Kaaterskill Falls is one of the highest falls on the east coast, plunging 260-feet. The dual cascade waterfall in eastern Catskill Mountains is between the hamlets of Palenville and Haines Falls.
A sign along route 23A three miles west of Palenville indicates the trailhead to the falls. Two separate vehicle parking lots both requiring a 0.2-mile walk to the trailhead. Although is only 0.4-mile the route takes an hour to reach the falls. The trail is heavily used but steep and difficult for inexperienced hikers, so watch your step.
Catskill Forest Preserve is in the southeastern part of New York State within the Catskill Mountains, west of the Hudson River. It is forty miles southwest of Albany and about 100 miles northwest of New York City. Sixty percent of the 600,000 acres preserve is privately owned. The park is primarily within Ulster County but portions lie in Delaware, Green and Sullivan counties.
The Catskill Mountains is a unique place attracting artists, musicians and writers since its early days. In 1969 the famous Woodstock Music Festival was held within the Catskills in Bethel. The Catskills have appeared in movies, music and a setting for many paintings.
The Catskill Mountains are forested with rounded hills, ponds, streams and historic locations. It is one of the largest natural areas of the East coast on par with Yellowstone National Park.
Campgrounds within the park are open early in spring for fishing and camping, through autumn to view foliage and hunt. Its streams treat fishermen to some of the finest trout fishing in the East. Hot spots include Esopus, Beaverkill and Willowemoc Creeks.
Belleayre Mountain is at the heart of the Catskill Forest Preserve within its ‘forever wild ‘ land. It has 33 well maintained trails by New York State DEC. Slide Mountain is its highest mountain at the elevation of 4,180 feet.
Palenville is at the junction of routes 23A and 32A, its population of 1,037 at 568’ elevation. A locally known swinging footbridge crosses over Kaaterskill Creek running through the town.
The hamlet Windham on the northern boundary of the Catskill Forest Preserve is at the elevation of 1,893’ along route 23. It was first settled about 1780, and named Batavia. It has a population of 1,703 and is known as “Land in the Sky” and “Gem of the Catskills“. The hamlets primary source of income is Windham Mountain Ski Resort.
Kaaterskill Falls is a 4.5 hour drive of 232 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 thruway east, then at Syracuse US 81 south past Binghamton to route 17. Drive east along route 30 into the park.
Here’s a hikers comments on the trek to Kaaterskill Falls. “What a wonderful site to check out. The hike may be hard for some, but with a sturdy pair of shoes, its fairly easy.”