‘Tis the season for hiking! The Catskills region of New York State is one of the best areas to smell the fresh air, take in the scenery, and get those legs moving. Greene County in the Northern Catskills is a short drive from NYC, which makes it perfect for your weekend adventures. We’ve rounded up five of the best hiking trips you can take to have your best day ever in the great outdoors, along with some indoors-y things too.
Sign up for small group guided hikes featured in the itineraries below with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. But act fast, as spots are limited!
Itineraries: Dibbles Quarry, Hunter; Burnt Knob and Acra Point Lookout, Windham; Hunter via Colonel’s Chair, Hunter; North Point, Hunter; North-South Lake Ashley Falls Loop, Haines Falls; More to Love
(Easy, 2.2 miles round trip, 1.5 hours)
Parking is found at the Roaring Kill parking area. Begin by hiking .25 miles up the yellow trail from the parking area until the intersection with the blue trail. Take a left on the blue trail toward Pecoy Notch, hiking up a slight incline for .9 miles. Upon reaching Dibbles Quarry, hikers will see the remnants of a historic bluestone quarry that provided stone until the late 1800s. Dibbles Quarry contains various stone creations, including chairs and spiral staircases, created after the quarry closed.
Once you finish your hike, drive about eight miles over to Hunter Mountain for more scenic views of the Catskills via the Hunter Mountain Skyride and/or New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain—the largest zipline canopy tour in North America. Both experiences will give you a bird's-eye view of the Catskills as you soar above the treetops.
After your morning adventures, grab lunch about five miles away in Tannersville at Jessie’s Harvest House for locally sourced American-style cuisine and elevated comfort food. Adults will love the mussels, local cheese board, Catskill trout, steak, and more. If you've got picky eaters in tow, the kids' menu offers a burger, pasta, and fried chicken.
In the afternoon, you can rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard at North-South Lake State Campground about four miles away and enjoy some time on the water.
Burnt Knob and Acra Point Lookout (Windham, NY)
(Moderate, 2.6–4 miles round trip, 2.5 hours)
Parking is located at the Big Hollow parking area. Follow the red trail 1.1 miles north of the parking area towards Burnt Knob and Acra Point. At the intersection with the blue Escarpment trail turn left to hike to Burnt Knob and/or right to hike to Acra Point. Both vistas are located along the Escarpment trail and offer great views of the Hudson Valley and the Blackhead Mountains.
Once you finish your hike, head about 10 miles west on Co Rd 40 & NY-296 N to Chicken Run in Windham for lunch. Chicken Run features delicious comfort food like ribs, sandwiches, and a variety of chicken dishes, as you'd imagine from the name.
After lunch, spend the rest of the afternoon making waves at Zoom Flume Water Park, about 20 minutes northeast in East Durham. Zoom down the “Typhoon Twister”—the park's newest, giant spiral water slide—or brave the “Black Vortex,” which twists and turns in total darkness. If thrill-seeking water slides are a bit too adventurous, spend the day relaxing in the Lazy River or Lagoon Activity Pool. Single-day tickets are $34.99 for ages 8+ and $27.99 for ages 3–7.
(Easy, 4.2 miles round trip, 3 hours)
Take the Hunter Mountain Skyride (like a warm-weather ski lift) to the 3,200-foot summit to access the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower Trail. Follow the yellow Colonel's Chair Trail up 1.1 miles to the intersection with the blue Spruceton Trail. Turn left and follow the Spruceton Trail uphill one mile to the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower, New York’s highest-elevation fire tower, offering spectacular views of the Catskill Mountains (view from fire tower pictured).
Drive a couple of miles down the road for lunch at Hunter Mountain Brewery for pub-style, fresh comfort food like salads, burgers, pasta, and three types of mac and cheese.
After lunch, head over to Opus 40, about 30 minutes away. Opus 40 is an awe-inspiring artistic environment that consists of a 6.5-acre sculpture park that goes 16 feet below ground and up to three stories above ground. There is also a quarryman's museum showcasing tools used in traditional bluestone quarrying and a gallery space for local artists, workshops, and events.
Head over to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, a 250-acre regional arts center that offers an integrated program of exhibitions, performances, classes, workshops, symposia, and artists’ residencies. The surrounding town of Woodstock is also quite artsy with many local shops, galleries, restaurants, and more, especially on the main strip of Tinker Street.
