Kaaterskill Rail Trail

New York

10 Reviews

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Kaaterskill Rail Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Greene
Length: 2 miles
Trail end points: 103 Laurel House Rd (Palenville) and 51 Railroad Station Rd (Haines Falls)
Trail surfaces: Concrete, Dirt, Grass, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6543991

Kaaterskill Rail Trail Description

The Kaaterskill Rail Trail offers a beautiful, wooded route through Haines Falls in eastern New York, nestled in the northern Catskills. It begins at the historical Ulster & Delaware Train Station, built in 1913, that serves as headquarters for the Mountain Top Historical Society and offers a small museum and information center. The rail-trail continues along the former U&D Railroad, which once took tourists through the area, into the Kaaterskill Wild Forest to end at the top of Kaaterskill Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the state.

A new footbridge built by New York State DEC crosses Spruce Creek (Lake Creek) above Kaaterskill Falls and now links the rail-trail to the Escarpment Trail, which offers a rugged and scenic hiking experience, and the popular North-South Lake State Campground.

The trail is part of the Hunter Regional Trail, a network of rail-trails that run along a former railroad corridor in the Town of Hunter, NY. 

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the trailhead at the Mountain Top Historical Society headquarters (5132 NY-23A, Haines Falls) and at the parking lot for the Laurel House Trail and Kaaterskill Falls Viewing Platform (103 Laurel House Rd, Palenville). Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.

Kaaterskill Rail Trail Reviews

Nice trail in the northern Catskills

I walked this trail yesterday in icy conditions. Until there is an appreciable snowfall in the area I strongly recommend having traction devices with you. I parked in the lot of the Mountain Top Historical Society (closed in winter) which serves as a trailhead. I can’t add to the prior reviews about the non-winter trail conditions but it’s definitely for mountain bikes only.
At the north end of the trail there is an easy connection to walking-only trails leading to a scenic overlook of Kaaterskill Falls as well as a trail to the bottom of the falls. The trailhead parking lot at that end off of Laurel House Road has portable toilets.

Love the history of the trail

I'm a local who lives just down the mountain and I often frequent the trail. I love the tracks that remain from the some of the first times our area was booming. Tourists seem to hate them, which is ironic because that's how they were able to get to the area back in the day.

Not for bikes

A pretty little wooded (though unspectacular) rail-trail that could be the start of a wonderful loop through Catskill towns and North South Lake. But note: this is not a trail for bikes, because the wooden rail ties are still in place. The ties should be removed, unless the intention is to deter bikes from using the trail. They don't add a level of historic poignancy; they're just darn bumpy, and you'll be stopping ever twenty feet to walk your bike over them.

Mountains, Streams, and Railroad Ties

November 2017
It was a good trail in the mountains, except for the bumps of leftover railroad ties. One end is a nice train station, the other is North-South Lake Campground, which you can also bike around, but is not a part of this trail. To see the wonderful water fall you have to get off the main trail a very short distance. A nice bridge over a creek too. Yeah, mountain bikes with suspension only.


Nice walk

So glad this railtrail is now complete. Glad we wore hiking boots - old rr ties and tree roots. Great view of the falls - the side trail off this railtrail to view the falls is not well marked. The DEC trail to the top of the falls is well done. Port-a-potties at Laurel House trail head. TrailLink needs to update their map as it is not correct.

Nice walk in the woods

This trail is now complete from the old train station to the falls. Not sure I'd take a bike on it at this point - lots of old rr ties, stumps and roots - but a really nice walk from Haines Falls to Kaaterskill Falls.

fairly good trail

The walk was nice very relaxing although I did run I to 2 small black bears on the trail with no warning sign that they were living in the area I would advise caution for anyone that at goes on the trail

Nice but not perfect!

After deciding which route to take due to confusing signage and getting off trail for a few moment I decided this trail was nice but not perfect.
Also after 2 miles biking and some parts walking the bike due to mud and woods from train tracks rails we encountered that the end was closed due to construction and wasn't allowed to cross and had to head back same way I came avoiding the nice downhill ride on the main road which makes it much easier after 2 miles of wood terrain.
The nice part was the convenience parking next to it at the Mountain Top Historical center and the shower taken at the waterfalls after the biking exercise.

Needs better signage

Trail in nice shape but could really some signage upgrades. Had to backtrack several times to locate trail. Would be perfect experiences with simple fix.

Parts are beautiful, but not all

Some sections of this trail are beautiful, and its terminus at the top of the falls is spectacular, but it has problems. It is hard to find the start and the signage along the way is sometimes not clear. The trail diverts to a road for a significant section, and major sections of the wooded trail are muddy and uneven because many of the railway cross-ties were left in place. It's OK for walking, but if you want to bike you must get off and walk for some sections because the ties are just too high and the soil around them can't drain properly. This trail really needs work to get it into shape, but the falls make a really nice destination.

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