The Catskill Mountains are home to some of the best fall foliage on the East Coast. A diverse forest allows for the region to be blanketed in various shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. This natural beauty coupled with the cooler day time temperatures make autumn the perfect season to hit the trails and go on a fall hike in the Catskills.
While there is no shortage of trials or trail networks in the region, here is our short list of the best Catskill Mountain hikes to tackle this fall.
Top 5 fall hikes in the Catskill Mountains
One of the more popular hikes in the Catskills and for good reason. This moderately difficult hike is 3.75 miles and features a series of overlooks that offer stunning views of the Catskill Mountains. For those looking to extend their day of hiking in the Catskills the trail does continue on to Panther Mountain. With a summit of 3,720 feet Panther is one of the tallest mountains in the Catskills. The trail head is located off Route 47 in Ulster County.
This hike is steeped in lore as it takes you through the very forests that Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years. It also rewards you with a sprawling series of cliffs that provide remarkable views of the Hudson River Valley and Catskill Mountains. The trail is just under 5 miles round trip and has a steady incline that becomes steeper in sections. The trail head is located on the grounds of Winter Clove Inn and Resort in Round Top, NY.
Not many trails in the Catskill Mountains can match what this one has to offer. The trail head is located at North and South Lake in Greene County. A nominal fee is required to access the trail head. Hikers are treated to not one, not two, but four amazing overlooks and even a small cave along the way. The hike comes in at just under 6 miles round trip with the ability to add more miles if you want. This is the perfect hike for those with kids as it is a well marked trail. The various scenic viewpoints along the way mean you can turn back when you feel the tiredness setting in. The trail visits Artist Rock, Sunset Rock, Newmans ledge, and Badman’s Cave before arriving at North Point. With so many mountain overlooks this is one of the must do fall hikes in the Catskills.
Balsam Lake Mountain Summit
Located in the Central Catskills, Balsam Lake Mountain qualifies for the Catskill 35 club by being one of the 35 summits in the Catskill Mountains with an elevation greater than 3,500 feet. Additionally there is a 47 foot high fire tower at the summit which provides 360 degree views of the surrounding Catskill Mountains. If you are hoping to see fall foliage on your hike it is tough to beat 360 degree views! There are multiple tails to access this location and most come in under 6 miles round trip and are moderately difficult. No matter which path you choose it is sure to be a perfect fall day hiking in the Catskill Mountains. Check the DEC website to see if the fire tower is open.
Hunter Mountain Fire Tower
This is one of the most iconic hikes in the Catskills and is even more remarkable in the fall. Hunter Mountain is located in Greene County and with a summit of 4,039 feet it is the second tallest mountain in the Catskills (Slide Mountain is 4,190’). There are various trails ranging from 5-8 miles and they all lead to breathtaking views and plenty of fall foliage. From the top of the 60 foot fire tower one can gaze at the surrounding Catskill Mountains and gorgeous fall colors. Contact the DEC for the open hours of the fire tower.
Do your part in keeping the Catskills beautiful and natural for years to come. Click here to learn more about the seven vital principles of Leave No Trace.
Can’t decide on just one hike? Make a weekend out of it and stay in the Catskills. Winter Clove Inn & Resort is conveniently located in the heart of the Catskills. The resort offers comfortable accommodations, wide range of amenities and delicious meals. Contact us to plan your fall hiking getaway in the Catskills.