April 18, 2021 Usage of the Catskill Park and its facilities has grown tremendously for the past several years. During the pandemic of 2020-21, the growth only increased as folks everywhere turned to the great outdoors for a safe space to seek recreation. As the pandemic winds down, we anticipate a sustained increase in Park visitorship and in use of our trails, other infrastructure and wild places throughout the Catskills.
The rise in usage has resulted in crowded parking lots, illegal roadside parking and an exponential increase in garbage being left behind by park visitors at high use areas like Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove and Colgate Lake. To help mitigate these problems, parking regulations have been expanded and strictly enforced. Dozens of volunteers have been helping park staff and trail stewards clean up after the heavy traffic of weekend visits. Please be responsible and pack out what you pack into these beautiful natural environments.
Another effect of increased usage is seen on the trails themselves. Foot beds are widening far beyond the acceptable width, trampling adjacent plant life and contributing to erosion. Hikers should stay on the trail, avoid walking side-by-side and pass other hikers carefully, yielding where possible and maintaining single file at all times. It is up to us to protect the Catskills wilderness and preserve it for future generations. To do so, it is important that we cooperate in practicing sustainable use that benefits us all.
Always follow Leave No Trace principles when recreating in conserved natural places wherever you go.
SUNY Delhi students volunteered with the CMC to join in Community Service Day activities in Delhi. Part of the Village of Delhi Bicentennial celebration, the crew worked on maintenance of the Bulldog Trails on Delaware Academy lands. The day’s vols were 4-year veterans of the CMC/SUNY Delhi collaboration. We are so proud to work with these great students on a project that serves the Delhi and Catskills hiking communities.
Enjoy a 3.5 mile loop hike on Bramley Mountain. The hike will go through an abandoned quarry 1.9 miles to the summit which was the site of a fire tower. See the remnants of the fire tower, learn about its history and about the current project to rebuild it. The top of the mountain features wide-open views of the Delaware River Valley and the Western Catskills.
The trail is moderately difficult, and we will be hiking at a leisurely pace. Hike will start at 10:00AM at the Bramley Mountain Trailhead on Glen Burnie Road.
Sign up by May 8th with John Sandman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Bramley Hike in subject line.
This hike is sponsored by the Delhi Village Bicentennial Committee and by the Catskill Mountain Club. Rain date May 16.
Covid-19 Guidelines: Wear a mask while congregated in the parking lot or at other sites. Hike single file, following social distancing protocols. Avoid carpooling except with members of your household. Use your own pen when signing in, or use hand sanitizer.
Note: As vaccination rates rise, risks decrease. We will phase out these guidelines when rates improve significantly. In the meantime, please protect others and yourself by following these simple, CDC endorsed guidelines.
April 21, 2021 This past year has been a time change for the Delhi Trails. First, a logging operation began that forced the closing of the northern section of the Gribley Trail last fall and was then suspended for winter. It will resume soon. Watch for an announcement of the temporary closing of the trail.
Second, the southern section of the Smith Pond Trail was closed due to the wishes of the private landowner, who had previously permitted it. We are currently working on a rerouting that will include two sections. One section will return to the Smith Pond kiosk on Rt. 28. A spur will connect to the parking lot at the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Hikers will be able to hike a loop and return to either of the parking areas. (Please do not park in the church lot during Sunday services.) Overflow parking is available at the Sheldon Drive parking lot on the north side of Delaware Academy.
Third, later this year we will reroute part of the Gribley Trail so that the hiking trail is not co-aligned with the snowmobile trail. By doing so, we will create a safer and better experience for snowmobilers and for hikers.
An Unacceptable Proposal
While we support all responsible efforts to create alternative means of producing electric energy, those efforts must take into account the effects on communities and on conserved areas that are vital to the ecological health and well being of our planet. The Catskill Park, America’s First Wilderness, is such a place. Established by New York State and protected by the state constitution as “forever wild’, it deserves and must receive the highest degree of protection possible. The Premium Energy project would cause permanent and irreparable harm, and, therefore, it must be rejected.
