Hiking Trails in the Catskill Mountains

Hiking Trails in the Catskill MountainsThe Catskill Mountains, in New York State, about 150 miles north of New York City, are crisscrossed with more than 600 miles of trails. Hikers will find a variety of paths, from easy day hikes to waterfalls, lakes and streams, to more strenuous climbs, including the trek to the peak of 4,202-foot Slide Mountain, the highest peak in the Catskills. This small range has 35 mountains that are 3,500 feet or higher and is also home to Kaaterskill Falls, the highest waterfall in New York.

Curtis-Ormsbee Trail

This trail, blazed with blue markers, is a scenic route to the summit of Slide Mountain, where hikers have sweeping views of the Catskills, Hudson Valley and the Taconic mountain range in the distance. Start out on the Phoenicia-East Branch trail and hike about a mile and a half to the Curtis-Ormsbee trail junction. Here, you'll see a monument honoring Curtis and Ormsbee, the two men who developed the trail, and later died in a snowstorm on the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. You'll have several open views along the trail. Hike about another mile and a half to the Wittenberg-Cornell Slide Trail. Follow this red-blazed trail to the top of Slide Mountain. Re-trace your steps back down, or to complete a shorter loop, follow the Wittenberg-Cornell Slide Trail back to the Phoenicia-East Branch Trail. Total distance for the loop is just a little over five miles.

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Catskills Escarpment Trail

This 4.7-mile ridgeline trail rewards hikers with open views of the Kaaterskill Clove and Taconic Mountains. The blue-blazed trail descends through woods to the edge of the Catskill Eascarpment. From here, the trail climbs the rocky ridges of the escarpment, with several viewpoints along the way. At a little over a mile and a half, you'll begin the descent to Inspiration Point, where two large boulders are perched over the escarpment. Look closely at the rocks and you'll see inscriptions carved into them, thought to be 100 or more years old. Continue on the trail, with several more open views, before looping back to the beginning trailhead.

Cranberry Lake Preserve

This easy three-mile hike through the Cranberry Lake Preserve in Westchester County takes about two hours to complete, and is a rewarding, back-to-nature break from the bustling burgs of Westchester. Stop by the Nature Center at the preserve to pick up a trail map. A series of marked trails and boardwalks crisscrosses the quiet preserve and circles a small lake. Along the way, you'll see old stone walls, cascades and water views.

Article Written By Pamela Wright

Pamela Wright is a freelance writer, author of more than two dozen guidebooks, and hundreds of articles. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including "National Geographic Traveler," "Family Circle," "Family Fun," "Backpacker," "Hemispheres," "Cooking Light," "Yankee" and more. An active member of the Society of American Travel Writers, she holds a Bachelor's from Michigan State University

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