Adventure Guide to the Catskills & Adirondacks (Hunter Travel Guides)
The nearly ,acre Catskill Forest Preserve offers a vast selection of outdoor adventures on both public and private lands with hundreds of lakes, streams and mountain trails. Places to stay include wilderness campsites, cabins and luxury resorts. Swimmers enjoy the cool mountain lakes.
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Camping: More than 50 beautiful public and private campgrounds are found throughout the region. North-South Lake State Park, the biggest state park and campground in the Catskill Preserve, offers hiking, swimming, fishing and kayaking amid magnificent views. Private outdoor resorts such as the 3,acre Eldred Preserve, in Eldred, and the West Branch Angler Resort, in Hancock, cater to fishing and hunting enthusiasts. Lodging and boat rentals are available.
The Catskill network of reservoirs is now open for fishing and non-motorized boating. Hunting: Private preserves and game farms are found throughout the region. State lands are open for hunting during the appropriate seasons. Hiking: Hundreds of miles of multi-use trails lead through spectacular landscapes-up mountain paths, around lakes, beside waterfalls and through historic villages. Climbing the 35 Catskill high peaks is a lofty goal for many hikers. The mile Catskill Scenic Trail, with a gentle grade, is ideal for hiking, biking or horseback riding. Trails at Sam's Point Preserve, on 5, acres in the Shawangunk Mountains, feature expansive views, waterfalls and ice caves.
Plattekill Bike Park in Roxbury has more than 60 miles of lift-served bike trails. Zipline Adventures: Windham Mountain, a popular Catskills ski resort, has a year-round Adventure Park featuring a side-by-side racing zipline. State Parks: State parks include North-South Lake State Park, popular for camping and swimming; Bear Spring Mountain State Park, with 24 miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing; and Lake Superior State Park, with swimming, boating, fishing and boat rentals.
Many ski areas also offer cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. A museum celebrates the fabulous s with multi-media exhibits and special events.
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Musical cabarets are held in the adjoining Tavern after evening performances. Maverick Concerts Woodstock - America's oldest summer chamber-music festival, held in a rustic concert hall in the woods, attracts international legends of classical, jazz and folk music. Hanford Mills Museum East Meredith - Exhibits and guided tours of the working lumber mill highlight regional history. Zadock Pratt Museum Prattsville - Tours of the 19 th -century homestead highlight local history.
Farm-fresh local produce and other culinary products such as artisan cheeses and fresh-baked bread are sold at farm markets and village shops, and served in casual and fine restaurants, throughout the region. The homemade pies at Catskill Mountain Country Store, a market, bakery and restaurant in Windham, were voted best in the region by Hudson Valley magazine.
Guests at Christman's Windham House resort rave about the chef's fine cuisine, breakfasts served with maple syrup produced on the property, and even the tap water-crystal-clear mountain spring water from Christman's own springs. Tours of the syrup house are available in March; the delicious syrup is sold year-round.
Every fall, Hunter's Oktoberfest celebrates the abundant harvest in old-world German style. Shop for fresh local produce at farmers' markets and roadside stands throughout the region. Country roads lead to charming villages like Franklin, Margaretville, Windham and the historic art colony of Woodstock, with dozens of antique shops, craft studios and galleries.
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And that's a different story. The first snows have been known to accumulate on higher summits in early November, before hunting season even starts. The ski areas nevertheless maintain ample snowmaking facilities. As February turns to March and saplines string trees to each other, gaps start to appear in the snow cover. While some white areas have lingered into early May in shaded areas of the summits, in the valleys it's all gone by the April 1 opening of trout season.
From then to Memorial Day, spring gradually creeps up the slopes, just in time for another glorious Catskill summer. There are no major airports in the Catskills themselves.
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The two that best serve the region are located to the southeast and northeast. There is no passenger rail service directly to the Catskills. The Rhinecliff and Hudson stations on Amtrak's Empire Service line along the Hudson River correspond to the river crossings closest to the Catskills, and bus connections can be made. Amtrak also serves Poughkeepsie, which has the most bus connections, although if you're coming to that station from within the New York area you must use Metro-North [dead link] to get there instead.
Adirondack Trailways offers two routes across the region from its west-of-Hudson line. Both lines eventually reach Oneonta, where transfer is also available from Trailways' service along the Interstate 88 corridor. The New York State Thruway Interstate 87 , a divided toll road, is the primary route to the Catskill region for visitors coming from the south and southeast i. New York State Route is a freeway in the process of being converted to Interstate This modern, limited access, divided, non-toll road does not enter the Catskills at any point, but it is worth listing this road as an important contributor to access by car into the Catskills.
Some of the state routes through and within the region are also designated as bike routes. In addition, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is considering formally allowing mountain bikers to use some unpaved roads within the Forest Preserve areas, which would make some shortcuts possible. In Delaware County, try exploring the roads surrounding the two main reservoirs, the Cannonsville and the Pepacton.
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These roads are actually owned and maintained by the City of New York, and travel through the pristine landscape responsible for supplying NYC with drinking water. As with most large mountainous regions, there have been efforts to link hiking trails into a long-distance network. So far, there have been two that allow long-distance multi-day hikes in the Catskills:.
Although it is primarily a tourist heritage line, the Catskill Mountain Railroad , serves some short-range transportation needs along the Route 28 corridor, most notably for tubers on the stretch of Esopus Creek below Phoenicia. It has recovered from severe damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene; there have been plans to connect its Kingston segment with that one using the old Ulster and Delaware tracks although those have faced strong local opposition from proponents of a rail trail.
