This is an easy hike along a well marked trail to the viewing platform and lower falls that experienced hikers and newcomers alike will enjoy. 2. ), GPS coordinates of parking area: 42.18983, -74.07401 (Clicking will open in Google Maps or the Apple Maps app, depending on your browser/device.). The difficulty increases as reach the waterfall but there are stairs put in and the trail is very well marked. A short walk brings you to the observation platform overlooking the falls. Hi Albert — I have lugged my own child on my back up this trail, and it was great, but I certainly wouldn’t make a blanket recommendation for everyone to do the same. Kaaterskill Falls Hiking and Parking Guide. had a great time. I wish you could have flown behind the water along that midway ridge behind. I urge anyione with a senser of awe and adevntulre to come here and have awesome memories iof their stay; but please, prepare yourself and gailn experience before you tackle the terrain that awailts you. How can you be “very surprised at the volume of traffic in a pretty remote area” when you’re part of the blogging and social media crowd who seems to have made it their collective goal in life to overexpose every inch of trail and wilderness on the planet? Absolutely beautiful especially with the dusting of snow and icicles. loved this trail! So would u do this instead of the normal hike or would you do this as well to take u behind and to the top viewing of the falls? There are 3 lookouts, 2 of which are above some pretty steep stairs but sooo worth it. If we stay on the trail and abide by recommendations, are we at risk? Directions to Kaaterskill Falls. There is a write up on this website for it. There is a huge system of trails offering multiple payoffs. my dad has been coming to the falls since the 70s i first saw and experienced the falls when i was around 16 and we ignored the main trail head at the bottom of the falls and went strait to lorrel house rd and walked around the top of the falls i dont rema=ember iif we climbed down that day or not but we have done it on at least 2 occasions and i have led groups to every point between the top and bottom i love to float in the pond in the middle of the 2nd tier not all that deep but 8 foot in the middle also have seen the memorial carved in the rock on the way down on the left side of the falls if you are looking up its is NOT advisable to look for it it is very hard to find and VERY dangerous to get to but it is incredible to see it carved there by members of a mans union after he jumped to his death at the turn of the last century it is a butiful site and i love to camp at the top at the small camp sites provided and spend days during the summer here enjoying the site and unwinding, Hey Mike, Finally! Can someone please update me on this? Thank you! I’m guessing the campground you’re thinking of is North-South Lake? At the intersection with the trail to Layman’s monument, walk to the right trail There is a new 200 step staircase to get you down to the money shot. 3. Thank you, Jean! This firm gravel trail has minimal elevation change with a typical grade of 7%, and provides outstanding views of the falls and valley below (see accessibility information below). There does not appear to be any construction going on at the overlook by the falls. I’m overdue to get back out there and update this trail guide with all the new construction. It wasn’t until got to the bottom and met road instead of waterfall that I realized that I had gotten off the trail. Yes, the experience from Laurel House is now much-improved, and I’d recommend it as the better choice now. On Spruce Creek, a two-stage waterfall is found, known as the Kaaterskill Falls. Specifically famous ones like one from Ulysses S Grant? (And here’s a quick primer on Leave No Trace, too, to help us keep the trails nice and fresh for each other.). I'll do my best to keep that page as up-to-date as possible. What area are these carvings supposed to be in? You can continue up 23A and park at the Laurel House lot of of North Lake Rd. You just visited the awesomest one of all. Nice! Mirek’s comment below (which I believe was meant to be a reply to you) pegs it at 2.63 miles from the parking lot to the platform and back. Today was in the 40s and there was no ice or snow on the trail. In my experience, orange tape is used to mark trees that need attention/to be cut. Hi Kylie — Here’s a link to a shot from the site’s Facebook page that shows the falls slowed to a trickle on August 30. If you stay on the marked trails, there is no greater danger here than you’ll find on your average staircase. You can wade in the lower pool or climb to the viewing area at the top, but that’s it for now. Just wanted to give you a heads up that the Trail Conference now has a free map and guide for the Falls and for the area around it – http://nynjtc.org/map/catskill-destinations-kaaterskill-falls-trail-map. Just came across an article ( http://www.watershedpost.com/2015/kaaterskill-falls-closed-summer-2015 ) that says the DEC is restricting public access to the falls from July 6th, 2015 through the summer as they will be upgrading the trails and improving safety around the falls. Does anyone know how many miles it is from the base enterence up the overlook and back? New York State Division of Tourism, One Commerce Plaza , Albany, NY, 12245, Phone: 518-474-4116 The last time I did this hike was with my wife and son, late on a Friday afternoon in November, and it was like I-95 out there. Kaaterskill Falls Access From the Laurel-House Road parking area: 0.3 miles to the observation platform overlooking Kaaterskill falls. I thank you for this write up and the great pictures presented here. hi can you still swim legally in kaaterskill falls? The waterfalls' fame in America really began when Washington Irving mentioned them in his story "Rip Van Winkle". NY's highest cascading waterfall. Follow the stairs up to the Escarpment Trail (blue). Has anyone been here recently? Hudson Valley trail closures and parking restrictions due to COVID-19. If anyone else has an inside scoop, please share! Hi just trying to find out at this date Aug 31st if any of the trail is closed? Advanced features of this website require that you enable JavaScript in your browser. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Does anyone have still images or video clips of the Historical Carvings on the rocks? Great lesson in: write what you feel. Kaaterskill Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Elka Park, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. Thanks so much, Donna — hope you find some other adventures worth trying out here! After you get back to your car, don’t even bother looking for a taller two-tier waterfall in New York. I was born not far from there but moved away as a child. I know your post is from 2016, but I’m curious to see them myself. Thank you for the write up. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-york/kaaterskill-falls-trail Tricky in winter at parts - would recommend poles/crampons (we survived in just boots), but definitely worth it to go all the way to the top platform! To get to the plunge pool at the bottom of the main falls go back up the carriage road and you will come to a new footbridge on your right that takes you safely across the stream. **UPDATE August 2018** The DEC has adopted some new common-sense safety regulations at Kaaterskill Falls that shouldn’t at all affect the behavior of responsible hikers, including staying six feet from cliffs edges, not entering the water within 150 feet and the top of the falls, and not being allowed to play music except with earbuds (thanks especially for that one, DEC!). WHAT A VIEW!! There’s a tiny bit of mild rock scrambling and a few warm up views on the way out to the Point. Once you wander off-trail, though, all bets are off. Head left at the fork to reach the final viewing platform for the falls. Although this is a super short hike, it is definitely a tough one! it was beautiful. In about 3.5 miles, you’ll come around a hairpin turn with Bastion Falls and the trailhead to your right. With the exception of last weekend, we haven’t had much rain since then, so I don’t expect the situation would be too much improved now. The waterfall is running at a trickle right now since we haven’t had much rain. Sorta nearby address for your GPS: You can just type “Kaaterskill Falls trailhead,” into Google Maps and it’ll pull up the correct spot on Route 23A. We would camp nearby in a campground ( I can’t find it on maps ) and we would go out to different spots on the river and really enjoyed ourselves.! The views are absolutely incredible! I just couldn’t leave writing of this quality without a comment! On a weekend, thousands of people line the road to hike up to the base of Kaaterskill Falls. Continue up the hill another .3 miles to find the large parking area on your left. 7. Do not park illegally or you may get towed. Eventually it was all down hill and I stopped passing people and thought “he says stay on the yellow trail but the yellow trail is getting really hard to distinguish.” I eventually saw old, faded orange tape around the trees that marked a “trail” that I followed. Come prepared in order to make the most of your trip. When you get to Haines Falls take the next road to the right. Are the trails open all year round? It also gives me an opportunity to decide if I want to venture into a populated area, or if the chosen hike will take me on a trail remote enough to avoid even the most curmudgeony of humans…, Ha, thanks so much, Tracy! signs in the world are not going to make some people more cognizant of the dangers inherent in hiking. We just missed each other — I brought the kids here on