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Top Winter Hikes in the New York Catskills

Hiking in winter requires more planning and more gear than hiking during the summer or fall – but that shouldn’t dissuade you from enjoying a winter walk in the woods. With prior proper planning, more layers, and more preparation, you can experience the snow-covered landscape of the Great Northern Catskills from groomed and ungroomed winter hiking trails.

Our Recommendations for Winter Hiking

Find the best winter views in the Catskills on these hiking trails and then read below for a guide about what to pack and wear for your New York hiking excursion this winter.

Artist's Rock Trail Loop

Accessible year-round from North-South Lake State Campground in Haines Falls, Artist’s Rock, Sunset Rock, and Newman’s Ledge are scenic overlooks located along this loop, making for a classic Catskills winter hike. Minimal miles coupled with outstanding views make this a great intermediate excursion for anyone who enjoys being outdoors in winter. Park at the entrance to North-South Lake and take Mary’s Glen Trail and follow the 4.6-mile roundtrip loop for views of the Hudson River and mountain peaks in the Catskill Park. Plan for half a day of hiking.

Mountain Top Arboretum Trails

This public garden in Tannersville is open year-round, from dawn until dusk, and is perfect for winter snowshoeing or hiking. Take the Woodland Walk trails for an easy-to-navigate nature walk and experience the Spruce Glen where towering coniferous trees add to the picturesque views. Four diverse environments make up the arboretum. Plan for 30-45 minutes of hiking per area, depending on the severity of the wintry conditions.

Catskill Mountain House Overlook Trail

This scenic overlook was so inspiring to early settlers of the Catskills, one developer build a grand hotel and a cable railroad for guests to access the views. The grand hotel, the Catskill Mountain House, is itself a mere memory, but the views are still breathtaking. Park at the entrance to North-South Lake and take the short 1.7-mile ungroomed loop trail to the overlook. Stay clear of the edge of the cliff as winter weather causes slippery conditions. Plan for a few hours of hiking.

Acra Point and Batavia Kill Trail Loop

This hike is ideal in winter, when trees are bared of leaves, offering spectacular views you can only get in the cold months of winter. A New York DEC-maintained parking lot off of County Route 56 leads to a 5.06-mile loop to the point and back. In winter, plan for a half-day to complete this hike. Enjoy views of the Blackhead Mountain Range that are especially beautiful first thing in the morning. The often groomed trail can be hiked, snowshoed, or cross-country skied in winter.

How to Prepare

What to Pack For Winter Hiking

  1. Matches or lighter for emergencies
  2. First aid kit including hand warmers
  3. Enough water and snacks for each person
  4. A small knife or multitool
  5. Toilet paper
  6. A headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
  7. A paper map of the trail or picture of the trail system you will hike

What to Wear For Winter Hikes

The number one rule for winter hiking is to dress in layers. It’s easier to take a layer off than to stay warm without one. In winter, the weather and temperatures are unpredictable. Plan and dress accordingly. Here’s a shortlist to keep you comfortable during your winter hiking trips in the Catskills:

  1. Insulated hiking boots that have been worn-in to avoid blisters
  2. Microspikes for traction on icy terrain
  3. Warm socks (sock liners optional)
  4. High gaiters and/or waterproof hardshell pants
  5. Insulated hat and gloves
  6. Waterproof and windproof jacket
  7. Mid-layer insulation such as a fleece jacket or vest
  8. Base-layer Insulation such a long underwear in a moisture-wicking wool blend.

Don’t forget to sign in at trailheads on state land, let someone know when and where you’ll be hiking, and always practice Leave No Trace Principles.

person skiing in Greene County >

Winter in the Catskills

Plan the best winter getaway in the Catskills with our helpful travel idea guides!