Saturday, September 17, 2016

Catskill Forest Preserve, NY - Kaaterskill Rail Trail


ABOUT THE PARK:
Kaaterskill Rail Trail - Great Northern Catskills

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 42.19539, -74.09227
My GPS told me to turn right on Railroad Station Road, which is not correct.  There is a gravel drive that loops around to the parking lot above but the proper turn would be ...
... at this sign.

TRAIL MAP:
Northeastern Catskill Trails Map 141 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
These two maps show different routes for the rail trail.  We did it both ways:
Kaaterskill Rail Trail Map (free map) - NYNJTC (This is how the trail is marked)
Kaaterskill Falls & North/South Lake Trail Map (free map) - NYNJTC


HIKE DISTANCE:  5.1 miles
Hiked together with Huckleberry Point, about a 9 mile drive away.

THE HIKE:
Heading to the trail from the parking lot on the right.  (Shawnee's wheels now have an orange bike flag in for hunting season.)
First a left to the Aaron Haines Historical Cemetery.
Heading back along a small pond.
At the intersection before the historic train station up ahead, left to follow the trail markers.
This is not actually a rail trail yet rather woods roads...
... to Osborne Road, which is not a bad residential road walk.
But that brings you to North Lake Road which has pretty much traffic heading to North/South Lake.
Eventually, a right on a woods road...
... to a left on the actual rail trail.  We noticed the trail does continue to the right - more on that later.
The railroad ties are still in place for the most part so it made for a little rough going for Shawnee but she managed OK.


A steep drop off to the side
Where the rail trail currently ends, at the newly enlarged parking lot on Laurel House Road for access to...
... newly constructed paths to Kaaterskill Falls.
Along with all of this new construction and easy access, you have crowds of people and litter everywhere.  Ugh, not our thing AT ALL!
Still more construction going on.
At the top of Kaaterskill Falls.
I kid you not, people had left their stroller sitting by this sign and took their toddler down into the hazardous gorge area.
There was really nothing to see so we backtracked and took the trail to the overlook platform.
At least we caught a break where nobody was there for a minute.
This is Kaaterskill Falls during a drought.  There are people down by the pool but it is so far down you can't see them in the picture.
The falls were just spitting water out where they are normally raging.
New construction along the way to make that side more accessible to more people and safer?  The construction is probably due to all of the deaths at these falls but there will always be those who don't pay attention to the warnings.
OK, we are done here, let's get back to peace and quiet on the rail trail.
Ahhhh, so much better!
I had Shawnee wait with the others while I checked out a side trail looking for a view that was supposed to be along the trail (which I never did find) and I got yelled at for leaving someone behind while I went to investigate.  Nope, she was NOT happy with me and was loudly voicing her opinion about that :)
This is right after the intersection where we had come in from the road walk.  A local woman was at that intersection and I asked her if the trail continued through per this map although it was not marked.  She said it does go through to the historic train station and that it is public assess so definitely OK to go that way.  Apparently there is an upper trail that goes through local back yards that is off limits but this lower rail trail is good to use so off we went.  This part of the trail was much rougher than the marked section we had been on but it was still passable.
Indeed, it spit is right out at the train station.  Going in the opposite direction, it would not be that easy to see the entrance and there are no signs.
Back to the parking lot...
... and on to the next hike.


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