Each year the popular deer and bear hunting seasons mean 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 early two week bear hunting season and the regular three week fall deer and bear season, during which hunters are permitted to use rifles, are a time for added care. Check here for annual season updates: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/65231.html
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