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

Tonight
Partly cloudy, with a low around 48. West wind around 6 mph.

Sunday
A chance of rain showers between 11am and 2pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 63. South wind 5 to 12 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Sunday Night
Showers and thunderstorms likely before 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. Southwest wind 7 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Monday
Scattered rain showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 64. Southwest wind 7 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Monday Night
Scattered rain showers before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 48. Southwest wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tuesday
A chance of rain showers after 8am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 61. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tuesday Night
A chance of rain showers before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

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

Photo credit – Tianyu Wang

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.