There is a lot to do and see in the Catskills, from glamping in cozy beds to primitive backpacking trips deep into the forest. Catskill Park and Catskill Forest Reserve are full of things to explore, investigate, hike, climb and enjoy.
Looking for adventure and don’t mind getting wet? The Catskills are home to white water rafting unparalleled in New York. In Sullivan County, the Delaware River is alternately raucous and serene, with places where you’re holding on with white knuckles and places where you’re able to get out and have a relaxing sunbathe on the beach. Ulster County sends you down the rapids in tubes and life jackets instead of rafts, and it’ll get your pulse pounding. And if you want water but don’t want whitewater, Greene County has the Zoom Flume Water Park with tube rides and pools and slides to make for a fun family afternoon.
If there’s one thing the Catskills have no shortage of, it’s waterfalls, so if you’re camping the Catskills, be sure to know your way around these beautiful works of nature’s art. Vernooy Kill Falls is found by a 3 mile trail in Kerhonkson, and is a 60-foot waterfall with lots of places to stop and swim. There’s even the ruins of Vernooy Mill from the Catskills’ lumber industry of the 1800s. For an easy-to-get-to waterfall Russell Brook Falls, is only a short walk out of Roscoe. And the grandaddy of them all is Kaaterskill Falls, which is as tall as a 26 story building and is the tallest fall in New York State. One of the most popular and accessible, check to make sure that it’s not closed to hikers, as the trail sometimes requires maintenance.
If you’re excited to really see the inner depths of the Catskills, take your camping skills on an outing into the backcountry. See the oldest fire tower in New York at Balsam Lake Mountain. Camp at the oldest campground in the Catskills at Devil’s Tombstone along the Devil’s Path Trail. Set up a base camp and then go on multi-day treks into Phoenicia-Mt. Tobias Wild Forest.
No matter where you go camping in the Catskills you’re going to find wildlife, including everything from deer to bobcats to bears, cougars and wolves. To be safe, always get proper information from a park ranger before venturing too deep and understand how to store your food, what to do if you see a wild animal, and how to stay safe. If you follow the rules there’s nothing to be afraid of and you might snap some excellent photos!
From bears to waterfalls to whitewater rafting to camping, the Catskills offer it all. Take an adventure and see what the Catskill can deliver to you.