It is the CMC’s opinion that the proposal is without merit and that FERC should deny the application. We encourage individual citizens; to express their opposition by posting a comment with FERC by using this link: https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx. Comments are due no later than April 12.
For more information, you can read comments by the Town of Olive and from other sources here: https://town.olive.ny.us/news/ferc-proposal-for-the-ashokan-pumped-storage-hydro-facility/
March 12, 2021 Beginning on March 21st, the first day of spring, the requirements for completing the 4 Seasons 140 and Catskills Grid 420 programs will reflect the closure of Doubletop and Graham Mountains to public access by replacing them with Dry Brook Ridge (3465′) and Mill Brook (Ridge) Mountain (3465′), respectively. Both replacements are only 35′ lower than the official high peaks and are in the same Western Catskills region as Doubletop and Graham. Unlike the trailless peaks they replace, both Mill Brook Mountain and Dry Brook Ridge can be traversed on trails. By adopting them for our program, we have chosen to avoid encouraging increased hiking on other trailless peaks. Our choice also aligns the new requirements with those of the Catskills All Trails Challenge.
After March 20th, hikes to the summit of South Doubletop will no longer qualify for the Catskills 4 Seasons 140 program. In no event should any hiker climb either Doubletop or Graham Mountains as they are on private property and have been closed to the public by the landowner, effective January 14th. Trespassers are subject to prosecution.
February 10, 2021 The NYS DEC has recently opened the Red Hill Fire Tower Trail, a 1.4 mile addition that is combined with an older 0.6 mile section of trail to lead to the fire tower from Denning Road. The remainder of the the old trail from Dinch Road, 0.8 miles from the intersection, has been named the Dinch Road Connector.
Earlier, the DEC incorporated an old snowmobile trail into the Vernooy Kill Falls Trail, increasing its length to 3.5 miles. There is a small trailhead in Greenville in addition to the one on Upper Cherrytown Rd.
December 19. 2020 We’re adding a trail section to the list of required hikes! The Vernooy Kill Falls Trail was extended by DEC to be coaligned with the snowmobile trail that goes from Vernooy Falls to Greenville. The section is about 1.8 miles long and there is a small parking area at the Greenville trailhead. The trail is an easy hike and is marked Red. We will update the documents on the CMC webpage.
January 14. 2021 Please note that both Doubletop and Graham Mountains are now closed to public access effective immediately.
The private landowners have generously allowed public access for many years. They have decided that recent trends of increased usage by hikers are having a significant negative effect on the wilderness character and ecology of these trailless mountains. Due to their long held concerns for conservation of wilderness, they will end access for all members of the public. As of today, hikers who encroach on these private lands will be in violation of laws against trespass and subject to enforcement measures, including arrest.
Our Catskills Grid and Catskills 4 Seasons programs will designate changes to the required peaks in concert with the decisions made by the Catskill 3500 Club for their list of qualifying hikes. Those new designations should be finalized and available in a few weeks. As of today, no future hikes of either Graham or Doubletop will be accepted as qualifying hikes for the CMC’s two programs.
“The Andes rail-trail in its four short miles offered me beauty, quiet, history, and it made me laugh.”
Thank you, Susan Barnett and Hudson Valley One for this wonderful article on the Andes Rail Trail and Bullet Hole Spur.
Click on the first page, below, to see the whole article. Here thanks to permission from Susan Barnett.
October 6, 2020 “The Hiker’s Guide to the Catskills”, a recently published article in The Reporter, features the CMC trails and lots of other useful info and news about hiking in the Catskills from the CMC, the NYSDEC and the NYCDEP.
Click on the images to expand the view.
In honor of opening the sixth trail built by the CMC since 2012, we are founding a new hiking program for hikers who qualify by hiking each of the trails built by the club. (A seventh trail will open in 2021, but hikers are free to apply based on completing each of the existing six.) These trails have been designed to appeal to most hikers, both novice and expert. They are on some of the most beautiful lands in the Catskills, are easy to moderate in difficulty and are located near major highways and villages.
