Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 106 reviews

Rainbow Falls Trail is a 5.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Kerhonkson, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
688 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

scramble

This Rainbow Falls is located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County, New York (not to be confused with the Rainbow Falls and Indian Head trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve).The park includes dense hardwood forests, beautiful views, waterfalls, three lakes and numerous hiking trails. The park is managed by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Park in the lower parking area and take the Mossy Glen Trail (yellow), which is almost an immediate left off the lower Carriage Road( corner of parking lot ). The trail hugs the Peters Kill for almost 2 miles. Follow the trail left and up to the upper carriage road and make a right. Follow the Carriage Road for about a mile and look for the orange blaze on the right for Rainbow Falls Trail heading downhill. Follow the trail a short distance for about a half mile to the base of the falls. Continue along the base of the falls following the orange markers UP the short rock scramble. Once at the top enjoy the view of the Catskills in the distance, The parking fee is $10 per vehicle. Visitors might also be interested in nearby Castle Point and Lake Minnewaska.

hiking
18 days ago

Watch out for rattlesnakes! One was hiding under a rock I stepped near and warned me I was too close.
Good hike, but the falls were a little lacking with water. Maybe next time will be better.

hiking
1 month ago

I am 63. With a new hip. This was a terrific hike and a wonderful challenge for me. I went with my 12 year old son. The rock scrambling was short but as challenging as I want. After the falls was more difficult than the first part of the loop. The descent after the second scramble was difficult but rewarding. There were several descents and climbs and wonderful views. My 12 year old seemed half mountain goat and loved it. He was tired as well. I am slow so it took 6.5 hours including a 45 minute lunch break at the base of the falls. We even out ran a thunder storm! A great day!

2 months ago

Beautiful hike that offers a little of everything; small scrambles, waterfalls, views, footpaths. Perfect challenge to all levels.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a fun and scenic trail. Hiking along Peters Kill was nice as was the falls. There still chunks of snow in places which was neat. The rock scramble was short but getting under those falls was absolutely worth it. Take the short junt down to Lake Awosting if you have the time as well. Our course was basically Mossly Glen to Blue Berry Run to Rainbow falls to a quick side trip to Lake Awosting and then the Carriage way home.

hiking
2 months ago

Accurately rated as moderate, but as much a fun challenge as a harder trail. We took the Mossy Glen to Blueberry run to Rainbow Falls, and added the .4 sidetrack to Lake Awosting, taking the carriage road back. Great views, the falls were beautiful, and albeit small, the scramble was fun. I'm a fan of longer and more difficult trails, but for a moderate it was definitely worth it. Water proof shoes a plus.

hiking
2 months ago

Spring is always the best time to see these falls as they get real thin as summer rolls around.

hiking
2 months ago

This place is absolutely beautiful! The falls we're nothing short of awesome. Very nice hike with lots of beautiful terrain. The trail follows the water and keeps switching back from from woods to water. A nice amount of rock scrambles which was very fun. Gorgeous views of Catskills. It was a nice surprise to see some snow and ice in some areas as well. All in all this was a mildly moderate hike full of a whole bunch of awesomeness!

walking
3 months ago

Family friendly with paved trails; muddy and snowy at times during a late March stroll.

hiking
4 months ago

Always a favorite. Beautiful trail, so much variety. Had the falls all to ourselves. Will do this one over and over. I'd suggest getting to Minnewaska early - stupid kiosk installed to pay for parking which causes a long line of cars and longer to get in. Lots fill up fast!

hiking
4 months ago

Loved the trail. The mellow carriage road towards the end was just what we needed. The falls and surrounding ice was beautiful. Recommend using spikes of some sort as it was icy in some parts. Just a bit of reassurance on the slippery parts.

hiking
4 months ago

This was my first visit to Minnewaska. The hike was not strenuous, but was hindered a bit by a lot of ice. The ice added some challenge which I enjoyed. Rainbow Falls, frozen, is an amazing sight and the view of the Catskills is worth the trip.

5 months ago

Did this loop in late January 2018. Trail was pretty icy, I’d recommend bringing spikes. They’re not needed most of the time, but some sections were long stretches of thick ice over rock, particularly at the base of the falls.
The trail was beautiful, with a number of vistas along the way and had a great mix of terrain for moderate hiking. Almost no people too, which was a bonus in this popular park. There were a few sections that really needed some maintenance, but I attribute that to the extreme winds we had a few weeks ago. This hike takes you past the bottom of the falls and then up and over them. Getting both perspectives was very nice.
Would highly recommend this one.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful trail, I am in love with this place.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike on an absolutely gorgeous day. Pretty easy trail...not too much traffic. Highly recommended

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail in a beautiful day, 10 stars.

8 months ago

Loved this hike. Took the Yellow trail to the blue. Turned right on the carriage road and then onto the orange (Rainbow falls) trail. There was a long walk back on the carriage road, but it was a great hike and very peaceful.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail. Very dog friendly and not crowded at all

hiking
8 months ago

Great day- hardly another person on the trail. Some great fall colors

hiking
8 months ago

Truly a gorgeous hike. Colors were stellar. Trails were well marked. Cores were outstanding.

9 months ago

Stunning!

hiking
10 months ago

Well maintained trail. Took the mossy glen trail (now YELLOW unlike the description saying it is blue) to the upper carriage road and turned off into the orange trail (rainbow falls trail). I did not see much of a water fall on rainbow falls trail, as maybe the pool had drained, but almost to the point where mossy glen meets upper carriage there is a hidden waterfall on a switchback. Nice hike although the trail up to the top of rainbow falls is a bit of a skirmish

hiking
11 months ago

Only $10 for a whole day of fun. Nice trails, lots of options for beginners to advanced and everybody in between. We'll be back often.

11 months ago

Great trail, took our kids (5 & 3) and our two dogs we all had a blast!

11 months ago

terrible no parking 10 bucks to get in maps are terrible screw this place!!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Great trail, lots of scenic viewpoints.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Absolutely loved this hike. Stunning views all the way around. Great find - check out the German restaurant right outside of the park for a post hike treat!

hiking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

This is a beautiful trail. I took a wrong turn and modified it a little, but was worth it. Will definitely do it again.

Monday, May 15, 2017

it was a good trail! I wouldn't really recommend dogs. I had to pick up my two labs and help them climb up the side of the rock part of the mountain. overall it was good!

hiking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

BEAUTIFUL SCENERY. Waterfall, stream, mts.
Great falls after a heavy rain. Won't be much if it's been dry, but the hike is gorgeous either way.

We parked in the lower parking lot and took the mossy glen trail (yellow), which is almost an immediate left off the lower carriage road. ( corner of parking lot ).
This trail hugs the peters kill for almost 2 miles. The water tumbles over so many rocks / boulders it's beautiful. We followed the blue trail left and up to the upper carriage road and made a right.
Follow the carriage road for about a mile and look for the orange blaze on the right for rainbow falls trail heading downhill. (Easy to miss.. pay attention).
Follow the trail for about a half mile to the base of the falls. Continue along the base of the falls following the orange markers UP the short rock scramble.
Once at the top enjoy the view of the Catskills in the distance. WOW.
We followed this trail to the lower carriage road and made a right which leads back to the parking lot in about 2 miles or so.
Check out our recording for help if needed.

hiking
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Worth it!

Load More