#56: Hike Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls is one of my favorite hikes in the area. It’s short, easy, and the destination is spectacular!
Starting off this hike is a bit dodgy. The parking area is located on a dangerous “S” curve of road, and the parking lot gets pretty full on beautiful summer and fall days. DO NOT PARK ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. You have to walk along a very short but dangerous portion of this “S” curve road to reach the trailhead. Keep a hold on your kiddos’ hands, parents.
But once you get to the trailhead, it’s easy going and spectacular right away! There’s a short little waterfall right off the road, where a lot of people go swimming and enjoy the water.
The falls themselves is a two-drop waterfall located in the eastern portion of the Catskill Mountains, near Palenville in Greene County. The dual cascades total 260 feet, making it one of the highest waterfalls in New York State.
The trail officially ends at the bottom of the lower falls, but for the more adventurous-minded, you can climb a very steep hill to reach the bottom of the upper falls. Just before you reach the bottom of the top falls, you get pretty close to the edge of the cliff; if you’re scared of heights, this might be a real problem. My husband couldn’t bring himself to scoot along this dangerous edge. Once at the top, though, you can walk behind the upper falls and swim in an awesome swimming hole.
There another unofficial trail that goes up to the very, very top of the upper falls, but I’ve never taken this trail it seems very steep and very dangerous.
You can catch some info about finding the trailhead parking lot and about the history of the falls at these two websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaterskill_Falls and http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/kaaterskill_0000.asp.