Hiking: Kaaterskill Falls via the Kaaterskill Falls Trail | Catskill Mountains, NY | July 27, 2014

I had the opportunity to hike the short half mile long trail from Route 23A to the base of Kaaterskill Falls recently thanks to work.  We were there to begin looking at ways and starting a discussion of how to improve safety and access at the falls while protecting the natural resources.

Kaaterskill Falls is a very popular destination in the Catskills and there are often accidents and deaths due to visitors hiking and climbing in very unsafe areas.  Not only that, but the level of use creates parking problems on Route 23A and the entire route of the trail and the Falls area is very worn out from all the visitors.

We parked at the lower lot, below Bastion Falls on Route 23A and walked up to the trailhead.  This helped show just how dangerous even the approaches to the Kaaterskill Falls Trail really are.  The hike up was just as interesting, passing people who probably were not that well prepared and even someone hiking barefoot.

At the base of the Falls our group was able to see the many people hiking past the end of trail sign, some slipping and falling.  We also saw people swimming throughout the various tiers of the falls where the rocks are very slippery and a fall would cause very bad injuries if not death.  That's not to say that a visit to Kaaterskill Falls has to be dangerous, but visitors should be prepared by wearing proper hiking shoes, carrying water, staying on the marked trail and not going beyond the marked end of the trail.

If you're looking for a hiking guide to Kaaterskill Falls and the Kaaterskill Falls Trail and want to be properly prepared for the trip, please read our:

A story appeared in the Daily Mail from our visit.  There had been a death before our visit and just a few days later unfortunately, another visitor slipped, fell and passed away from her injuries.  Kaaterskill Falls is a very dangerous place.  Please stay on the marked trail and do not go beyond the sign that signals the end of the trail at the base of the Falls.

Need more information on hiking and planning your 
trips to the Catskills and the Catskill Park?

Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills? We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set. These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park. The Catskill Center offers a regional map of the Catskills that provides an excellent overview of the region, it's roadways, attractions and trails. National Geographic Trails Illustrated also produces a map for the region. 

How about a guidebook? Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region and thAdventures in the Outdoors Bookstore carries many more books and maps that will help you as you hike and explore the Catskill Mountains region. 

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock and The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line. For the most comprehensive natural history of the Catskill Park and the Forests of the Catskill region, we recommend reading The Catskill Forest, a History by Michael Kudish.