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Our List of the Best Catskills Waterfall Hikes

Exchange summit views for cascading rivers and streams when you explore Catskills waterfall hikes. Surrounded by lush forests, these scenes of natural splendor will take your breath away, and inspire a closer connection with nature and the region. 

The town of Hunter has issued a new Kaaterskill Clove Parking Enforcement policy that goes into effect the weekend of August 8:

  • Beginning on the weekend of August 8th, The Town of Hunter will be operating a Vehicle impound Lot located at 5748, Route 23A, Tannersville NY (Town Hall).
  • This impound lot will be in operation every weekend until the illegal parking is dramatically curtailed.
  • Any illegally parked vehicle will be ticketed and then towed to the Town Hall Impound Lot which will be manned by a Town of Hunter Police Officer until 8pm.
  • A vehicle owner will only be able to retrieve their vehicle once they have paid the Towing Fee, and the Impound Fee in full, via credit card or cash.
  • Any vehicle not picked up by 8pm will then incur an additional daily fee.
  • The Town has authorized the purchase of equipment to enable our Town of Hunter Police officers to associate parking violations to a vehicle registration via the DMV. Town of Hunter Police officers will soon be able to generate and print parking violations that must be answered in Town Court for the owner to renew their vehicle registration. This will replace the hand-written system currently in use.

The Catskills region is a popular destination for people of all walks of life, but it holds a special place in the hearts of those that love the outdoors. Rugged mountains, bucolic fields, dense wild forests, and crystal-clear waterways create a natural playground that takes a lifetime to explore. Catskills hiking is perhaps the most popular form of recreation, enticing trail masters and family adventurers alike. While many of the region’s most popular routes end atop mountain peaks, there are also hiking trails that lead to waterfalls! From towering plumes that seem to shake the earth as the roar by to elegant veils of milky white water that float effortlessly over rocky cliffs, the waterfalls of the Catskills are sure to captivate you just as much as a summit view.

Whenever you are hiking near a waterfall, remember to use extreme caution. Spray can dampen nearby rocks and soil, creating slippery conditions. Never attempt to climb up the waterfalls themselves, as a fall could be life threatening.

Our Favorite Waterfall Hikes

Old Mill Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 200 feet roundtrip
  • 16 foot drop
  • Best visited after a heavy rain
  • Likely to be uncrowded

Winding through the Platte Clove region, also known as Devil’s Kitchen, is Plattekill Creek, the source of several popular Catskills waterfalls. For an easy hike, start at Josh Road (at the top of Platte Clove Road) in Hunter. Park at the little red house and walk 100 feet south of the King Post Bridge to find Old Mill Falls. Named for an old mill that stood downstream from the falls in the 1800s, Old Mill Falls makes up for its short height with expansive width. At just 16 feet high, these falls are at their most stunning when water is high, pushing graceful veils over the entire span of the creek bed. Visit in spring or after heavy rain for the best views.

Plattekill Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • .50 miles roundtrip
  • 70 foot cascading drop
  • Breathtaking views perfect for photography
  • Likely to be uncrowded

Shooting off a small opening at the top of a sheer cliff, Plattekill Falls is the picture perfect waterfall of your dreams. To find these falls, park on Josh Road by the little red house and hike approximately a quarter mile, following Plattekill Creek as it winds downstream past Old Mill Falls and through rich forested land. Cascading 70 feet before crashing back into the creek below, Plattekill Falls will take your breath away. The rock faces surrounding it are covered in moss and greenery, giving it an almost mystical appeal, and the stream bed it flows into provides ample opportunity for rock hopping. Bring the whole family and spend a day tucked away in a Catskill mountains paradise.

Diamond Notch Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • 2 Routes: 2 mile roundtrip or 4 mile loop
  • 10 foot drop
  • Dog-friendly trail
  • Likely to be uncrowded

Hikers looking for a more intense adventure will love the four mile loop trail to Diamond Notch Falls, also known as West Kill Falls, via the trail at Diamond Notch Road in Lanesville. Walk along maintained trails through lush Catskills wilderness to this beautiful 10 foot waterfall. Enjoy the view from the bridge at the crest of the falls, or hike down to the shallow pool below. If you’re more concerned with the destination than the journey, access the falls via a .7 mile hike from the parking area on Spruceton Road.

