With its varied terrain, the Catskills landscape lends way to numerous forms of outdoor and even extreme adventure. From the region’s ski resorts that switch gears from winter skiing and snowboarding to summer mountin bike and hiking trails, to the towering rock walls and frozen waterfalls that give climbers vertical thrills – discover what kind of adventure lies around the bend for you in the Catskills. If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure to complete your Catskills vacation, get out of your comfort zone and check out these awesome opportunities! Our list below also includes motorized fun such as ATV and snowmobile tours and rentals, so read all the way to the bottom.
Mountain Biking in the Catskills
When the snow finally melts, knobby tire enthusiasts can feed their adrenaline by exploring the Catskills mountain biking trails. Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury dishes out a trail system at the Plattekill Bike Park that offers riding for all levels in the summer months, including group riding sessions like Rise and Shine Morning Mountain Bike Adventures and competitions like the USAC State Championship. In Windham, riders will find challenging tracks at the Windham Mountain Bike Park that receive high marks from pros who compete there annually during the UCI World Cup Festival. If you looking for something more low-key but still on two wheels, try road biking on one of the regions hybrid gravel trail.
Shooting Ranges & Paintball
There’s nothing more extreme than spending a day holding a defensive position while paintballing with friends in the Catskills – unless you’re challenging yourself to hit every target at a shooting or clay pigeon range. When it comes to exciting activities, there are several Catskills shooting ranges and paintball facilities that cater to beginners, experts, and every level in between.
Rock Climbing & Ice Climbing
Year-round, climbers will find a variety of opportunities to scale the Catskills’ greatest heights, including the region’s steepest walls during a rock climb in the ‘Gunks in the summer, and ice climbing adventures in the winter. For ice climbing, try Platte Clove and other waterfalls in the Stony Clove, or the varying levels of climbing difficulty offered at Peekamoose Road Falls near Sundown. If coming down is more intriguing than coming up, learn how to rappel at the Sundance Rappel Tower in Phoenicia.
With numerous classifications of rapids in the region, the Catskills offers whitewater rafting adventure for everyone, whether you’re a first-time rafter or a seasoned kayaker. The Turnwood to East Branch Section of the Beaverkill River offers class II/III rapids along a 32-mile long stretch and makes for a great multiple-day trip. For shorter adventures, try the mild waters of class I/II Halcottville to Margaretville section of the East Branch of the Delaware River, or the challenging Buttermilk Falls to Rondout stretch of Rondout Creek.
Ziplining & Ultrarunning
If clocking some miles fulfills your need for adventure, the Catskills offer a variety of ways to log a few by air or foot. At Hunter Mountain, take the Scenic Sky Ride to New York Zipline Adventure Tours’ 5-mile zipline network which reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour 600 feet above the ground! Don’t worry, if you want to enjoy the scenic views from ground level, you can map out a scenic drive! For extreme ultrarunners, the Catskills are home to some of the best terrain for long-distance running and top ultrarunning events like Manitou’s Revenge, winding a whopping 54 miles from Windham to Phoenicia.
Snowmobile & ATV Tours & Rentals
Within a few short hours of New York City’s hustle and bustle is the wide-open of the Catskills. For ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts, it’s the perfect escape year-round. Two locations for ATVing in the Catskills in Monticello and Haines Falls offer rentals and guided excursions. Located in Haines Falls near Hunter Mountain, Rip Van Winkle Ranch offers snowmobile rentals from November through April, weather permitting, as well as ATV rentals from April through November. Experience the highest peaks of the Catskill Mountains on a backcountry excursion that puts you on trails you might otherwise never ride. For Catskills ATV rentals, the Monticello Motor Club offers off-road, guided excursions. Book a three-hour guided tour of private trail systems that crisscross the region and offer scenic views, epic river crossings, and technical obstacles.
For more information about extreme outdoor adventure in the Catskills, be sure to consult with the region’s many licensed outdoor guides.