There are many hiking trails within the Catskill Mountains. In the Catskill Forest Preserve alone in Delaware County, there exists some 300 miles of hiking trails that are well-marked and maintained. Various hiking clubs and the forest rangers of the state are responsible for these trails. A unique opportunity for hikers is to eventually scale each of the 35 mountains in the Catskills that are at least 3,500 in height, with a membership in what is known as the Catskill 3500 Club the final reward for completing this endeavor. Five mountains in the Catskills have restored and fully safe fire towers that allow those that climb them to have an incredible view of the surrounding countryside. Overlook, Tremper, Red Hill, Balsam Lake and Hunter Mountain all boast a fire tower for this purpose. Also in Delaware Country is the Catskill Scenic Trail, a hiking path that follows an old railroad bed that is optimal for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing in the winter, and even horseback riding.
Devil's Tombstone and Kaaterskill Falls
The Devil's Tombstone is a campground in Hunter, New York. It features one of the oldest New York State campgrounds and a very rugged hiking trail up a mountain that should only be attempted by prepared and competent hikers. A huge boulder that was probably deposited at its present location in the campground by a glacier gives the area its odd name. There is a small lake called Notch Lake that allows boaters and anglers access, and the area is close by to such activities as miniature golf, regular golf, horseback riding, tubing and antique shopping. Kaaterskill Falls (picture above) is the highest waterfall in New York. Located near the town of Haines Falls, it is quite a sight, cascading down a total of 260 feet, with the first tier 180 feet and the second drop 80 feet. There are hiking trails that lead to the base of Kaaterskill Falls; the area is a popular stop for hikers and tourists alike--in the summer months especially.
The Catskill's Wildlife
There is no shortage of wildlife in the Catskill Mountains for those that are stealthy enough to get a close look at it. White-tailed deer (picture above) are abundant in this region and moose also have been known to make their home here in small numbers. The predators of the Catskills include the coyote, red fox, gray fox, bobcat and black bear. Beavers live in the river systems and many ponds and lakes within the Catskill Mountains, as do muskrats and otters. Porcupines, squirrels, opossums, ospreys, eagles, hawks and owls can be sighted frequently. Hikers need to be aware that the copperhead, the timber rattler and the eastern massasuaga inhabit this region; all three are venomous snake species that should be avoided.