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Trail is no longer maintained and part of it appears to have been purchased by a private owner who has clearly posted no trespassing signs.

Can be very muddy and slippery if there has been rain recently. Otherwise quite pleasant and accurately described.

I was so impressed by how well-maintained the trail is! The stairs and bridge made the trail feel very safe despite being on a pretty steep incline. Even though it was a short distance, the rocks to climb and bigger switchback near the topmost tier of the falls made me feel like I was still getting a great hike in.

I could see it getting very busy during the afternoon (and was told so by someone I bumped into on my way down), but getting there around 8 am allowed me to park in the first lot with easy access to the trailhead and have the trail nearly entirely to myself - including the upper observation deck, on which I got to look at the falls by myself for quite a while. It’s a gorgeous view and was a perfect fall hike.

hiking
22 days ago

Easy trail in summer and early fall. Watch out for slick rocks during rain and especially ice patches in the winter. The amphitheater midway through the larger falls is just incredible. Several people die here each year, so be careful. It helps to take a single trekking pole for balance and insurance. I did and I’m glad I did. Have fun! This place is breathtaking in October.

We had great time at this trail.
We went to the caskill house look out first, then turn on the blue trail, artist rock, sunset rock to Newman Ledge. Then turned back the same trail back to north Lake parking lot. We saw the rainbow nearby Sunset Rock, twice & two rainbows. Amazing. It was very windy, raining & cold when we got to the sunset rock site; less then 10mins. Need to go back again.

Hiked the Escarpment Trail counterclockwise. Walked down the little detour to the Kaaterskill Falls and made a loop behind the upper falls. This is not to be missed as the falls are in a spectacular setting and if you're careful and have good boots, you can carefully walk behind the falls and make a loop around the upper basin, explicit warnings of "deaths have occurred in this area" in mind.
I then continued on the Escarpment Trail to Layman's Monument, Inspiration Point, Boulder Rock, and the site of the Catskill Mountain House (CMH).
Note that the Alltrails map shows a trail that is supposed to run parallel to South Lake Road, beginning a bit south of the CMH. However, I could not find the first section, even after verifying the GPS location. So I hiked back to Boulder Rock and found the trail, but there are no trail markers and it turned out to be a rather wild trail that seems barely used and is not maintained. The GPS was really needed in this section, as I lost the barely visible trail multiple times. There were multiple fallen trees, mossy and hollow ground, and an overall feeling of being in the middle of the wild, which is very nice if you're into that. I eventually came out onto South Lake road and made a left on the South Lake Access Rd which brought me back to the Escarpment Trail.
The entire hike with these extensions was 8 miles, but next time I'll probably stick to the original loop, just adding the Kaaterskill Falls viewing platform and a hike down to the basins.

The photos that people are posting of the lake are false. That is a different hike in Keene, NY. Don't let them mislead you.

The falls itself is beautiful when viewed from either the upper viewing deck or from below. A strong word of caution is that in wet weather the trail down to the falls becomes very wet and extremely slippery. The trail itself is narrow and borders a sharp cliff before transforming into the rock steps that guides hikers to the falls themselves. People are frequently injured on this descent and I would advise groups to take their time be careful with children and be mindful of the weather to ensure all can have a safe fun time enjoying the beautiful scenery.

I am extremely disappointed in how visitors of the Catskills behave when they’re at the falls. Whether it’s the lower or upper falls trail, people always seem to be making it a mess for everyone else. People parking and standing in the middle of the road, standing in the middle of the road to direct traffic while they back their cars right up to the falls, parking all over the side of the mountain road (at least they get ticketed), going way too close to the cliff edges, swimming in the water right before the waterfall...I can’t believe it. People act out of line at the falls and it’s unsafe for them as well as the people who are just driving up the road. The falls is one of the most beautiful places in the Catskills but skip it if you’re not in the mood to deal with disrespectful visitors. If people don’t shape up, they’ll ruin it for everyone and the falls will be closed. Hopefully a shuttle system from Palenville or Haines Falls will fix this. But for now, visit any of the less crowded waterfalls near by.

Awesome fall colors illuminated the forests leading to Kaaterskill falls. A little steep at times and leaves make for slightly slippery terrian. but overall fantastic hike.

Hiked October 13, 2018. Rained the night before, so it was very muddy - not much drainage to speak of. Some mild scrambling, nothing to be afraid of. Some views towards the top. Leaves were out in force, which made it worth it. Be advised that the peak is wooded and unmarked. Made that mistake the first time I did this hike - you’ll have no idea you’re at the top until you start going down again. Pretty slippery on the way down, but we took our time. We did this in just over 5 hours with plenty of breaks. Would rate this as moderate.

amazing views, great hike rock scramble was fun. Get their early or you will park 3 miles down the road.

