Kaaterskill Falls Trail

EASY 333 reviews
#1 of 11 trails in

Kaaterskill Falls Trail is a 2.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Elka Park, New York that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
2.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
839 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

waterfall

muddy

This trail is a short hike to a waterfall. In the summer you will want to check the water level because there might not be much water in the falls, and during periods of more rain the trail may be muddy. This is an easy hike along a well marked trail to the viewing platform and lower falls that experienced hikers and newcomers alike will enjoy. The difficulty increases as reach the waterfall but there are stairs put in and the trail is very well marked. This hike can be kid friendly, but watch children closely as the trail can be slippery. The waterfalls' fame in America really began when Washington Irving mentioned them in his story "Rip Van Winkle". The parking area is busy due to this being one of the more popular hiking trails in the Hudson Valley, so arrive early. Makes for a great weekend trip from New York City. The upper falls and viewing platform can also be accessed from Laurel House Road.

3 days ago

PARK AT LAUREL HOUSE ROAD! The trail and falls are simply awesome, but parking on 23A is insane. Continue past into Hunter and park above the falls, where they have beautiful trails leading to all parts and viewing areas. Im a little chubby and would call this moderate, not easy, but all in all just loved it!

hiking
17 days ago

We (me, husband, and 4 year old son) hiked this on a Tuesday morning (around 10am). We found an AWESOME trail guide online for this at https://hikethehudsonvalley.com/hikes/kaaterskill-falls-ii-upper-trailhead/
This helped us decide on the Laurel House Rd parking lot vs the one where you have to walk around the side of the road. We started at the parking lot and went to the viewing platform to get our first look at the falls. It was empty! For about 1 minute. After that, we made our way down the trail that led to the falls. It was very steep and tricky in some spots because it was our 4 year old’s first time on such a steep/long hike. The trail was easy to navigate and towards the end there are actual steps built into the side. Definitely check out the top waterfall trail that you come to first because it is amazing! Once you’re down at the bottom you can really explore around at your own level which was great. Bring a swimsuit if the weather permits! I wish we had because the pool at the bottom is great and we ended up getting pretty wet just exploring on the rocks. At the bottom a lot of people are coming and going and towards the afternoon it definitely got more crowded. The waterfall was worth the hike back up too and there’s enough to take in at the bottom that you’re really able to rest up for the trip back. Great spot and I can’t wait to go back!!

hiking
19 days ago

nice fall to see when level of water is higher but the trail
is nice and not hard to see.

21 days ago

Main parking lot was full. Had to park down the road. Kind of a dicey walk along the road to get to the trailhead. Trail was crowded and mostly vertical. Well maintained and beautiful waterfalls.

23 days ago

Great views and a manageable hike

hiking
28 days ago

Short, relatively easy, enjoyable hike that was simply exhilarating! The heavy rain storms last night & into this morning transformed the creek into a thundering, magnificent torrent, crashing & tumbling down into the gorge below. Highly recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

nice scenery , good hike uphill to the falls.. definitely worth the trip

cross country skiing
1 month ago

I loved

hiking
1 month ago

23A is not the correct parking lot. That lot is dangerous, very small, and easy to get boxed in. Continuing up the hill on 23a, there are 4 more parking lots that are much larger, much safer, some even closer to the falls. There is a parking lot behind the Mountaintop Historical Society--take the rail trail to the falls area (also cool to check out what the area used to look like back in the day). Laurel-House Rd Parking---can hold up to 50 cars, has porta-johns, is wheelchair friendly and it's a .3 mi hike to the viewing platform, .7 to the pools. Schutt Rd, just past Laurel-House road---another huge lot with porta-johns and trail access to the falls. North South Lake campground---trail access to the falls but you might have to pay a cheap day-use fee (still better than walking down 23a, super sketchy).

hiking
1 month ago

My husband and I hiked this trail with our 5 year old son and our toddler in a backpack carrier. The kids both did great. I’m really surprised this is rated as easy, but I guess it’s due to the length. I’d say it’s moderate and I hike often. You’ve got to definitely watch your step with all the rocks. I am so amazed at the amount of people we passed wearing flip flops or no shoes at all, you definitely need proper footwear to handle all the rocks,, they’re slippery. If you want to be able to take in the falls without a large crowd I’d suggest getting there very early in the morning. The walk to the trail head wasn’t ideal with kids along but it’s definitely manageable as long as you keep aware of cars. Overall, we enjoyed this hike and the falls a lot!

hiking
1 month ago

Great for anyone looking for a short day hike with a high reward. Such beautiful views will make you never want to leave.

This hike has always been a favorite with something for all levels. Lately they’ve made some changes to the trail to make it more accessible to beginners and families like fixing the boulder stairs and adding a deck to walk out on and view the falls.

It’s usually crowded, so come early or be careful walking on the road to the trail. Make sure you are fully in the shoulder of the road I’ve seen people get towed before!

1 month ago

Did it with three kids- 12,10 and 5. Little hard for the 5 year old with short legs.

Def .5 but straight up, steps helped the little one. Worth it! Rocks at top are slippery so be careful.

