Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 233 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, nature trips, and bird watching 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

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

muddy

scramble

fee

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
icy
muddy
scramble
10 days ago

Falls trail is incredibly icy, even though it is 60 degrees out. Not safely passable at all without spikes. Also icy on parts of Mossy Glen. I have to say we were disappointed by this trail, given the reviews and given the beauty of other Minnewaska trails. Lacks the spectacular cliff walks and views of nearby trails. Falls were pretty but didn't knock our socks off. Mossy Glen trail was the best part of the hike, very pretty by the water. For first time visitors, pick a different hike if you want the cliff experience!! Gertrude's Nose or Hamilton/castle point.

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
11 days ago

Fantastic hike with diverse terrain. A challenging winter hike due to a lot of ice, especially treacherous around the falls. We followed the route suggested here and clocked it at 6.5 miles. Yellow trail along the Peter’s Kill to Blueberry Run then Awosting Carriage Road to the orange Rainbow Falls trail. The orange trail was full of snow and ice- to get near the falls it was all climbing on icy rocks, definitely need spikes. Some beautiful mountain views further along the orange trail. On a weekday in January we didn’t see another person the entire hike. The falls were full of ice but still rushing - a beautiful sight. Taking the carriage road back was a relaxing way to end a great day.

hiking
icy
17 days ago

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

The trail is easy in places, and in a couple of places difficult. Great waterfall and good views. Parking costs ten dollars per car

hiking
flooded
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Great trails. Even was able to tack-on some short loops around the main loop and the carriageways. Definitely a challenging but very doable hike. Only one part coming down would be potentially difficult with kids or a dog.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Good hike, made it 7 miles, all the views are around the 3 mile half way point. Parking doesn't open until 9, but I found a small lot for another trail about three quarters of a miles down the road that's was open.

hiking
4 months ago

The hike had a little of everything that Minnewaska has to offer. The trails are well maintained. The beginning trails in and out of the Pete’s Kill River. A few steep hikes to the Upper Awosting Carriageway then down to Rainbow Falls. A nice place to have lunch. The return to the Lower Awosting Carriageway was steep, definitely some scrambling, tight places, steep trails but short inclines. After that the views are amazing. I diverted from the trail and took Jenny Lane Trail. It’s a short uphill climb on the return for more amazing views instead of dodging bikes on the carriage trail. A mile or so you have to turn off the Blue trail back to the Carriageway. I highly recommend the Jenny Lane Trail back.

hiking
5 months ago

Well-marked trail that’s shared with lots of bikers. While the trail is mostly flat, our group sought out the scenic outlooks and waterfalls along the way, which added distance and climb to the route. Scenic outlook is definitely worth it.

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail we had an awesome time with our family, I little hard to follow the example trail so we went a different way we took a longer yet easier trail because we had some kids with us many ways to do this hike beautiful water fall

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

No fall in the summer. Half of the trail is shared with bikers. Lots of bugs. View is good at look out points. Would be better to come in spring.

hiking
6 months ago

Well marked and maintained trail. The falls are nice , but my favorite spot was a ledge after the falls with sweeping north facing views.

recorded Recording - Jun 01, 03:28 PM

hiking
muddy
7 months ago

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

Awesome hike

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike, fun terrain. Took yellow from lower parking lot, made a right on blue, to orange, took orange to the lake and Catskill Mountains view, doubled back to the carriage road, carriage road to blueberry trail (left) then finished by taking yellow back. Yellow follows a cool river and used it to soak my feet on the way back. Really enjoyed this hike. Very well marked hike. Get there early! Park opens at 9am.

Beautiful

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

This was a great hike. Took Lower Carriage to Mossy Glenn (yellow) Great views of the river and cool little bridge. Turned left on Blueberry Run (blue) and walked up a short but steep hill to Upper Carriage. Turned right onto Rainbow Falls (orange) and walked to the bottom of the waterfall. Continued up Rainbow Falls and enjoyed lunch at the peak. Wide open, great views, and not crowded. Turned left on Lower Carriage to see the lake, it was okay, and then backtracked to finished walking to the parking lot on Lower Carriage. Total about 6.5 miles and best part was all trails were marked really well and had large detailed maps at all intersections. Made it super easy to not get lost.

hiking
7 months ago

Followed the route until we got on the carriage way after the orange rainbow falls trail. To walk back to the parking lot on the carriage way would have been ok, but we wanted more trail hiking, so we took the blueberry run trail back the mossy glen trail back to the parking lot.

hiking
8 months ago

nice trail, was there after a rain fall on a sunday. lots of water and mud so bring weatherproof hiking shoes. the waterfall was beautiful and we were lucky to have it all to ourselves. last two miles are an easy walk down a gravel road, nothing exciting.

9 months ago

little wet and muddy. Need waterproof hiking boots. Beautiful day . Beautiful views

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