Saturday, and they loved it. Look sharp out there while supporting the trails! There is a fair amount of parking. Hi G Bell — Good question, especially given the continued accidents here. Bastion Falls - ~0.5 miles roundtrip, three drops, located on Route 23A trail to Kaaterskill Falls; Ashley Falls - 0.6 miles roundtrip, scenic, located via Mary Glen Trail https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/50755.html. That's cool, too. You can also get directions by checking out the Kaaterskill Falls entry on the HiketheHudsonValley.com Google map. Always wear proper footwear, and use caution near ledges. **UPDATE May 2018**  The DEC has made several recent trail and safety improvements at Kaaterskill Falls. I think the falls around here are a little low at the moment (they could probably tell you at the guard shack to North-South Lake), but it’s a gorgeous spot even when they’re not roaring. Please be very careful here. If you click the links to read about the individual accidents here, the problems invariably occur when people venture off-trail. The trails are narrow and steep and the rocks can be slippery. The trail leads to the snowmobile trail that run around Kaaterskill High Peak and Round Top. Yes, what deep memories of this waterfall. Hike through Kaaterskill National Forest to New York's tallest waterfall at 260 feet. Please don’t do it. Very much appreciated! It looks like they were working on a pretty solid (and safe) way to get to the top where you can swim in the giant pool at the base of the falls at the top. Pingback: NYC Escapes: Your Ultimate Catskills Weekend - Jessie on a Journey, Pingback: 50 Things to Do in Westchester This Fall - Wee Westchester. Here’s the view from Inspiration Point if anyone is curious, definitely worth going out there! This brings me many memories of my time spent here since 1973. You did a fine job presenting this amazing location, Kaaterskill Falls. Leave the flip-flops at home. Wear high visibility during darker hours. My last time there was in 1985 and this video is quite a joy and brings up many memories.! Subscribe: Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail. Thank you so much for all this great information (and beautiful picture). I too have been going to this great waterfall since 1973. Thanks so much, Joe! I’m working on a site revamp now, and will be putting a heavier focus on sustainability, Leave No Trace, and leaving the trails we all love in better shape than we found them. Your email address will not be published. The new overlook deck is open for viewing. Kaaterskill Falls is the most popular trail hiked in the Catskill Mountains. If so, please contact me @ [email protected] . Kaaterskill Falls is a beautiful double falls located in the Catskills. Usually, Lake Creek is at low water, and the view is disappointing. The 260-foot, two-tiered waterfall is the highest in New York and is tucked away within one of the many cloves that form the eastern escarpment of the Catskill Mountains. The Kaaterskill Falls hike almost a “rite of passage” hike for Catskill hikers. The foliage was pretty nice still. Inspiration Point and Kaaterskill Falls are located in the Kaaterskill Wild Forest in Haines Falls, New York and is a moderate 5.6 mile loop hike. Had to pay $200 plus the $50 ticket, BEWARE. First time ever seeing Kaaterskill falls, they are beautiful, but can be fatal, so please be safe and wear hiking sneakers. Things you need to know: This hike can be dangerous. Is the experience any different from starting from Laurel House lot versus the parking lot on 23A? Highly recommend yaktrax, very slippery in some areas. It takes advantage of all the new awesomeness at Kaaterskill Falls, and saves you the road walk detailed below. What a thrill to see the falling water and the rock mountain as your drone slowly ascends and descends. Absolutely! Parked along highway and walk up to entrance and was met by a nice waterfall and a challenging beginning. 1. And whatever you do, don’t attempt to hike Kaaterskill Falls Trail in your high-heels. The safety features here do NOT protect you if you choose to wander off-trail. Hi! Great guide and suggestions! Went on October 30th and was actually proposed to infront of the falls and it was snowing! It is just a mile(ish) hike off of Route 23A making it an easy trip to one of the highest waterfalls in New York. So there’s no more construction going on? It’s free to park and clearly marked for Kaaterskill Falls. Hang in there and stay safe, everyone! The Kaaterskill Falls are an oasis just a few short hours outside of the concrete jungle we know and love as NYC. Beautiful!!! Here’s an update from the DEC that I just stumbled upon — looks like there’s still a ton of work going on there now: https://www.facebook.com/NYSDEC/posts/10154171081585956, 2.63 miles from the parking lot to the platform and back. Kaaterskill Falls is an extremely popular destination, and parking can prove difficult. 