vary depending on the season and regard to events and holidays.

  • Duration - 1 hour
  • Open - Spring to Christmas

When to Ride?

Though Spring and summer offer their own charms. Flowering forests with new green leaves during the spring and warm sunshine during the summer make for excellent choices. However, travelers who want to get the most out of a ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad should ride during the Fall. It is hard to beat the old-time feel of the train ride while surrounded by Fall foliage. Those who want to truly get that “northeastern U.S. feel” should really visit during Autumn.

Related: Craig-e-Clair: Is This Abandoned Catskills Castle Really Cursed?

How Much Is the Ride?

Most travelers will likely be looking to visit the railroad in small groups. In that case, they will easily be able to book tickets online using the railroad's website. Travelers looking to ride the Catskill Mountain Railroad can expect to pay $16 for adults, $10 for children, and $15 for seniors. Prices may vary depending on season and demand.

Another option for large groups is to book a charter. For groups up to 50 (groups can go over 50, it will just cost more), The Catskill Mountain Railroad offers a variety of charter rides for special events. The charter types include the Group Charter, Nonprofit Organization Charter, Holiday or Eve of Holiday Charter, and Alcohol on Board Charter. More details about charters can be found on their website.

  • Adult Ticket - $16
  • Child Ticket - $10
  • Senior Ticket - $15
  • Group Charter - $800.00 for up to 50 people. Each passenger over the first 50 is an additional $16.00 per person.
  • Nonprofit Organization Charter - $700.00 for up to 50 people. Each passenger over the first 50 is an additional $14.00 per person.
  • Holiday or Eve of Holiday Charter - $1,000.00 for up to 50 people. Each passenger over the first 50 is an additional $20.00 per person.
  • Alcohol On Board Charter - $1,250.00 for up to 50 people. Each passenger over the first 50 is an additional $25.00 per person.

Best Times To Book A Train Ride Through The Catskills

The Fall is the best time to visit the Catskill Mountain Railroad, with all of its scenic views amplified by the colorful foliage. Because of this, summer becomes the best time to book a ride through the Catskills. There is some variation in price, so booking early helps with that. Also, large groups that may want to be grouped together or book a charter will need to book ahead so that the Catskill Mountain Railroad can appropriately prepare for them.

  • Book in Advance - Three months early for large groups.
  • Best Time - Book in the summer for the Fall.

Related: This Is What Summer In The Catskills Looked Like In The 1950s

Scenic Points Along The Railroad

From Kingston through the Catskills, there is much to see on this scenic adventure. Travelers will pass by old farmland and through forested hills. Those that travel to the Catskill Mountain Railroad during the Fall can take advantage of their Fall-foliage tours. Those who want to experience their Christmas event can sign up for the Polar express tour.