The Great Northern Catskills have much to offer in the way of beautiful hikes and views of the region. Kaaterskill Falls is one location in particular that will take your breath away with the highest cascading waterfall in New York State. Experience nature in its most awe-inspiring state as you hear the calming cascade of a pristine waterfall and hike a beautiful trail. The waterfall spans over 260 feet and falls in two tiers, viewable from many locations.
Along the hike to the falls, visitors will enjoy passing streams, stonewalls, and various bridges. The hike is a short 1.4-mile trip, although there are many great locations to view the waterfall from that you won’t want to miss! When you hike to the very top of Kaaterskill Falls, a beautiful view of the mountains is revealed. At this location, dates and names have been carved all across the stones, dating back to the 1800s and continuing to today. There is also a viewing platform facing the falls near the top for views from another angle. When heading down to the bottom of the falls, hikers take a path that has over 400 stone stairs. At one point, hikers can head to the bottom of the first cascade and can also continue down to the bottom of the second where the entire waterfall is within view.
The falls were created by Ice Age glaciers and meltwater. As proven by the dates in the rocks, this location has been special to many people going back centuries. Even before the dates on the rocks, the area was important to Native Americans who lived in the region. Many artists including painters, poets and photographers have also been captivated by Kaaterskill Falls. One notable artist who depicted the falls is Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of Art. In the 1820s, Peter Schutt recognized an opportunity at the falls, purchasing the land and building a cabin and visitor boarding-house, as well as the viewing platform and staircase. The Department of Environmental Conservation now maintains the land for the public to continue enjoying the majestic falls that have drawn many for centuries.
“I highly recommend this hike. Lots of different trails of varying difficulty levels. Beautiful vistas and spots to rest and take in the view.”
—Jennifer R., TripAdvisor