Rivers like the Willowemoc and the Beaverkill are famous for their brown trout, particularly in the spring and fall when the weather is cool. Three streams in Sullivan and Delaware Counties — the Neversink, the West Branch of the Delaware and the East Branch — are tailwaters released from reservoir impoundments whose temperatures stay cool and fish-favorable all summer. The eastern Catskills have as their lifeblood the dollars brought into the region by skiers, hunters, anglers and other tourists.
Therefore, in the villages of Hunter, Windham, Woodstock and Tannersville, there is an ample supply of excellent restaurants. A walk down Main Street in each of these villages will yield the opportunity to dine in a different location each night, and yield no disappointments. As it turns out, the western Catskills, while arguably even more picturesque than the east, have lower mountains — they are hills, really — and between those hills are valleys of rich soil and gentle rivers.
And that means farming. Lots of it. People make their homes in the western Catskills. Delaware County may have the lowest population of any county in New York south of the Adiraondacks, but these are real, hardworking people. At best, you may get a slight wave from them on a quiet county road. Take a ride west, into farm country, and take a village by village look at where you may want to stop in to eat:.
One last piece of advice: never assume you can roll into the western Castkills late at night and find anything open, including gas or food. If you are deep enough in the woods and come across a running stream or a spring, consider using a hand-pumped water filter to drink the water. However, one should avoid drinking any unfiltered water from any source in the wild except possibly from springs that come directly from underground.
Oneonta has a decent pub scene. Better yet, try the various liquor stores on Southside in Oneonta near Hannaford's , or Main Street in Walton across from the bank , and take the booze back to your cabin. Animals that may have undeservedly fearsome reputation among the uninformed are black bear and coyotes. Many visitors from more populated areas are often taken aback at the prevalence of firearms carried openly. There are several species of small game that the DEC has designated as 'open season', so be aware that there may be some hunting going on at any given time of year.
Individuals who own homes or seasonal cabins in remote areas may engage in target practice on their own land, anyone can do so on public lands. If hearing shooting near a hiking trail makes you nervous, it is very reasonable to ask the individuals to stop shooting until you are well past. Do not take the following information as legal advice, but an overview of the laws and customs pertaining to this topic are worth knowing:.
Proximity to the New York City metropolitan area is no guarantee that customs imported 'up the Thruway' will gain immediate acceptance in the Catskills. Quite the contrary; the Catskills are home to generally conservative, hardworking people who have a distinct culture of their own. The levels of tolerance for other cultures and habits that a visitor will experience and enjoy in this region, however, may be much higher than in many of the suburbs much closer to the city. The acceptance of cultural differences and similarities is always a two-way-street, and the more a visitor is aware and accepting, the more his or her hosts will be as well.
The Catskills region is located in the 19th Congressional District of New York, which has sent a Republican representative to Washington for sixteen of the past twenty years as of , John Faso R-Kinderhook is the representative. Despite its Republican leanings, the 19th is considered a battleground district, not a safe bet for either party. Barack Obama won the 19th Congressional District in the presidential elections of and Donald Trump won it in All county sheriffs of the Catskills region have co-signed a petition in opposition to the New York State SAFE Act, which prohibits the sale and possession with minor exceptions for registered firearms of so called 'assault weapons.
Except for Sullivan County, the Catskills region is populated primarily by individuals who self-identify as Protestant Christian. There is a very strong tradition of religious tolerance in the area, and the cultural influence of Catholics, Jews, Muslims and others far outweighs their relatively small numbers. Buddhist retreats can be found in many communities, usually in very rural settings, and can be identified by their numerous colorful banners. Muslim enclaves dot the landscape in western Delaware County, one in Sidney Center raises animals to provide fresh food for their restaurant in Franklin.
Environmentally, the Catskills are unique, in that they supply the majority of the drinking water for one of the largest cities in human history. And they do so pretty much by just letting it rain.
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There has been a cultural, political and economic price for this, however, in that some of the most beloved communities in what is now known as 'the watershed' no longer exist, and have not for generations. A visitor may still meet old-timers who fondly recall their homes in long-vanished villages, which were moved, everything — including the cemeteries — to higher ground to build the reservoirs.
Visitors to the area may also hear, and be invited to engage in, arguments about the recent proposed upgrades to the energy infrastructure, including hydrofracking, power lines, electricity-producing windmills, and most recently, a natural gas pipeline.
Local residents have been vehemently divided on these issues. Tourism is the dominant economic force in the eastern Catskills, while dairy-farming is the predominant force in the western Catskills. Dairy-farming shapes culture; it is a 7-day-a-week undertaking, and cows walk very slowly. In many places in Delaware County, the farm buildings may be mere feet away from a two-lane highway, as on Route 28 east of Delhi. It's the longest and highest zipline canopy tour in Northern America—so in addition to the immersive experience, you'll also attain bragging rights.
Explore the scenic path through acres of trails and rivers. This will be your first look at the mountain by land. Not an experienced rider? That's okay—this ride is great for all levels of expertise. They use the best and most accessible ingredients available to brew up pilsners, pale ales, and lagers alike—oh, and they have some pretty tasty food, too! Yelp calls it one of the best restaurants on the mountain. Go with a group or go alone—the stunning rocks adjacent to the mountain green with running water throughout will make you feel like you belong on a postcard.