5. I went yesterday and they were awesome. We hustled to get off the road as quick as we could, slightly harried and very surprised at the volume of traffic in a pretty remote area. my wife and I have visited the fall years ago and now we like to take our one year old baby girl and family to visit again. The trail to Kaaterskill Falls remains relatively flat and easy for the first third of the hike to the base. Thanks so much for sharing! Hope you enjoyed your trip! It was VERY icy but doable if you go slow and be careful. The Kaaterskill Falls Trail begins on Route 23A from the bridge in front of Bastion Falls, a small waterfall adjacent to the road. Wow, harsh much? From here on out, 50% of the proceeds generated from the purchase of sweet custom gear from Hike the Hudson Valley’s online store will be donated to the NY-NJ Trail Conference, the organization that makes so many of our adventures possible. It’s super easy and fun to make this ‘easy’ hike into 5+ miles with some rocks to climb up. Reco parking at the the Scott road parking lot. Directions from Hunter, NY: At the junction of SR 23A and Kaaterskill Creek, parking is uphill to the west. Kaaterskill Falls - 1.4 miles, moderate. Kaaterskill Falls is one of the Catskills most famous and frequented destinations. Our three plus hour trip from Levittown was well worth it and was part of our fun. The parking area is busy due to this being one of the more popular hiking trails in the Hudson Valley, so arrive early. This is one of the most popular hikes in the area, in part because everyone likes waterfalls, and in part because it’s a relatively short hike to a huge, 260-foot payoff, divided over two drops. It is a 5 minute walk on a wheelchair accessible carriage path to the new viewing platform. I’ve seen photos of the platform at the top of the falls, and it looks fantastic, but can’t find anything official on the completion of the other work. A three-mile hike will take you from the parking lot, to the base of the falls, up to a viewing platform above the falls … It’s still closed. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from April until October. As a longtime hiker who has hiked all over the US, I can attest to the fact that people ignore warning signs all the time and set off into the wilderness woefully unprepared. If you wander off-trail, you are endangering your own life, the lives of those in your party, and the lives of the people who may have to try to rescue you. Kaaterskill Falls is protected as a "forever wild" Forest Preserve area under the New York State constitution. Newburgh hiker falls to death at Kaaterskill Falls in Greene County, New Jersey teen falls to his death at Kaaterskill Falls in Greene County, Woman Falls, Suffers Head Injury at Kaaterskill Falls, Two Hurt in Separate Incidents at Kaaterskill Falls. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference offers concise, excellent advice on hiking during this crisis here: The New Hiking How-tos. Gorgeous ice formations and icicles. A piece of advice for anyone traveling a distance and would like to do a little more hiking in the area. Great views, was very muddy in certain areas. I think a reasonable answer is: No, as long as you stick to the trail, you are not at risk any more than you would be on any other hike. We went on Thanksgiving weekend around 1 and passed what felt like no less than 100 people, this is by far the best hike i have been on yet. Whammo! Happy Trails. If your tire goes a centimeter over that line you will be towed. Always looking to get the word out about safety and access, so thanks for having that information out there. I want my friends to be able to see the view from the top with me this year, we won’t go until the trail is open again. Welcome to the Hudson Valley, Dan! Cha-ching! Hiking to Kaaterskill Falls – Walking the Hwy 23A Road. I think the thing I most appreciate about the time and effort put into this site is being able to judge whether a chosen hike will pleasantly challenge my abilities or if it ventures into the do-not-do-this-you-will-have-a-stroke-and-die range. Also, I had just driven an hour and a half and wasn’t ready to go home yet! The improvements here have made this hike so much better, and the money spots so much more accessible. It’s an awesome spot if you’re up for it! All the railings, stairways and WARNING! I’ve read about accidents and unfortunate deaths at this site. Once you get to Kaaterskill Falls, chances are you won’t want to leave right away. DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THE UPPER FALLS ARE OPEN YET? We crossed paths with about ten people in total. While my first Kaaterskill trail guide is still perfectly valid, the construction around the upper trailhead at Kaaterskill Falls have made that old route, in my