Stroll this Hudson tributary's banks to experience the historic and natural heritage of Catskill village.
For a look at Catskill through the ages, start at the Victorian storefronts on Catskill's Main Street and head a mile east. Look south to catch glimpses of gulls, ducks, and other water birds as they flit between boat slips on the creek's northern shore. Catskill Creek meets the broad and might Hudson River at Dutchman's Landing Park. Here, visitors find riverside parking, boat launch ramps, BBQ grills, picnic tables, and a playground. Expansive river views stretch from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge—opened in 1935, the structure stretches 5,041 feet across. Scan the opposite shore to see the Olana State Historic Site, built by Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church.
Walk through Catskill Creek's wild side at RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary, located south of the waterway and accessed from Dubois Road. Approach the freshwater tidal swamp with a half-mile stroll on the level Old Farm Road, and stop to identify wildflowers and up to three dozen dragonfly species along the way. Climb the 28-foot observation tower to spot birds—bald eagles nest nearby—and take in Hudson River views.
Carry a canoe or kayak to the end of Old Farm Road, and launch onto RamsHorn Creek to serpentine through the swamp ecosystem on a water-borne tour. Prefer to explore on foot? From the launch area, three more trails extend nearly a 1.5 miles farther into the 420-acre sanctuary. Follow the Red Trail to loop through upland forest; pick up the Blue Trail for an uphill climb, and tack on the White Trail for farmland views as you navigate a known frog habitat. Time visits to the tides surging from the Atlantic Ocean up the Hudson River. Low tides reveal more plants and wildlife, while high tide makes for optimal paddling conditions.