News: Kaaterskill Rail Trail Opens on National Trails Day - June 1, 2013 | Haines Falls, NY

Thanks to the efforts of members of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail Committee and many individual volunteers, Catskill trail users have a new trail to explore in the Town of Hunter, and it is a great one for families and those who enjoy an easy walk or bike ride with some great views.

The Kaaterskill Rail Trail (KRT) grand opening was celebrated by 100 supporters and interested outdoorspeople on National Trails Day, Saturday, June 1 at the Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls, NY.

This opening represented many years of planning and work, as local residents have been advocating for this community trail for decades. They, along with visitors from near and far, enjoyed kick-off ceremonies, guided hikes, presentations, and a free BBQ at the Mountain Top Historical Society to celebrate the trail opening. Families were able to walk the trail for the first time and hear about the rich history of the railroads and tourism dating back nearly two centuries from the guides who led the hikes.

Creating a rail-trail link from the Village of Haines Falls in Greene County to the very popular, nearby North and South Lake Campground has long been a dream for many in the Catskills community. Given the rich history of the railroad and grand hotel era of this region, the project offers great potential to interpret the natural, historic, and cultural resources that have been and continue to be hallmarks of the tourist economy in the northern Catskills for generations.

This first completed piece of the trail follows the abandoned Ulster & Delaware Railroad between the Mountain Top Historical Society property in Haines Falls and New York Forest Preserve land at the end of Laurel House Road, just above Kaaterskill Falls. A large portion of the trail is along the edge of Kaaterskill Clove, offering opportunities to create multiple views of Kaaterskill Falls. The trail will be open to public use for non-motorized, multi-use activities.

Phase 2 of the project, currently in the planning stages, will provide a direct link to the existing Escarpment Trail and the North/South Lake State Campground, with a trail and bridge at the Laurel House site.

The idea of opening a multi-use, non-motorized public trail on the Ulster & Delaware Railroad bed originated in the early 1970s among residents and business owners in the Town of Hunter. It took more than 30 years, but the KRT has finally come to fruition thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Town of Hunter, the Mountain Top Historical Society, the Greene Co. Soil & Water Conservation District, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, whose volunteers helped construct and will maintain the trail.

Partner agency representatives were on hand for the ribbon cutting welcoming the newest family trail addition in the Northern Catskills. The Unit Management Plan amendment update for the Kaaterskill Wild Forest was signed two weeks prior, with DEC’s full support for designating the KRT as a public trail. Phase 2 will include a pedestrian bridge over Spruce Creek, 200’ upstream of Kaaterskill Falls, that will allow access to the Escarpment Trail and the N/S Campgrounds.

For more information on the KRT, including a free trail map, visit the Trail Conference's KRT info page at

Members of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail Committee cut the ribbon opening the long-awaited trail from Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls.

Members of the Kaaterskill Rail Trail Committee with walkers eager to explore the just opened trail. The 100-year-old  train station is in the background.

For More Information on Hiking and the Outdoors in the Catskill Mountains

Check out our Catskill Mountain Information Page for hikes, advice and planning information. 

Need a hiking map for the Catskills?  The Trail Conference publishes the Catskills Trails Map Set, which is the best set of maps available for hiking in the Catskills.  How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish Trail Guides to the Catskill Region and the Adventures in the Outdoors Bookstore carries many more books and maps for hiking and exploring the Catskill Mountain region.

Guide to Catskill Trails (Forest Preserve, #8) (The Forest Preserve Series)AMC Catskill Mountain Guide, 2nd: AMC's Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Trails in the Catskills (Appalachian Mountain Club)Catskill Trails