The Catskills Region offers abundant waterways that flow through the landscape, carving it into a place of rare beauty close to home. Traveling down from the great heights of the mountains, the Catskills waterfalls come in varieties from easily accessible to ending with a sweet reward on some of the best hikes in the Catskills. Bubbling up from the ground, streams and rivers come alive in Spring, creating new waterfalls and adding to the majesty of existing cascades. Spring is the best time for viewing waterfalls in the Catskills, when melting snow and ice create torrents, lending drama to dynamic natural landmarks.
Thanks to the Catskills’ varied landscape, you’ll discover a bounty of cascading waterfalls large and small across the region.
Add a dose of scenic adventure to your Catskills vacation by visiting one of the region’s most remarkable cascades:
Vernooy Kill Falls
Begin at the trailhead on Upper Cherrytown Road in Kerhonkson to make the 3.6-mile moderate trek up Cherrytown Mountain and you’ll be rewarded with the gently cascading waters of Vernooy Kill Falls and its variety of swimming holes. Flowing down over 60 feet of Catskill shale ledges, the falls are a beautiful, family-friendly spot to cool off on a hot summer’s day. Along the way, you’ll encounter ruins from the old Vernooy Mill dating back to the 1800s and the Catskills’ lumbering heydays.
Russell Brook Falls
Located in the Delaware Wild Forest Preserve, this is a waterfall that requires very little effort to get to during a scenic drive or another leisurely outing, and is just a short distance from the trailhead for Trout Pond Trail. After departing from the trailhead, you’ll pass over Russell Brook and just a short distance away is 23-foot Russell Brook Falls. To get to the trailhead from Roscoe, take Route 206 north to Morton Hill Road and then to Russell Brook Road.
Located on Barkaboom Road, this 26-foot waterfall is part of the Barkaboom Stream, which eventually flows into the Pepacton Reservoir. Take Route 30/Shavertown Bridge from Andes and turn onto the Bureau of Water Supply Road 8, continuing onto Barkaboom Road. You’ll find the falls at the end of this road. Take a close look and you’ll see the remnants of a stone dam that once utilized Tompkins Falls as an electric source for the towns of Shavertown, Pepacton and Arena, which were flooded to create the Pepacton Reservoir and part of the New York City Watershed. Bonus: Tompkins falls makes for a great scenic cycling route stop after visiting other nearby waterfalls, including Manorkill and Hardenburgh.
Ledge/Shelving Rock Falls
Park at Scutt Road trailhead and hike up the road back onto North Lake Road. Look left and you’ll see trail signs for North Point/North Mountain travel on this trail for about 1.5 miles. Falls are at the junction signs. Total hike is 3 miles and rated as easy. Trailhead GPS: 42.20725, -74.03881
Comeau Trail and Saw Kill
Located in Woodstock, the Comeau trail takes you along the Saw Kill and several small waterfalls ranging from 5ft to 15 ft. Go further into the town of Woodstock and visit the Woodstock Waterfall Park. The park shows you a 15ft waterfall right in the heart of the famous town. Parking for Comeau Trail: 42.038300, -74.126041 Parking for Woodstock Waterfall Falls: 42.039939, -74.119309
Hardenburgh Falls in Roxbury
These beautiful falls flow under a bridge on Intake Road. There is a parking area on either side of the road, and a trailhead right near the bridge. Only people with a permit for fishing access can make their way down to the falls.
Artist Falls in Round Top
Artist Falls is a tucked-away spot offering beauty and mystery. The falls are easily accessible from Winter Clove Brook, not far from the Inn of the same name. A covered bridge sits astride the falls, which pool into a basin after a 25-foot drop.
Sam’s Point and Verkeederskill Falls Trail
This beautiful area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve offers an 8.3-mile loop trail located near Cragsmoor that includes views of the stunning Verkeederskill Falls, which cascade for over 180 feet. The falls are located on private property, but you can marvel at their majesty from the hiking trail.
Located in Ellenville, these falls seem steeped in mystery, from where the name came from to the ruined wall that’s located on one side of the falls. The best view of the falls is from further down the steam looking back at the falls. On either side, trees create a canopy that frames the waterfall. Access from US 209 on Chapel Street.
Towering at 260 feet – that’s 90 feet higher than Niagara Falls at 167 feet – Kaaterskill Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall in New York State. One of the most popular waterfalls in the Catskills, Kaaterskill Falls is a regional natural wonder that has captivated everyone from the daytripper to renowned painters and photographers who have depicted the falls in countless pieces of Catskills art. Hike one mile to the base of the two-tiered waterfall and revel in its incredible beauty. Parking is available on Route 23A just east of Haines Falls, but be wary of traffic on this winding switchback road.
Waterfall Hiking Safety
Hiking Advisory: Alongside its beauty, Kaaterskill Falls can be extremely dangerous and has taken the lives of many overzealous hikers over the years. When hiking this popular waterfall, it’s important to always take precautions. Never attempt to hike beyond the end of the designated hiking trail and do not try to hike any portion of the waterfall itself on either tier. Also note that Kaaterskill Falls has seen a massive spike in foot traffic in recent years, which makes it even more important to practice Leave No Trace principles.
When visiting any waterfall or trail in the Catskills (or anywhere!), please make use of waterfall safety and trail etiquette guidelines to ensure a safe and sustainable adventure.