The Catskills are home to some of the most amazing sights in New York State. But with so many great attractions, where should you even start? We’ve compiled a list of the best stops for your next journey through the Catskills! From hikes to historic sites, canopy tours to cliff carvings, you’ll find it all right here.
260 feet high in total, the Kaaterskill Falls has been a tourist attraction since the 1800s. Artists found inspiration in the Falls’ beauty, and in his famous story “Rip Van Winkle,” Washington Irving cemented its place as a must-see Catskills attraction. The Falls sits at the end of a short, steep hike. Find the trailhead along Route 23, where you can catch a glimpse of nearby Bastion Falls.
Monticello Casino & Raceway
With over 1,000 slot machines, live music, and year-round harness racing, a trip to Monticello Casino & Raceway means a full day of entertainment! Located only two hours northwest of Manhattan, this premier destination also offers fantastic dining options: enjoy a delicious meal and drinks at The Upper Deck, kick back with a game at The Press Box pub, or grab a bite at the Food Court on your way to the slots. To plan your trip, visit MonticelloCasinoAndRaceway.com.
Catskill Scenic Trail
Explore the beautiful mountain scenery of the Catskills with a stroll along this scenic trail! About 26 miles in length, the trail runs from Roxbury in the east to Bloomville in the west. In the summer, enjoy the warm weather with a hike, bike, or picnic. Colorful foliage is spectacular in the fall, and in the winter, the trail is great for cross-country skiing. Remember to check out the Delaware River, which runs along the trail for 4 miles from Hobart to Stamford.
Learn about the lives of early settlers with historical demonstrations, exhibits, and craft activities! Fort Delaware offers a fun and educational outing for the whole family. The museum is open every weekend from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, and every Friday through Monday from the last Friday in June to Labor Day. Tickets are only $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children. For more information on ticket prices and admission, call 845-252-6660 from May to August or 845-807-0287 from September to April.
Take a tour of the northernmost lighthouse on the Hudson River! Also known as the Hudson City Light, this beautiful little lighthouse was constructed in 1874 to aid ships as they navigated the water. Nestled in the center of the river with the mountains as its backdrop, the lighthouse has become an iconic Catskills landmark. In 1946, it was even featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post for its December 28 issue. To learn more about the lighthouse’s history and enjoy its gorgeous views, come visit on the second Saturday of the month from July to October.
Mountain Top Arboretum
Have you ever been to a mountaintop garden? Enjoy beautiful views and plantlife when you visit Mountain Top Arboretum, a public garden with an elevation of 2,400 feet. The garden is open from dawn to dusk all year round, and features four areas to explore: West Meadow, Woodland Walk, East Meadow, and Spruce Glen.
See the Catskills like never before: high in the sky! At Hunter Mountain, you can take the Scenic Skyride to the summit—3,200 feet up, and offering a breathtaking view of the high peaks, Berkshire Mountains, and Green Mountains. From there, take a hike to the highest fire tower in New York State. The Hunter Mountain Fire Tower stands at an incredible 4,040-foot elevation. And if you’re looking for an adventure, head over to New York Zipline Canopy Tours at the base of Hunter Mountain. Complete obstacles at the Adventure Tower or take the longest, fastest, and highest zipline canopy tour in North America!
Camp out, kayak, picnic, and more! Enjoy the Great Outdoors at the Catskill Forest Preserve’s largest campground. North-South Lake offers access to hiking trails that range in length and difficulty, but always end with the best views. The trails are open all year, so don’t forget your snowshoes in the winter!
Olana State Historic Site
Discover the historic home and grounds of Frederic Church, world-famous painter, architect, and landscape designer. Inspired by Persian architecture, Olana gets its name from the ancient city of Olane on the Araxes River. Church’s impressive home overlooks the Hudson and currently hosts exhibits and events throughout the year. For more information, call 518-828-0135.
“New York’s Mount Rushmore” in Prattsville is a unique stop on any Catskill Mountains tour. As the legend goes, wealthy entrepreneur Zadock Pratt had his life story carved into a cliff overlooking his farm. The job was carried out by a penniless man who, in 1843, asked Zadock for a handout. Learning, however, that the man was a stonecutter, Pratt put him straight to work. His plan was to be buried in a tomb carved into the cliff (underneath a giant carving of his own head), but heavy rainfall would cause the tomb to leak. Nonetheless, Zadock insisted that the stone-cutter complete the job. He didn’t stop until Zadock’s death 28 years later.
Zoom Flume Water Park
Water lovers and thrill-seekers will want to spend the day at this popular Catskills water park. With attractions like the Typhoon Twister, a 300-foot bowl slide into a canyon, and the Grand Prix Splashway, a three-lane race ending with a drop, your summer is sure to be an unforgettable one! Zoom Flume is open from mid-June through Labor Day. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-239-6271.