Two of these programs are being adopted by the CMC, which will assume sponsorship of the Catskills 4 Seasons 140 and the Catskills Grid 420 programs from the Rip van Winkle Hikers. After decades of service to the Catskills which included organizing hikes, maintaining trails and working through membership in the Catskill Park Coalition to bring our issues to Albany, the Rips decided to dissolve the club as of the end of 2019. Among their legacies are these two hiking programs that have earned the respect of serious hikers in our region. The CMC is proud to ensure that these programs will continue into the future.
Find out more about these programs, about the Catskills All Tails Challenge and about each of the trails on their pages on the CMC website.
Note: Previous 4 Seasons qualifiers can receive the newly redesigned patch free of charge by contacting the CMC at email@example.com.
The Summer edition of the CMC News is available here. Check it out for stories about Volunteers, summer in the woods, news about the Club and about recreational opportunities in the Catskills region.
August 8, 2020 The 2nd Edition of the Guide to Catskill Mountain Club Trails has just been published. You can find it at the trailheads, at the Catskills Visitor Center and at several area merchants.
In the Guide you will find maps, descriptions and trailhead locations for all of the trails. Updated information for the Morris Hill Trail, which is still under construction, will be in an upcoming revision.
To view and download the Guide, click this link.
Note: For best results use 11″ x 14″ paper.
During the Pandemic:
Guidelines for all times:
We are thankful to first responders and essential workers. Please show your appreciation by maintaining a six foot distance from others while shopping and by wearing a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus. The virus can be transmitted days before symptoms appear, as well as by asymptomatic people shedding the virus.
July, 3 2020 In keeping with recommendations and requirements intended to keep us all safe during the Covid-19 crisis, the CMC has decided that we will not offer our Annual Picnic nor our Annual Dinner in 2020.
We continue to evaluate the situation as we think about offering outdoor recreational events again. At this time, the resurgence of cases in the country is of great concern. It remains important to recreate locally, to socially distance when in groups and to wear masks when in close contact or when passing unrelated parties. We recommend stepping off trail to allow others to pass. We will continue to monitor developments. Like everyone, we look forward to resuming normal activities as soon as possible.
July 18, 2020 Yesterday we and our partners, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, opened the new trail officially. Also in attendance was a representative from the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, which supplied a grant to pay for interpretive signage. Unfortunately, in an abundance of caution we were not able to invite the public to the ceremony. While it’s always fun to have a big event, the important thing is that the trail is finished and that you are invited to hike it whenever you can!
The two mile trail begins just off Rte. 28A about 0.2 miles west of the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade. There is a dedicated parking area just 100 feet into the woods. From there follow the blue markers and yellow directional signs. Just before making the turn towards the top of the old Yale Quarry, a source of rock during the construction of the reservoir, pass the ruins of an old stone building that was used to store explosives. There are sweeping views of the Catskills, including four high peaks, from the high, open ledges along the top of the quarry wall. The path is through a mixed forest of hardwoods and pine, with a 200′ foot section passing through dense mountain laurel.
Be sure to check out the remnants of the railroad loading zone on a short spur trail near the southern end of the main loop trail. A large seasonal vernal pool fed by water falling from the quarry walls is an added point of interest in spring. Although It retains water year round, it becomes very low in summer. As you return to the parking lot, pass through an interesting area with large mounds of tailings that line both sides of the trail.
This is an easy hike with about 200 feet of elevation gain.
For more information and to print a map and trail guide visit:
The Spring edition of the CMC News is available here. Check it out for stories about Earth Day, news about the Club and about recreational opportunities in the Catskills region. Learn more about where to hike during the pandemic, about the signs of spring in nature and learn about a yoga exercise that will help you be a better hiker.
Find out what you need to know about current hiking conditions in the Catskills during the pandemic, tips for hiking safely at this time and more stories about the Catskills. Click here to view the newsletter.