opinion, totally obsolete.. One more note of caution: Kaaterskill Falls is not a well-kept secret. This is what COVID has taught many of us. While we all carefully adhere to social distancing guidelines — road trips, especially ones a few short hours out of the city, have been a theme for many this fall season. Seems a bit longer then that.. Make sure to go up to the second level (favorite spot), worth the stairs! Drivers here are generally respectful, and they expect to see hikers along this section, but to me, it’s not an ideal way to start and end a hike. Please leave a comment! Just to let everyone know who wants to see Kaaterskill Falls easily and safely. Although the tragedies that occur each year at Kaaterskill seem to garner the headlines, there is no shortage every year of the mountains claiming the lives of the unwary or unprepared. Drive down to the large parking lot. Took 15 min get a parking spot but worth it. Hope that helps, and stay safe out there! Will check out the other hikes listed. There’s no good shoulder to walk along, and this road can be very busy. As a bonus, after you visit the falls it’s only 1.2 miles out to Inspiration Point from the top of the steps leading down to the falls. I will work on getting that hike written up here as soon as I can. People often underestimate this hike since it’s officially only a half-mile to the falls from the trailhead. I have no idea where or how I missed it, but the tape indicated that it was some kind of trail or whathaveyou that I was on.. anyone know?? (If you visit in late summer, you might find things not nearly as energetic. My wife and I hiked Kaaterskill Falls yesterday. We need to get out more. Wonderful views and a fantastic short and easy 20 minute hike. Walk over Spruce Creek on the Route 23A bridge, then find the trailhead kiosk on your left, at the base of Bastion Falls. I’ll update the trail guide above with links when it’s ready.). Do you not understand how advertising works? I did venture to the edge,very carefully, going sideways-outstanding view. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and share your concerns. Whatever route you choose, happy adventuring out there! Parking is available at the Molly Smith parking area on … Chicago teen Abraham Mendoza dies in fall from N.Y. waterfall, Dutchess County woman, 23, falls 180 feet to her death in Greene County; 2nd fatal accident on trail this summer, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference homepage, https://hikethehudsonvalley.com/hikes/kaaterskill-falls-ii-upper-trailhead/, NYC Escapes: Your Ultimate Catskills Weekend - Jessie on a Journey, 50 Things to Do in Westchester This Fall - Wee Westchester, https://www.facebook.com/NYSDEC/posts/10154171081585956, http://www.watershedpost.com/2015/kaaterskill-falls-closed-summer-2015, http://nynjtc.org/map/catskill-destinations-kaaterskill-falls-trail-map, Another nice write-up (with user comments) on. Especially after the rainfall we had on the previous day. Be sure to stop at the midpoint view of the falls, you’re able to get relatively close and it’s stunning. I just updated the trail guide with links to that article. I understand why they have to do it because it is a narrow road. I managed to do this hike in October 2013 so at the time, the only option I had to experience Kaaterskill Falls was to do a two-mile round-trip hike from the so-called “lower trailhead”. Makes for a great weekend trip from New York City. Please stay on the trail. I’m surprised there’s not a better path from the parking lot to the trailhead. Following the signs from the upper viewing area, the trail passes through the woods and past an area where a hotel once stood decades ago. For anyone attempting it while lugging a child, I’d strongly recommend trekking poles to help make sure you keep your balance. Thanks for being awesome! I’m having a hard time finding the official policy on swimming here, but I believe that if it was ever legal to swim here, that must have been a long time ago. **WARNING** While most Hudson Valley parks and trails have reopened, there are still a few notable closures and parking restrictions to be aware of. I very much enjoyed my trip and look forward to your update. In the summer you will want to check the water level because there might not be much water in the falls, and during periods of more rain the trail may be muddy. The hike to Kaaterskill Falls is short at 1.4 miles roundtrip, and hikers are strongly encouraged to stick to the marked path due to the treacherously slippery rocks located at the top of the falls. Bridge the trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and the mountain! Quick, steep rocky trails and rocks made slippery from a nearby waterfall ’ free. Located on NY Route 23A from the nearest parking which is about.3 miles to base! 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