The Catskill Park is a perfect destination for a day trip or a week-long escape, located only two hours away from New York. The region receives 2.7 million visitors annually, most of them attracted by the park's scenic mountains, but the place also features rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and trails. It's the perfect choice for people looking g for some quiet days.
The park is also a popular destination among hikers and can be visited year-round. Travelers can find different recreational activities for the whole family.
What To Know About Catskill State Park
The Catskill Park was created in 1904 and had 7,000 acres spanning the Ulster, Greene, Delaware, and Sullivan Counties in New York State. The place is home to nearly a hundred peaks, and its highest point is Slide Mountain, which stands 4,180 feet above sea level.
On top of that, the park also features forests, multiple rivers, lakes, and rich wildlife, including black bears, snakes, and coyotes. The area is a combination of private and public lands, labeled as a "Forever Wild," meaning that the park's territory will always be preserved.
It's possible to enter the park for free, and the best way to explore the region is by car. Travelers can also take a taxi or ride-sharing companies service in the area, as the public transport near the park is very limited.
What To Do In Catskill State Park
Catskill Park is an excellent alternative for nature lovers, with many activities year-round.
There Are Over 45 Trails
Travelers can easily visit Catskill Park and never repeat a trail, as it offers multiple options for different groups. The park has 45 trails, where visitors can go biking or hike with varying difficulty levels, as the elevations can go up to 8,172 feet. Of course, some of them are more popular among visitors.
Hunter Mountain Fire Tower: this 8-mile trail is one of the most challenging hikes in the park and has an elevation gain of 1,898 feet. On clear days, visitors can see Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont and camp at the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, standing 4,040 feet above sea level.
Mary's Glen Trail: travelers looking for a moderated hike should go to Mary's Glen Trail, which often takes nearly three hours to finish. The best thing is that it can be explored in different ways, so travelers can find groups hiking, horse riding, or even skiing depending on the time of the year. This trail is open year-round.
Huckleberry Point Trail: this 4-mile trail is also very popular and suitable for beginners, but travelers can expect some steep paths along the way. When arriving at Huckleberry Point, travelers have a privileged view of the park and the Hudson River.
Diamond Notch Trail: this is considered an easy hike, and the best time to make this trail is during the spring and early summer. During those months, it's possible to see many wildflowers along the way.
North-South Lake Loop: this moderated challenging hike can take nearly four hours, and it's not open year-round, so travelers need to check their opening season. People can see waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and even historical sites along the way, so the long path is worth it. It's also possible to stay longer and camp in some areas.
The Catskill Park is also perfect for families, friends, or even solo travelers looking for camping destinations; reservations can be made by phone or online. There are different campsites at the park, and travelers can experience camping near a river or in a valley. It's also an excellent sport for star-gazing, as there's low light pollution in the region;
Fishing And Hunting
The rivers at the park are filled with trout, and they're considered a prime spot for fly-fishing, but visitors need a fishing license at Catskill Park. Between October and December, it's the deer season hunting at the park, so hikers and other visitors must know the area's hunting regulations and wear an orange vest. There are also hunting seasons for other animals, including black bears, turkeys, ducks, and birds.
Swimming And Waterfalls
One of the best things for families at Catscakills Park is that the place is full of spots and perfect for swimming. They might be full on summer days, and parents should be careful as not all the sites have lifeguards. At Onteora Lake, travelers find an excellent structure with picnic tables and fishing and paddling areas.
Finding some beautiful waterfalls, including Fawn's Leap Falls and Kaaterskill Falls, is also possible.
Visit The Bethel Woods Center For The Arts
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is located on the site that welcomed the 1969 Woodstock festival. The place is now home to many education programs, including concerts and the annual Harvest Festival.
Tips For Visiting
It's possible to visit The Catskill Park year-long, but travelers will find a different each season. As outdoor activities are the highlight in the region, it's essential to know that planning a hike during the spring has other demands than hiking during the winter.
Although Catskill Park has many campsites, the region also offers excellent resorts and lodging. The park also has a visitor center operated in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and it should be the first stop for people visiting it for the first time. The staff can help visitors with maps, information, and tips about the area.