January 21, 2020 The newly formed Friends of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower group held its first meeting on the evening of January 6th at the O’Connor Hospital in Delhi. The Friends were formed to organize the reconstruction of the fire tower that was decommissioned by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970 and removed in 1975. The tower was purchased by Pete Clark, who meticulously stored the tower’s parts right down to the nuts and bolts in his barn. It is well preserved as a result. Three years ago Tom Clark, the current owner, approached the Catskill Mountain Club with an offer to allow the tower to be restored if the CMC could lead the effort. With the formation of the Friends group, the effort to raise funds and complete the resurrection of the tower has officially begun.
In 2008 the NYC Department of Environmental Protection acquired the Bramley Mountain parcel and in 2016 the DEP allowed the Catskill Mountain Club to build a trail to the summit. The trail has been very popular with the public, drawing over 1500 hikers a year, some of them from as far away as Europe and Africa. Now, with the support and cooperation of the Town of Delhi and of the DEP as well as widespread support in Bovina, Hamden, Kortright, Andes and other local communities, the CMC has formed the Friends of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower to move the project to completion.
For more information, to donate to the Friends, to volunteer and to sign up for the email contact list click here.
April 24, 2019 With the growing interest in the Catskills All Trails Challenge (CATC), we have created a Facebook group dedicated to the folks who are hiking the Challenge. The page gives you a place to connect with one another, share information and advice about the trails, ask questions, make plans, share routes, find hiking and carpooling partners and post pictures and descriptions of your adventures on the trails of the Catskill Park.
Anyone who has hiked or is interested in hiking the All Trails Challenge is welcome to join the group. You’ll need a Facebook account to join. Simply go to the following link and ask to join. Catskills All Trails Challenge on Facebook.
We welcome all hikers who share our values of good stewardship of the Catskill Park. We endorse Leave No Trace principles and compliance with the rules and regulations written by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in order to protect the Catskill Forest Preserve, which was created to protect these lands as “Forever Wild” by an Amendment to the New York State Constitution. These regulations include limited hiking group sizes, with a legal limit of 20 without a special permit. We suggest a limit of 12 to limit impacts on sensitive and endangered plant communities, and to preserve the quality of the wilderness experience. For more, visit our page Recreational Use Regulations for the Catskill Park Forest Preserve.
Two weeks from tomorrow on Tuesday, February 5th the CMC and our many partners in the Catskill Park Coalition will head up to Albany on Catskill Park Day. Our purpose is to talk to legislators, the governor and officials at the DEC about the recreational needs of our region, including stewardship of the Catskill Park, aid to our communities, protection of our environment, conservation and many other things that impact on the health and quality of our area’s great outdoor spaces.
Click here for a summary of our goals and how you can help advance them, even if you can’t go to Albany. Find the contact info for your legislators and for the Governor and give them a call or write a letter supporting our requests. And please join us on February 5th as we make our case to our state’s leaders. Thanks in advance for helping to protect and improve the Catskill Park!
Note: For an updated post see here.
November 15, 2018 Beginning November 17th and lasting through December 9th, the popular regular deer and bear hunting season means that everyone who goes into the woods in the Catskills needs to be aware, be alert and ALWAYS BE DRESSED IN ORANGE (dogs included). Whether you are on forest preserve, state forest or NYCDEP lands, the three week period during which hunters are permitted to use rifles is a time for added care.
Alternatives where hunting is not permitted do exist. Most are not within the Catskills proper, but all are close enough to make a day trip practical. It is advisable to wear orange even when hiking on these trails. The added precaution affords peace of mind.
Listed below are 16 great places to get outdoors where hunting is not permitted. We suggest that you consider exploring new territory or revisiting your favorites. Happy Trails!
