Since John Bartram’s visit in 1753, Kaaterskill Falls, New York’s highest at 260′, has been the Catskills most famous waterfall. Painted by Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand and numerous other members of the Hudson River School and invoked by writers of myth and nature such as Bryant, Cooper and Irving, Kaaterskill is an icon of American Romanticism.
Nearby, and so impressive that many visitors never get to Kaaterskill Falls because they are fooled by its majesty into thinking that they have arrived, Bastion Falls sits roadside at the curve in the road near the foot of Kaaterskill’s deeply carved gorge.
Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand – 1849
From cliffs where the wood-flower clings;
All summer he moistens his verdant steeps,
With the sweet light spray of the mountain-springs,
And he shakes the woods on the mountain-side,
When they drip with the rains of autumn-tide.
But when, in the forest bare and old,
The blast of December calls,
He builds, in the starlight clear and cold,
A palace of ice where his torrent falls,
With turret, and arch, and fretwork fair,
And pillars blue as the summer air.
– from “Catterskill Falls” by William Cullen Bryant
After we view these best known of the Catskills’ waterfalls, we’ll drive up to North-South Lake and hike a 4½ mile long route along the north rim of Kaaterskill Clove. Across the clove we’ll be able to see the five major falls plunging off the south rim. With meltwater from the recent thaw, they should all have impressive flows, and with the leaves still off we should be able to see them clearly. Cameras and binoculars are highly recommended.
Registration is limited. Wear good boots and be prepared for the possibility of a cold spray. The lower trail will almost certainly be wet, so gaiters may be desirable. We’ll eat lunch on the northern ledges of the clove. No dogs on this hike.
Contact for information and to register: Wendell George at email@example.com or 845-254-4546.
NOTE: This hike is subject to postponement based on thaw and weather conditions. If changed, the new date will be Saturday, April 19.
Directions: Meet at the parking area on SR 23A in the Town of Hunter, 1½ miles east of Haines Falls and just to the west of the hairpin curve at Bastion Falls.