Trails and Thrills

Biking and Hiking the Catskills for an Adventure-Packed Getaway


With so many outdoor recreation opportunities available throughout the Catskills, here are a handful of cycling and hiking options to explore. GPS coordinates of access points are included.

Delaware County

Cycling the Pepacton Reservoir (Eastern Section) This 20-mile, moderate road cycling loop is a favorite because it’s relatively flat by Catskill standards. You can begin at the historic schoolhouse west of Margaretville on Route 28/30 (42.1221, -74.6748) or at the Shavertown Parking Area (42.0895, -74.8185). Shavertown is one of the communities that was sacrificed to make way for the Pepacton Reservoir. The cycling route incorporates Board of Water Supply Roads 8,9 and 10 on the south side of the reservoir and Route 30 and Routes 28/30 on the north side.

Shavertown Trail Beginning just north of the Shavertown Parking Area (42.0895, -74.8185), this easy-moderate trail was built by the Catskill Mountain Club in cooperation with NYC Department of Environmental Protection. At just under three miles, it offers a pond loop and a reservoir overlook, and it’s a favorite family hike.

Cycling the Catskill Scenic Trail Following the route of the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad, this gravel-surfaced trail runs 26 miles from Roxbury (42.3027, -74.5542) to Bloomville (42.3320, -74.8033). Passing through the villages of Stamford and Hobart, the trail has mileage signs at road crossings and offers several places to stop and enjoy the scenery or get food and drink. Hybrid or mountain bikes are recommended. Although most of the trail is relatively smooth, the 1.6-mile section between State Routes 30 and 23A near Grand Gorge is unfinished yet passable.

Greene County

Huntersfield Creek Falls Trail & Pratt Rock Located in the hamlet of Prattsville, the Huntersfield Creek Falls Trail (42.3119, - 74.4278) makes for an ideal accompaniment to Pratt Rock (42.3096, -74.4222), located on the edge of the hamlet. Each hike is approximately 1.5 miles and is considered easy-to-moderate. The Huntersfield Trail crosses old farmland, connects with a series of cascades along the creek, and offers views of Bearpen Mountain (3600’). The Pratt Rock Trail climbs to the famous stone carvings commissioned by Zadock Pratt, a site some have dubbed “Mount Rushmore of the East.” Though unmarked, obvious trails continue to the top of the rocks and eventually arrive at a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the upper Schoharie Valley.

Hunter Rail Trail This is a multi-staged project that will connect Kaaterskill Falls with Dolan’s Lake in the village of Hunter. As of Earth Day 2023 a new bridge over the Schoharie Creek will extend the western section. There are three short, separate sections of trail, making for easy walks or bike rides. The western section from Dolan’s Lake (42.2069, -74.2075) to Clove Road is 1.4 miles; the Huckleberry Multi-Use Trail, centered on Rip Van Winkle Lake Park (42.1914, -74.1337) is 2 miles; and the Kaaterskill Rail Trail (foot travel only) is 1.7 miles, beginning at the Mountain Top Historical Society (42.1959, -74.0919) and ending at the parking area for Kaaterskill Falls. From this parking area, hikers can access the viewing platform atop the falls or continue into the greater trail system around Kaaterskill Clove and North-South Lake.

Becker Hollow For a more aggressive outing, seasoned hikers can enjoy the climb to the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower from the Becker Hollow Trailhead (42.1818, -74.1968). With over 2000’ of elevation gain this 10.8-mile round-trip hike is one of the routes that brings you to the Catskills’ second highest mountain.

Sullivan County

Red Hill Fire Tower Although this hike is actually in Ulster County, it is often accessed from nearby Sullivan County. There are two trailheads: one along the Denning Road, east of Claryville (41.9350,- 74.5291) and one at the end of the Old Dinch Road (41.9301, -74.5070) – both moderate hikes. The Dinch Road Trailhead is limited in winter, and the out-and-back distance to the fire tower from this trailhead is 3.6 miles. The Denning Road Trailhead is new, and the hike to the tower and back is four miles. Red Hill is one of six fire towers required to complete the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s 2023 Fire Tower Challenge (

Willowemoc Wild Forest This Wild Forest surrounds the Mongaup Pond State Campground and consists of 14,000+ acres, 40 miles of trails, and access to six ponds. A series of loop trails west of the campground is accessed from the parking area on Mongaup Road (41.9469, -74.7051). This trail system provides for a varied mix of hike lengths and visits to Frick Pond, Hodge Pond and Quick Lake. The convenience of the campground with 155 campsites also enhances extended-stay options and longer hikes. According to DEC, Mongaup Pond, at 120 acres, is the largest body of water in the Catskill Park, outside of the New York City reservoirs.

Ulster County

Ashokan Rail Trail. Eleven miles in length and almost level in gradient, this finely surfaced trail is very popular for walking, running and cycling. Traversing the wooded edge of the Ashokan Reservoir, it offers some expansive views of water and mountains. The trail can be accessed from points in West Hurley (41.9942, -74.0931), Ashokan (41.9750, -74.1975) and Boiceville (42.0023, -74.2706), with bike rentals available at the Ashokan location. The trail, like the Catskill Scenic Trail in Delaware County, follows a portion of the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad. However, the original route was relocated when the reservoir was constructed.

Tanbark Trail Located in the hamlet of Phoenicia (in the Phoenicia Park) (42.0851, -74.3117), this moderate-difficult, 2.2-mile loop trail climbs sharply from the outset. There are numerous rock formations along the way to two vista points. Parking is found elsewhere in the hamlet, which offers restaurants, shops, fishing, and camping.

Rochester Hollow West of Big Indian on Route 28, this trailhead is marked by brown-and-white wayfinding signs, which lead you up Matyas Road to the small parking area (soon to be expanded). Much of the appeal of this easy-moderate hike is due to its gentle gradient along an old road with a nearby stream. Historical features include remnants of the estate of Colonel William Rochester (who served in the War of 1812) and a monument to the naturalist and author John Burroughs. Round trip mileages are 4.2 to the Burroughs monument and 5.6 to the lean-to. Two spur trails total 2 miles.

Catskills Visitors Center For comprehensive information on the region, the Catskills Visitor Center near Mount Tremper (42.0279, -74.2699) is open 9:30 – 4, April – November. The site offers short walks and includes the Esopus Fire Tower – one of the six towers in the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge.

About the Catskill Mountain Club - the CMC seeks to unite a diverse group of outdoor recreation enthusiasts, finding common ground in the effort to advance our goals. Whether you are a hiker, a hunter, an angler, a cyclist, a boater, a skier or enjoy another non-motorized outdoor recreational activity here in the Catskills, we believe that we can all work together to achieve worthy goals that serve us all. Visit our website to learn about events, membership, and projects.