John Guilford's Hikes
Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Mtns, NY on 1992-10-14
People: (including myself): Pam Becker
My Alt. Real Alt.
Start: 3:45 1520
Bottom Falls: 4:15 1740
Top of Falls: 5:00 1950
Out: 6:00 1560
We had to take a quick hike due to time constraints, but once you are down
in the Kaaterskill clove area, you can easily spend the whole day hiking
One approach to the falls is from the top - there is a wide trail/road from
a state park to the top of the falls. We did not go in that way.
The other way in is to follow the Kaaterskill creek from the road to the
base of the falls. Follow the road in from the Hudson valley up into the
Catskill park. As you enter the park the road becomes narrow and winding
(and climbing). A short while later you pass over the (marked) trail
alongside the creek. There is no parking here, but about 1/4 mile further
up the road is a parking area on the opposite side. From there walk down
the road to the creek. The trail is hard to see near the road, but it is
not needed as one simply follows the creek up on the East side. One soon
picks up the trail which continues to follow the creek. It was sunny and
warm when we were there and the foliage was about at peak. It was fairly
damp, though, due to all the moisture from the falls.
About 1/2 hour later you come to the base of the falls. The falls (which
are the highest in NY) fall in two segments. The official trail ends at
the base, but one can climb to the top, if you are adventuresome. The
normal route is to climb up to the pool between the two falls on the right
side (East) of the falls. This just involves scrambling up loose, damp,
clay and rock. It wasn't hard, though use of trees is recommended. There
isn't any established route, just make it up as you go.
Once you get 1/2 way up, you get to the really neat large ledge the crosses
behind the upper falls. This is a great place to hang out and take
pictures. To continue to the top, cross behind the falls to the left
(West) side. This next bit involves some rock (class III to easy class
IV). Neither Pam nor I had any trouble, but it could scare some people.
The route isn't obviously a route, but if you just follow what looks
easiest you'll find it. The rock is at the beginning of the climb - after
that is mostly scrambling up slopes and stuff.
This puts you out at the top of the falls, where the trail to the state
Although we didn't have time, from the top of the falls you can cross to
the East side and connect up with a set of trails the cross all over the
top of the hill where you get some real nice views of the Hudson valley.
Unfortunately, we didn't have time for any of this due to a late start.
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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015