(Moderate, 4.4 miles round trip, 3 hours)
Parking is located at the Scutt Road parking area. From the trailhead, cross N Lake Road and hike 1.3 miles along the Rock Shelter Trail over rolling terrain to the intersection of the Mary’s Glen trail. Start climbing uphill (north) for .8 miles along the red Mary’s Glen trail until the intersection with the blue Escarpment Trail. Turn left and follow the Escarpment Trail .2 miles to North Point. North Point offers remarkable views of North-South Lake, Kaaterskill High Peak, and the Devil’s Path.
When you finish your hike, head back to the parking area and drive via N Lake Road to the North-South Lake State Campground (pictured) area to rent canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards and enjoy some time out on the water.
After swimming up an appetite, drive about 10 minutes on 23A to Mama’s Boy Burgers for a classic all-American lunch of burgers, hot dogs, and fries. The menu features local grass-fed Angus beef burgers, vegetarian options like the organic turkey burger or falafel burger, and 26 different kinds of frozen custard and yogurt!
From lunch, head north on Co Rd 23C about two miles to the Mountain Top Arboretum. Featuring 178 acres of stunning meadows, wetlands, and forests with exotic trees, the arboretum is a public garden dedicated to displaying and educating visitors on native plant communities in the Catskills and the northeastern US. It also features a fairy garden, boulder amphitheater, and spiral labyrinth.
Pick up some locally inspired souvenirs and goods at the Catskill Mountain Country Store in Tannersville just two miles south via Co Rd 23C. From metal art and sculptures to preserves and honey, they have it all!
North-South Lake Ashley Falls Loop (Haines Falls, NY)
(Easy, 3.2 miles round trip, 2+ hours)
The Mary’s Glen trailhead is located on N Lake Road within North-South Lake State Campground, just outside the towns of Haines Falls and Tannersville. Follow the red trail .5 miles up a slight grade to the intersection of the yellow Rock Shelter Trail, stopping to enjoy Ashley Falls (pictured) along the way. At the intersection, turn right onto the yellow Rock Shelter Trail for .5 miles along rolling terrain until you reach the intersection with the blue Escarpment Trail. Badman Cave is located at this intersection and is a nice place to stop. Turn right onto the escarpment trail and follow it two miles until you reach the Catskill Mountain House site. You will pass numerous vistas along the way with breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley. You will then need to hike back to North Lake .2 miles and then along N Lake Road until you reach your vehicle at Mary’s Glen trailhead.
After your hike, take a refreshing dip in the lake. Swimming is permitted from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day when lifeguards are on duty.
Return to your car and drive about seven miles to Palenville for lunch at Circle W, a charmingly restored general store that has a truly authentic Catskills atmosphere.
Once lunch is finished, continue east on 23A for 17 minutes to the town of Catskill to see the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Visit Cole’s historic home and studios in the landscape that inspired it all.
Walk across the scenic Hudson River Skywalk, a one-mile walkway over the Hudson River (or drive across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge), to Olana State Historic Site, a historic house museum once home to Frederic Edwin Church, a central artist in the Hudson River School.
If you have more time, visit some of the following attractions nearby. Check driving times to see what makes sense for the hikes you’ve included in your day.
Take the Catskills Fire Tower Five Challenge: Hike and climb five Catskills fire towers for a chance to win New York State prizes and badges.
Get a Thrill: Fly above the Catskills while taking in breathtaking views at Hunter Mountain Skyride, sail on the largest zipline canopy tour in North America at New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain (pictured), shred with the best of them at Windham Mountain Bike Park, slide down fast rides or relax on the lazy river at Zoom Flume Water Park, or kayak, canoe, and paddleboard at North-South Lake State Campground.
Where to Stay: Campers delight at North-South Lake State Campground. Animal lovers will enjoy staying at K & K Equestrian Center at Ravine Farm. Rosehaven Inn is a B&B perfect for a romantic getaway. Families may want to stay at Thompson House, a resort with a fire pit, large outdoor heated pool, and nightly entertainment. Stay in a chalet room at Hotel Vienna, catch mountain views at Kaatskill Mountain Club, or improve your Instagram account by sharing photos from trendy Scribner's Catskill Lodge.