Andes Rail Trail/Bullet Hole Spur (in Andes)
Bear Mountain State Park (near West Point)
Black Creek Preserve (near Esopus)
Delhi Trails (in Delhi)
Ferncliff Forest & Fire Tower (Rhinebeck)
Harriman State Park (near Harriman)
High Banks Preserve (near Ulster Park)
Highland Lakes State Park (near Middletown)
Mills-Norrie State Park (near Staatsburg)
Minnewaska State Park Preserve* (near New Paltz)
Riddell State Park (near Laurens/Oneonta)
Thacher State Park** (near Voorheesville)
The Willows at Brandow’s Point (Athens)
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (Kingston to Gardiner)
Walkway Over the Hudson & Franny Reese State Park (can be combined) (Poughkeepsie/Highland)
The North-South Lake Day Use Area is one place in the Catskill Park where hunting is not permitted. Be aware that the area does not include Kaaterskill Falls or the Escarpment Trail to the south of the intensive use area. It does extend on all trails north to Badman Cave.
*No bear season. For deer seasons, no hunting in the vicinity of hiking trails – check map here: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/Minnewaska2017HuntingMapMinnewaska.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0c-LusE0CwKNafcBrJidoc2K73nagbtsEll1HXmv4a3iyKKLo-aSllsJY
**hunting allowed in a some areas. See map for details: https://parks.ny.gov/…/ThacherThacherStateParkHuntingMap.pdf
Most of us take for granted the almost endless opportunities we have to get out into the great outdoors. Whether we’re hitting the trail, casting for trout, paddling, or going rogue by ‘whacking our way into the unknown, we know well how important that chance to connect with nature is. And we appreciate it deeply.
For some of us, getting that feeling isn’t so easy. Our friends and family members who have limited mobility need and deserve resources that can accommodate them so they can get out and experience that connection with nature, too. The Americans with Disabilities Act has encouraged the development of infrastructure to make getting out easier. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, other governmental agencies and even some non-governmental organizations have accessible facilities all around the Catskills, including trails, fishing areas, water access points, picnic pads, camping pads, pavilions and restrooms. Recent improvements have been completed at Kenneth Wilson Campground, a DEC facility in the Town of Woodstock and the DEC has filed notice for comments on a plan to improve and add to the accessible facilities at the North-South Lake Campground near Haines Falls. Accessible attractions also include iconic spots like Kaaterskill Falls and the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade. For travelers, easy to get to trails and other amenities can be found at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mt. Tremper.
Here are links to pages that list where many of these facilities are located.
NYSDEC Accessible Recreation Destinations listed by county.
NYS Parks – search by the park name or location and look for the “Amenities and Activities” section.
There are two recent additions to the trail system on Overlook Mountain. The Meads Meadow Trail and the Overloop Trail provide new easy to moderate hikes that loop north off the Overlook Spur Trail, which has been extended to the new Meads Meadow Trailhead parking area. Together they add 1.8 miles of new trails. Going forward, those trails are being added to the list of trails that must be hiked in order to complete the All Trails Challenge requirements. With their inclusion their are now 347 miles of designated hiking trails that must be hiked to receive your cetificate, patch and shirt. More Happy Hiking!
Overlook Mountain Wild Forest map.
April 10, 2018
Parking has always been a bit tricky for visitors to the Andes Rail Trail and Bullet Hole Spur, but no longer. There has been a great improvement to the parking situation thanks to the Town of Andes, landscaper Mel Bellar and CMC board member Ann Roberti. The entrance to the Trail and to the historic train station has been opened up and improved so that parking is now available adjacent to the trailhead. The trailhead itself has a newly redesigned entrance. The parking area was paved with crushed stone by LaFever Excavating. While there, they generously donated work to improve a long existing drainage problem on the trail. The CMC thanks all those involved in these projects for a great job.
Have you come home from a winter hike to find that a tick has attached itself to you!? Maybe you’ve been out on a little adventure on the trails and found yourself on your butt more times than you care to remember. Read our review of traction devices and you’ll soon be prepared for another, safer outing. These articles and much more are yours to read by clicking here. Subscribe to our mailing list to get future newsletters and CMC updates in your mailbox automatically. Just give us your name, email address and mailing address and you’ll be kept informed about CMC happenings. We promise not to flood your inbox.
