The range consists of many peaks, 36 of which are over 3,500 feet in height. Slide Mountain is the highest peak with a 4,180-foot altitude. Six major river systems pervade the Catskills, winding through the hundreds of mountains and foothills. The 700,000 square acre Catskill Park and Forest reserve is situated in the center of the mountains and is filled with lush forests comprising of beech, birch, hemlock, spruce and maple trees. The Catskill Mountain range has undefined northern, southern and western borders. However, the eastern border is generally considered to be where the mountains level into the Alleghany Plateau.
The Catskills have long been a summer and winter vacation spot for the residents of New York. However, the manner of vacation has not always been the same. Until the 1960s, the beautiful wilderness was primarily a destination for the wealthy to spend time in lodges or boarding houses, where they would spend time participating in scheduled activities. Slowly, visitors began traveling to the Catskills to take advantage of outdoor recreation such as mountain biking, fly fishing, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, camping and canoeing. Visitors can still visit the large resorts that offer the older, more romanticized, yet time-driven style of a Catskills vacation. However, they are becoming more difficult to find and are consequently becoming more expensive.
Four regions make up the majority of the Catskill Mountains--Sullivan, Delaware, Greene and Ulster counties. Sullivan County is situated in the southernmost region of the mountains and its many rivers and streams make it the most common place for fly fishing. The town of Bethel is in Sullivan County and it was the location of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. The western area of the Catskills is situated in Delaware County, where visitors can travel to experience more rustic towns with street festivals, farmers' markets, art galleries and performing arts. In the north, Greene County is near the Hudson River and is well-known for its ski resorts and the highest waterfall in New York, the Kaaterskill Falls. In Ulster County, visitors can experience history while walking down some of the oldest streets in America and visiting 18th century structures.