Parking SUCKS walking with three kids in a twisty road was scary.

1 month ago

Excellent fun climb, that’s short yet engaging. The problem is the parking. You have to park away from the trail and walk along a busy road - more a concern if you have kids with you.

hiking
1 month ago

Needs more parking.

1 month ago

Perfect hike with dog to enjoy falls on a sunny day.

2 months ago

Amazing waterfalls

2 months ago

This hike was great! The start was really fun because there was bearly a path and I felt like I was on American ninja warriors at the start of the 1st waterfall! The end wasn’t so good because it was just a gravelly Path right below the suns Ray. But Other then that, it was a great hike and I definitely recommend it

2 months ago

Did this trail last weekend, was easy just had to watch your step

hiking
2 months ago

Okay there is no denying this is an amazing waterfall. But this hike is no joke. Bring decent shoes(I saw Crocs, sandals and dressy heeled boots), bug spray(clouds of mosquitoes), a walking stick and a big dose of caution. There are slippery wet rocks, swaths of mud on hills, tree roots and a treacherous fall down. My father fell and hit his face on a rock here, was thankfully okay other than some superficial abrasions, but it was near the edge and could have gone badly. I know the DEC made safety improvements to this trail but there is still room for improvement. There are sheer rocky hills you have to scramble up, even on the trail. The looooong stone staircase has no rails and can also be slippery/wet with debris. I'm an experienced hiker so I'm not just wanting an easy stroll. But I understand how people die here. A nice bridge and viewing platform once you've made your way to the top. The parking area is after the trailhead and you also have to walk on 23A right where vehicles are making a sharp turn. Other than a flashing pedestrian sign, no effort has really been made to make it safe to walk to the trailhead.

2 months ago

Worth every step

hiking
2 months ago

The falls are really something to take in on this one.
aside from the grand scale of the falls and the beautiful landscape the one big problem I had was, seriously slippery stairs, they helped a lot but, wow.
Another big one is the walk in from the roadway, seriously dangerous with how the traffic is.
My biggest issue was the trail marker chasing at the intersections. you could follow a blaze till a junction and it would say .9, after a time you hit another junction and the same destination is now 1.3 miles away, and no there was no other trail to take or missed markers.
very odd but none the less an amazing time.

4 months ago

I went there yesterday and it was the bees knees. The beginning portion was very easy to navigate but it got real icy about midway through. The packed snow/ice normally wouldn’t have been an issue for me however it was one of those semi warm days so the ice started to melt making it really slick. I could only imagine how funny it was for other hikers watching me crawl the trail as my bald boots slid while they walked it with ease. Definitely recommend pointy trekking poles and or spikes for your shoes if you don’t wanna embarrass yourself. The waterfall itself was absolutely stunning. Icicles and mist from the water really added to the natural beauty of the waterfall itself. As an added bonus i got to slide down the hill on my butt on my way back. 11/10 would return

4 months ago

So much fun, and beautiful views! Went when there was still snow on the ground, would not recommend - very slick.

5 months ago

Beautiful hike today in the snow. The waterfall was maybe even more spectacular than the last time I came in the middle of summer. Icicles and snow really added to the beauty. The trail was definitely slick (more packed snow than ice); spikes or poles would be a good choice.

5 months ago

Beautiful breath taking view!

hiking
5 months ago

This was a lovely hike!

We hiked it on a bizarrely warm day in February with a small chihuahua.

There were difficult moments peppered into what was overall a moderate difficulty level. Pretty icy in the winter and for our warm day there was a ton of mud that got you slipping and sliding. You must be careful on this hike but with some good boots you’re ok. Hang onto the trees! Go topside to avoid the ice patches. Some ice patches are hidden under lots of mud so be careful.!

But again, we were with a chihuahua so it couldn’t be so hard, right?

Waterfall lookout at the top is beautiful. I wish there were picnic tables or something but we found a goood rock to snack upon.

So many stairs. But pretty and doable.

The middle section (after the initial rock scramble ) turns into a gorgeous sloping up and down adventure.

Trailhead from the road says something like “preservation” so be careful not to miss it. Parking lot gets super crowded but people are in and out all day so if you just wait a flash you’ll get a spot. A small bit of walking along the highway to get to the trail.

Crowded at the trailhead but winds up being pretty private because of all the space. A small moment of oh-my-god-cliffs. Just hang on. It’s short-lived.

Would do again any day. So would Puppito.❤️

6 months ago

Amazing and beautiful any time of year.

hiking
8 months ago

Such a beautiful waterfall! This trail has a mild rock scramble which makes it fairly difficult, but due to the length being less than a mile, I suppose easy is the right rating.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail! Nice and short hike on a beautiful brisk November morning. The beginning of the trail begins with a hike alongside the falls. The overlook point of the falls is beautiful! You can get pretty close. The stairs are tough but manageable. Make sure you take the walk to the overlook platform. Another beautiful, worth it view

9 months ago

between easy and moderate difficulty, especially as you ascend up the trail. definitely worth it to go all the way to the top. hiking boots will make the hike much easier. can be done in sneakers, but definitely not recommended. would do it again in the future.

Load More