I’ve always preferred the quieter, less populated hikes. I love meeting people on the trail, but sometimes I enjoy the peace of having a mountainside to myself. Since early last week, I knew I would be going to the Catskills for the first time this spring. I picked one of the most popular hikes in the area – Kaaterskill Falls, and was rewarded with stunning views of the New York’s tallest two-tiered waterfall.
The day started with a lazy morning and a trip to Target to buy some new pants. Once I was suited up, we hit the road. The drive through the Catskills was scenic, and it wasn’t long before we were winding up route 23A past the trail head. It was nearly lunch time and the parking lot was packed. After a lap up and down the road, a parking spot became available and it was time to go see the falls.
The first few minutes of the hike are made up of walking along the road. There’s no shoulder, so it requires some single file and some extra attention. Once side of the road opens up at the start of the trail, it’s a nicer hike.
This hike starts off with a water fall that would be the star of the show, were it not for its big brother up the trail. The sound of rushing water was loud, and the air was cooler once we were by the water. A few people were photographing the falls or sitting on the wide rocks at the base, but we headed up the trail.
The trail follows the creek up the relatively steep incline. The path is made of dirt and large, smooth stones. It is a perfect trail for barefoot hiking. It’s a great option for those hiking with small kids, especially because the water fall is so amazing.
Along the way, there were beautiful views of the water and of large, moss-covered boulders. After climbing up the mountain for a while, the sound of falling water got louder, and it was obvious the falls were going to be just around the corner. After climbing a few more stone steps, we were there.
Kaaterskill lives up the hype, and then some. It drops a total of 260 feet over two falls. It is stunning. The bottom pool is lined with wide
stones, where families and couples were sitting and eating lunch, or taking photos. I stopped to take some photos of the falls before heading farther up the side of the cliffs.
I continued farther up the side of the mountain to a spot that had a great view of the pool at the base of the bottom falls. Some people trekked even further up, well beyond the newly constructed fence and warning signs. Kaaterskill has been the site of some nasty accidents, and the view is still fantastic from the safer spots on the official trail. It was cool being able to get some photos that had people up higher on the falls, but I wouldn’t want to go up there myself.
After having a snack and water, we settled down at the base of the falls for some more photos. The hike back to the road was leisurely, and there were even more people coming up the trail to get their time with the falls. After a few more photos, it was time to go back to the car and free up a precious parking spot for another hiker.
Kaaterskill Falls is a great hike if you don’t have an entire day to get lost in the woods, and if you want to haves a really stunning view. There are amazing overlooks and vistas throughout the Catskills, but no other waterfall like Kaaterskill. A great spot for photos, or to introduce your little ones to the wonders of nature, if you’re in the Hudson Valley, you can’t miss it.