Of course, our favorite option would be that you become a CMC member. Our modest membership dues are what we rely on to make the wheels go ’round. And you get some nice perks with your annual membership. Check it out. Thanks.
After careful consideration, the CMC has decided to de-list the Jockey Hill Trails as a hike required to qualify for the Catskills All Trails Challenge certificate of completion.
Like the Elm Ridge trails in Greene County, which were never listed as required hikes, Jockey Hill trails are multi-purpose and are designed with the needs of mountain biking users in mind. The Department of Environmental Conservation has indicated that the trail system at Jockey Hill will be expanded to serve those needs. These additions further change the hiking experience through the design of trails that form multiple loops. Similar improvements have been made at Elm Ridge, and the CMC applauds the decision of the DEC to expand mountain biking opportunities in the Catskill Park. However, such trails are not conducive to a satisfying hiking experience.
To those who have already hiked Jockey Hill in its current configuration, we say congratulations. We hope you enjoyed your explorations there. Feedback from some CATs hikers, along with consultation with the DEC about the expanded system have informed our decision. Of course, any hiker is more than welcome to explore both Jockey Hill and Elm Ridge. Until the current supply of CATs Challenge tee shirts runs out, Jockey Hill will continue to be listed on the shirt. It will be removed from the published list of required hikes.
As this development illustrates, the trail system in the Catskill Park in dynamic. New trails are sometimes added and old trails are sometimes rerouted or abandoned. We appreciate input from our members and friends and look forward to hearing from you as you continue the quest. Thanks for participating and for spreading the word about the Catskills All Trails Challenge and the wonderful trails and features that are discovered with each hike!
In only a few days the CMC and its Catskill Park Coalition partners will go to Albany for our annual Catskill Park Day. We’ll meet with our elected representatives, including the Governor and members of the legislature, to press for action on the policy priorities we have identified for 2018.
If you are not able to travel with us to Albany for Catskill Park Day, there’s a way to speak up and speak out right from the comfort of your home or office. By raising your voice, you amplify our message and add power to its effectiveness.
You can either send Governor Cuomo a brief letter of support for the priorities of the Catskill Mountain Club and its Catskill Park Coalition partners, or you can call the Governor’s office and give a brief message of support.
Below are the specific requests made by the CPC for 2018. Simply glance at them, pick one or two that resonates with you and place your call telling the assistant who answers what you would like the Governor to support.
If you prefer to write a note, we have provided a link to the form used by the Governor’s office. You can simply copy and paste the message we have written below or edit it to suit your preferences.
We have had good results over the past several years and anticipate continued success with support from folks like you who love the Catskills and care about its future.
Thank you for your efforts!
Phone number of the Governor’s office: (518) 474-8390 Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Link to the Governor’s email system: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
Dear Governor Cuomo,
I am writing today to respectfully ask that you give your support to the priorities for the Catskill Park and region as expressed by the Catskill Mountain Club and its fellow members of the Catskill Park Coalition.
The Catskill Park is one of our nation’s great natural assets, encompassing hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine wilderness and sparkling clean waters. It is home to huge communities of rare wildlife and to one of the most diverse forests in the world. And it is one of New York’s greatest outdoor recreational areas, along with the Adirondack Park.
Please support the continuing improvements to the Catskills environment and Park infrastructure that allow members of the public to experience the great outdoors in all its glory in a way that is both safe and sustainable.
The DEC opened the new Meads Meadow Trailhead parking area on McDaniel Rd. today. A new trail system explores the Magic Meadow parcel, and the new connector trail leads to the existing trail to the summit and fire tower.
Severe overuse has long plagued hikers with parking problems that resulted in dangerous conditions on the road for hikers and drivers alike. A downloadable map is available on the CMC website here: Overlook Mountain new parking & trails.