Glen Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Popular Swimming hole
  • Check-in at the Glen Falls House for trail info
  • Likely to be uncrowded

When you visit Round Top, NY, you have hit the jackpot of waterfalls near New York City! Several Catskills waterfalls are located in the region – Glen Falls, and East Kill Falls. The first, Glen Falls, is the trifecta. Comprised of three unique waterfalls, two of which boast excellent swimming holes, there is no shortage of beauty to explore at Glen Falls. Parking is available at the Glen Falls House, and the staff at the front desk will be happy to direct you to the appropriate hiking trails.

East Kill Falls

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • 7.2 miles roundtrip
  • Small bushwack required
  • Common for wildlife sightings
  • Virtually unknown, not likely to have many visitors

If you’re feeling up to a full day on the trail, trek into East Kill Falls. This scenic 7.2 mile round trip trail starts at a parking lot at the end of Stork Nest Road off of Maple Lawn Road. At approximately .3 miles in, you will come across a DEC trail register. Don’t forget to sign in! While the trail doesn’t go all the way to the falls, it does come within 100 – 200 feet and, once you hear the stream, you can easily bushwhack to it. In addition to the falls, this trail is well-known for wildlife sightings.

Ashley Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • .6 miles roundtrip
  • 3 tiered, 61 foot drop waterfall
  • Camping located very close 
  • Likely to be crowded

Waterfall hikers looking for camping in upstate New York will find both attractions at North-South Lake Campground. Pitch your tent and then take a short hike down the Mary Glen Trail, located off the main campground road, to reach Ashley Falls. This multi-tiered waterfall flows over sharp, angular rocks creating a unique aesthetic. Though these falls can dry up in the peak of summer, they are perfect for a spring or fall adventure. If you don’t plan to stay the night, just stop by the campground entrance for a day pass.

Fawns Leap

  • Difficulty: Moderate (steep)
  • 0.25 miles roundtrip
  • 24 foot plunge drop waterfall
  • Popular swimming hole
  • Likely to be crowded
     

This waterfall is currently overcrowded. There is little to no parking and cars are being towed for illegal parking. Please consider alternative options.

Joining Bastion Falls and Kaaterskill Falls in the Haines Falls region is the 24-foot Fawns Leap waterfall, a beautiful section of the Kaaterskill Creek that has also been the subject of paintings and photographs for over a century. Just off route 23A, these falls double as a popular swimming hole in warm summer months. A deep pool lies at the base of the milky white cascade, nestled within a rocky ravine carved out by the falls themselves, and it’s just big enough for a refreshing dip.

Kaaterskill Falls

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • 1.4 miles roundtrip
  • 2 cascading tiers measuring 260 feet
  • Views of Bastion Falls
  • Likely to be crowded
     

Kaaterskill falls is currently closed to the public. Additionally, there is little to no parking on Route 23A and cars are being towed for illegal parking. Please consider alternative options.

The highest cascading waterfall in New York State, Kaaterskill Falls drops 260 feet in two tiers. Its beauty, size, and sheer force has captivated locals and visitors for centuries. For poets, painters, and photographers, it has been an inspiration and a muse. For outdoor adventurers, it is considered one of the region’s best waterfall hikes. Experience both points of view by combining a visit to Kaaterskill Falls with a tour of local art galleries when you stay at one of the luxury resorts in the Catskills.

Embrace the wild spirit of the Catskills by hiking to a remote waterfall. Feel the incredible rush of adrenaline brought on by the thunder of cascading falls and find balance in the serenity of nature. Whether you venture in alone or with friends and family, a waterfall hike in the Catskills is more than a day on the trail – it’s a Greatest-Of-All-Time adventure.

The Waterfall House

Love waterfalls and want to stay? Rent the Waterfall House in Palenville for the ultimate Catskills experience. Their pet-friendly vacation homes offer swimming onsite and fireplaces for the perfect mountain ambiance.