Lovely moderate hike. We we to take-in the beginning of the Fall and see the foliage. We started at the North Lake ground, as suggested, and followed the Blue trail to Artist Rock and Sunset Rock (both amazing views). Then continued all the way up to North Point. That was an amazing spot to sit and take in the stunning views. We followed the red trail back down through the forest, which was also pretty great. Note that the red path finishes on the road, and you have to walk on the road for 10 minutes to complete the loop.

hiking
1 month ago

Trailhead parking off of State Highway 23A is limited—be prepared to walk 1/2 mile from the lower lot along blind curves and small shoulders. Follow the trail from Bastion Falls to the base of Kaaterskill Falls. From there, you can choose to enjoy from below and double back or hike up the stairs to a middle falls viewpoint. Be careful: a kid nearly skipped off the edge (loose rocks, mud, and waterfall spray make it very slippery). Continue up the stairs and through a short forest walk a Spruce Creek bridge. There are two viewing places after that: one fenced off (that many were ignoring to hang their boots over the top of the waterfall ledge—and whose feet are in my photos) and a viewing platform with beautiful views of Kaaterskill High Peak and Roundtop Mountain. Aside from blunt safety ignorances and the crowded parking/trail: I understand why everyone wants their photo in front of the falls. This is one of the few hikes I'd say go later in the day as the falls face West.

Beautiful views, tough trail. Very muddy, and one particularly steep section (read: you must climb up a rock face). Overall, this trail is dedicated to my trekking poles, without whom I would have face-planted many times.

We also went up twin mountain from here: highly recommend. The view from there is breathtaking.

Very pleasant.

This trail is absolutely lovely — it has just about everything you could want in a short 5-7 mile hike. This is one that I could do over and over again. Artist’s Rock (almost right at the trailhead) and Newman’s Ledge are essentially the same view — but Sunset Rock is the real star. There is a terrific variety of views and terrain / landscapes (blue and yellows offer some tremendous views / scrambles to start while the reds offers some wet deep forest action). Note that there are certainly some steep climbs / descents that require hand usage to scale; especially if you are taking the loop all the way to North Point.

We started on the Blue Trail from the North Lake parking lot (note that the trail head is just ahead of / before the parking lot entrance). It tends to get somewhat busy so I would recommend getting on the trail before 10/11am or so. While there are some moderately challenging sections, it is an awesome hike for folks all along the skill spectrum.

Tip: All of the scenic lookouts are along the first blue / yellow sections of the trail if that is what you are specifically looking for.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing — best bang for your buck if you are looking for a very quick trip with the satisfaction of a lovely waterfall. This place is simply beautiful and must be visited IMO if you are in the area... but it is certainly not a true hike. We were completely by ourselves on an early morning trip in early October — and very surprised that it did not see more foot traffic.

hiking
1 month ago

excellent hike. walk along road to trail is nerve wracking but is short. initial rock scramble is fun and some challenge. stairs at top are long. I would rate as moderate since involves plenty of rocks, mud, and road. beautiful large trees.

Great walk through pretty forest and along escarpment. Beautiful views. Add the path to the low waterfall towards the end of the walk for some beautiful scenery. This section is busy and can get very slippery. There are also steps to climb done to the falls (183)

Hiked in from Kaaterskill RR trail and hit up the falls before heading to Inspiration Point. Didn’t make it to Boulder Rock this time.

Beautiful view of the waterfall from the begin to the big water fall at the end. The trail walk was easy but make sure to go early so that you get parking space close to the trail since it gets packed and it's right on the highway.

hiking
1 month ago

short hike to reach the falls.

Beautiful View. Easy Hike! Make sure to park at Laurel House Road. Be very careful and stay on trails.

Nice trail. Great views!!! Some Rocky areas were harder/slippery and some trees have fall on the trail. Good variety of views and landscapes

Great hike went with a few friends and my pup everyone loved it! Took a dip at the waterfall! Easy trail

2 months ago

Amazing waterfall and great views! Nice place to cool of in the summertime.

The best hike I've found so far within a reasonable driving distance of NYC.

Meilleur hike que j’ai fais jusqu’à présent ! La vue était incroyable. 4h allez/retour avec les pauses et le dîner au sommet. Je le recommande

It is simply the best hike I have taken. The views are astonishing. Highly recommended.

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