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Hike to Kaaterskill Falls

The trail leading to Kaaterskill Falls is situated on Route 23A west of the town of Palenville, New York. You can access Route 23A from the New York State Thruway at exit 21. Hiking here makes for a great day trip. It is the tallest waterfall in the state of New York at 260 feet. Yes, even taller than the world-famous Niagara Falls. It has inspired artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, and you can behold its beauty at the end of a moderate, half-mile hike. There are two paths to get to the waterfall. You can either drive all the way to the Kaaterskill Falls Viewing Platform parking lot and make your way from the top of the falls to the bottom of the falls or drive to the parking lot off of 23A and make your way up from the lower trailhead starting at the base of Bastion Falls. It just takes less than 20 minutes each way to get a view of the waterfall. 

This is a very popular spot and you will have trouble parking on nice days, and definitely on weekends.  From the parking area you have to walk downhill along Route 23A, but there are usually other hikers to follow.  Walking endways this road is to some extent off putting because it is narrow and curvy, and cars come close.  Walk behind the guardrail when possible.  You’ll see a waterfall (Bastian Falls) that abuts the road, and this is where the trails up to the falls are. 


Hiking: it’s known that here the trail is as "easy" for some, but "moderate" is probably a more accurate description. Established only a half-mile each way, so it's not a terribly difficult distance. Here the hike is quite steep, and the trail is fairly tough terrain with rocks to scale, tree roots the circumference of my arm to watch out for, and some slick patches, especially in the spring and fall when ice lingers later and forms earlier up in the Catskills. 

It was once that there exists a path from the viewing platform that would lead you to the very top of the falls, but this path is no longer exists. I’m guessing that this is also due to new safety measures put in place. It has changed a lot in a few years!

Swimming: since you are climbing up rock and root steps it is tiring, and a moderate hike for healthy people.  It’s definitely a tourist attraction, but worth visiting.  Manifold foundations indicate the people swim here, but we didn’t observe any. You can either decide to take a dip in the pool and then go back to the starting point at the lower trailhead or continue up to the viewing platform.



Hike Hike
Photography Photography
Relaxing Relaxing
Tourism Tourism


Child Friendly Child Friendly
Dog friendly Dog friendly
Picnic Area Picnic Area
Parking Parking

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