The Catskills, or better known as The Catskills Mountains, are located in the south-east region of New York, 2 hours north of New York City. The Catskills are known for their abundance of wildlife and nature, making it a travel destination for recreational activities. As the Catskills are filled with forests, mountains, serene streams and rivers, creeks, and waterfalls, many nature lovers make this place their escape from the bustling city, and many refer to the Catskills as a perfect place for a weekend getaway. Biking, canoeing, kayaking, and many more things can be enjoyed in this city.
There’s just so much that this area has to offer that you won’t even know where to begin! Here’s a list of the best things to do in the Catskills:
1 - Experience North America’s highest, fastest, and longest zip line
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Get your adrenaline pumping with the largest, highest, and longest zip line in the whole of North America! Located at Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, at Hunter New York, The New York Zipline consists of 3 adventure tours: the SkyRider, Mid Mountain Canopy Tour, and the Adventure Tower.
The Skyrider is the main attraction of the place, boasting its 600-feet-above-ground (183-metres-above-ground) criss-crossing twin zip lines that’ll have you soaring for 4.6 miles (7.4 kilometers) through the different mountain peaks of the Catskills. You’ll travel as fast as 50 miles per hour (80.5 kilometers per hour)! You’ll be required to learn the necessary skills at the Zipline Pilot Training School before the Skyrider tour.
The Mild Mountain Outdoor Adventure consists of ziplines, rope bridges, and aerial tree platforms that are suitable for adventure loving families. In 2015, they introduced their newest activity of Night Zipping. There are illuminated tree platforms that you and your family will be guided to by nothing else but the moon. What better way to fuel your adventurous nature than going on a night adventure?
The last route, the Adventure Tower, consists of four stories of aerial rope courses, climbing ropes, and also cable walks. There are also obstacle courses that will thrill people who want to test their physical and mental strengths.The best part of the tour? When you finally get up the 60-foot (18.3-meter) tower and start rappelling down!
All three adventures are family-friendly, making them suitable for all adventurers above the age of 10. They are also really strict in the safety measures and guidelines so you can enjoy this exciting experience safely.
The New York Zipline Adventure Tour
Address: 64 Klein Ave Hunter, NY 12442
Price: from 19 USD
Opening Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Website: The New York Zipline Adventure Tour
2 - Enjoy an 11-minute skyride
How about enjoying the stunning views of the northern Catskills, while having your feet dangling in a chairlift, 3,200 feet (975 meters) above the ground? The Scenic Skyride located at the Hunter Mountain offers skyrides that will take a one-way trip of about 11 minutes, in their six-passenger Kaatskill Flyer detachable chairlift. Sit back and relax while enjoying the amazing views of the northern Catskills’ high peaks, and, on some days, you can also see the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont. The skyride may not operate during unfavourable weather and infants are not allowed on the ride.
Apart from the skyride, there are also hiking trails for those who want to enjoy the views beyond the chairlift. The trails lead to the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, a 4,040-foot (1,231-meter) tower, making it the highest fire tower in New York.
Group rates are available by reservations only and with a required minimum size of 20.
Address: Rt 23A Hunter, NY 12442
Price: from 11 USD
Opening Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: 11 am - 4 pm, Saturdays: 10 am - 5 pm Sundays: 10 am - 4 pm
Website: Scenic Skyride
3 - Admire the natural beauty of Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls is one of the most popular attractions in the region, and is located in The Great Northern Catskills, Greene County. It is the highest cascading waterfall in New York and consists of tiers that are 260 feet (79 meters) high. The Kaaterskill Falls boasts stunning natural beauty and landscapes that attract tourists, photographers, and nature lovers.
Kaaterskill Falls has also seen many poets, painters, and filmmakers coming here from all over the world, penning and painting works with inspiration from these scenic falls. For the adventurers, climb high to enjoy views of the gorgeous Hudson River Valley, one of New York’s natural wonders. It is required that hikers follow the marked trail signs, and not the unmarked ones that veer off into the forests as they can lead to erosion on trails; hikers can get lost or injured if they don’t follow the correct trails. Hikers are also advised not to climb on the rocks around or under the waterfall, and proper footwear is required.
The Kaaterskill Falls
Address: Rt. 23A Haines Falls, NY 12436
Website: The Kaaterskill Falls
4 - Be amazed at Pratt Rock Park, "a monument to vanity"
Pratt Rock Park, located in Prattsville, is a rock face consisting of a series of stone carvings that depict the life of Zadock Pratt, who was supposed to be buried in a tomb that was carved into the stone. However, due to water leakage through the rock overhead that created a small recessed chamber, work was halted because excavating the stone became difficult. The rock was initially a monument for Pratt’s son, George W. Pratt, who was killed in the Civil War. Today, it is considered as the first memorial of the Civil War.
Pratt Rock Park was named as “New York’s Mount Rushmore” by Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and others have called it “a monument to vanity”. The place was also listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Pratt Rock Park
Address: Rt 23 Prattsville, NY 12468
Website: Pratt Rock Park
5 - Hike, boat, or fish at North-South Lake
North-South Lake is a campground located in the Catskill Forest Preserve near Paleville, New York. It is near Catskill Mountain House. The campground attracts thousands of visitors annually, making it one of the most popular state properties in Catskill Park.
Catskill Park is just a short drive from New York City and is renowned as the nation’s first wilderness. Also, unlike other state and national parks, Catskill Park doesn’t require a fee to enter and there are no gates closed during the night. Catskill Park houses five of the ten highest peaks in Greene County. As Catskill Park is known for its abundance of wildlife, visitors can expect to see wild animals such as bears, coyotes, and snakes. It is highly advised to exercise caution around wild creatures.
North-South Lake offers many opportunities to carry out recreational activities as well, with hiking being the most popular. There are many trails that lead to the different attractions such as Kaaterskill Falls and the Mountain House. Guests can also enjoy views of the very famous Hudson Valley when they hike along the Escarpment Trail.
During the summer, recreational activities such as swimming, camping, fishing, paddle boating, and more can be enjoyed. There are also rentals of equipment available. Fishing is widely popular at North-South Lake, where fishermen from far and wide try their luck in catching the chain pickerel, the brown bullhead, the pumpkinseed, and others. Visitors are advised to swim in the day, when lifeguards are available. North-South Lake also features pavilions, bath houses, and a playground.
Address: County Route 18 Haines Falls, NY 12436
Website: North-South Lake
More than just a destination for nature lovers
Apart from its adventure opportunities, Catskills also boasts a brilliant amount of culture. The city hosts frequent events and festivals throughout the year. The themes of the festivals range from arts, culture, music, and even food, and the festivals are suitable for people of all ages. There are also some unique themes, such as the Delaware County Fair, which is an agricultural fair that consists of livestock contests, farm equipment displays, and other farming-related activities and exhibits. There is also Lark in The Park, an event that goes on for over 10 days consisting of outdoor recreation adventures. The Catskills has also been a place for inspiration for artists, musicians, and writers, mainly due to its richness in culture and serenity.
With so many things to do in the Catskills, this mountainous area in New York sure exudes a ton of charm that attracts any kind of traveler.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.