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Your guide to Catskill Mountains
Welcome to the Catskills
Nature carves out its own brand of beauty in the Catskill Mountains, sandwiched between Albany and New York City, with more than 700,000 acres of pure wilderness to explore in Catskill Park. With 98 mountain peaks across four counties — Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, and Ulster — the area is technically a plateau bridging the Hudson Valley and the Appalachian Mountains. Featuring rivers, lakes, and streams cutting through the varied terrain, the scenery sets an inspiring background for any kind of outdoor adventure — and a serious dose of fresh mountain air.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Catskill Mountains?
Every season brings a new delight to the area. The summer weather is ripe for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and fishing among the lush green foliage, with pleasantly warm days capped off with cooler evenings. In the fall, the region shows off its true colors with stunning shades of fall foliage that usually peak in the middle of October. The bare branches of winter bring out adventurers seeking snowsports as well as those looking for some old-fashioned cozy mountain hygge. By the time the cool mountain breeze fills the area, spring blooms again as the outdoor activities ramp up. Celebrations fill the Catskills calendar year-round, including the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in the summer and the Taste of the Catskills Festival in the fall.
What are the top things to do in Catskill Mountains?
The mesmerizing two-tier waterfall — plunging 260 feet down — is the highest cascading one in New York state. A 1.4-mile roundtrip hike leads to the natural beauty that has been immortalized in various forms, mostly famously as the site where the literary hero of an early-19th-century short story took his two-decade-long nap.
Ignoring the fact that the famous Woodstock music festival actually happened in Bethel, an hour away from its namesake town, Woodstock is no doubt still proud of its free-spirited reputation. Explore the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House and get snap-happy at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, before heading to nearby Saugerties to wander the 6.5 acres of earthwork sculpture at Opus 40 and then to Mount Tremper to peer into the world’s largest kaleidoscope, the 60-foot Emerson Kaleidoscope inside a silo.
Whatever kind of mountain adventure you’re in the mood for, this 8,000-acre nature preserve is the answer. There’s hiking on its 70 miles of trails, biking along the carriage roads, running through its fields and forests, horseback riding on its wide pathways, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing across the terrain, and — most famously — climbing the Shawangunks cliffs, better known as simply the Gunks.