Kaaterskill Falls New York Hiking Trail Guide: Map, Trail Descriptions, Pictures & More

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Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: Hiking | New York Hiking

Kaaterskill Falls is a two-stage waterfall on Spruce Creek in the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York, between the hamlets of Haines Falls and Palenville in Greene County. Kaaterskill Falls is one of the country’s oldest tourist attractions, making the 1.3 mile trail one of the busiest and most popular in the region. Kaaterskill is the tallest two-stage waterfall in New York, and the steep ascent to get there is made of 620 stone stairs.

The Trails

Via the Lower Trailhead –
Distance – 2.6 miles roundtrip (4.2 km)
Difficulty – Easy
Duration (book time) – One hour or less
Seasons – Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter

From the parking area, walk carefully along Route 23A, around the sharp bend and downhill towards the trailhead. At the kiosk, the less dramatic Bastion Fall will be to your left as you begin climbing the Yellow Trail. The trail climbs at a moderately steep incline but levels out as you get closer to the falls with the creek to your left. The upper 175-foot falls and the lower 85-foot cascade is a truly beautiful sight to see. Once you’re done admiring the falls, simply retrace your steps the way you came from until reaching the kiosk and Bastion Falls.

Via the Upper Trailhead –
Distance – 2.3 miles roundtrip (3.7 km)
Difficulty – Easy
Duration (book time) – One hour or less
Seasons – Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter

Starting at Laurel House Road just before North-South Lake Campground, follow the wide gravel path to the kiosk. Continue on the flat gravel path until reaching a junction where the Blue Trail splits off to the left. To reach the viewing platform, stay right onto the Yellow Trail with an incredible view from above of the falls. After taking in the view, return to the Yellow/Blue junction and this time, turn left and cross over the bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge you will arrive at another junction. Turn right and follow the Blue Trail toward Lower Falls, Layman’s Monument, and Inspiration Point. Turn left heading downhill onto the Yellow Trail to visit the lower falls. After enjoying the views of the lower falls, retrace your steps the way you came back to the trailhead parking lot.

Trail Map

Kaaterskill Falls New York Hiking Trail Guide: Map, Trail Descriptions, Pictures & More

Kaaterskill Falls New York Hiking Trail Guide: Map, Trail Descriptions, Pictures & More

 

Before You Go

Use extra caution when rocks are wet or icy. Stay on the maintained trail to prevent injury. It is necessary that you use proper foot traction when the trail is covered in ice and snow.

 

Parking

Lower trailhead parking lot

The parking area for Kaaterskill Falls is located directly off of Scenic Byway Route 23A at the sharp bend in the road crossing in front of Bastion Falls.

Upper trailhead parking lot

Parking for the Upper trailhead to reach Kaaterskill Falls is located on Laurel House Road.

 

Directions

Getting to the Lower trailhead parking lot

Take New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill). Take a left out of the NYS Thruway entrance road and drive for approximately 1/4 mile before turning right onto Route 23W. Drive for 6.6 miles to Cairo, NY. Go approximately 6.6 miles to Cairo, NY. Turn left on Route 32 and drive another 7.7 miles. Take a right onto Route 23A and drive roughly 7 miles. After going around the Horseshoe turn (near Bastion Falls), park 1/4 mile past the Falls at Rip’s Lookout.

Getting to the Upper trailhead parking lot

Take New York State Thruway to Exit 21 and turn left out of the NYS Thruway. Drive for 1/4 of a mile before turning right onto Rte. 23 West and continue for another 6.6 miles to Cairo, NY. Turn left onto Rte. 32 and go approximately 7.7 miles  before turning right onto Rte. 23A. Stay on this road for 8 miles until reaching the mountain road (Rt 23A). Drive to the top until you reach Haines Falls. Take a right onto North Lake Road and follow along until reaching Laurel House Road on the right side of the road. Turn right onto Laurel House Road and drive to its end and park at the turn-around.

Weather Forecast

Here is a detailed weather forecast for the next four days:

Palenville, NY

Today
Mostly sunny. High near 7, with temperatures falling to around 0 in the afternoon. Wind chill values as low as -25. Northwest wind 25 to 29 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph.

Tonight
Partly cloudy, with a low around -8. Wind chill values as low as -35. Northwest wind 24 to 29 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph.

Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 15. Wind chill values as low as -32. West wind 8 to 22 mph.

Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. Wind chill values as low as -2. South wind 10 to 21 mph.

Sunday
Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. South wind around 22 mph.

Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29.

Monday
Partly sunny, with a high near 37.

 

Additional Photos

Kaaterskill Falls New York Hiking Trail Guide: Map, Trail Descriptions, Pictures & More
Photo credit – Wikipedia Commons

Kaaterskill Falls New York Hiking Trail Guide: Map, Trail Descriptions, Pictures & More

Andrea Davis
Andrea Davis

Andrea is a writer, hiker, and adventurer from New England. She enjoys snowboarding, sunrise hikes, winter, night hiking, traveling, and photography.