Kaaterskill Falls
October 16, 2010
Kaaterskill Falls in the eastern Catskill Mountains of the State of New York is about two and a half hours by car from New York City. Its name is likely a corruption of “Catskills” when the English-speaking colonists supplanted the Dutch in the early 18th Century. (source: wikipedia.org)

The half-mile hike to Kaaterskill Falls is not easy. It is uphill, uneven, muddy at times, and the big rocks we stepped on occasionally wiggled under our feet. We’d think twice before bringing friends there who aren’t physically fit.

Still, we saw older people on the trail, even obese ones, stopping always to let us through. It seemed obvious, however, that they were using it as an excuse to catch their breaths. (At least one elderly admitted to us.) Come to think of it, we, too, used our photographing the trail as an excuse to catch our breaths.

But the hike, as most websites will tell you, is worth it. The double-drop Kaaterskill Falls stands tall at 260 feet, almost one hundred feet taller than Niagara Falls. The stones facing the falls are big enough to serve as platforms on which one may stand, sit, or lie down. Indeed, one woman did just that -- she lied down near the base of my tripod and closed her eyes.

There isn’t much to do once at the falls other than to look. But sometimes gathering one’s senses to feel the mist, smell the freshness, and listen to the roar of the thundering waterfalls until you hear nothing else but Nature brings an inner calm that you might otherwise never have thought you had.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
Start of the trail. The trail does not have a proper entrance -- you will have to step over the highway railing to get to the trail. Vi took this picture.
Sign at start of trail. Vi took this picture.
Bastion Falls seen from Route 23A. Vi took this picture.
Top of Bastion Falls. Vi took this picture.
Bastion Falls is composed of several streams. Vi took this picture.
Stony trail. Vi took this picture.
Moss. Some of the moss are on the ground making for slippery surfaces. Vi took this picture.
Two guys were taking turns crossing the creek on top of one of these felled logs when we passed. Another one was videotaping them. They were all laughing except for the one who's crossing. I thought then it's preferable to see the youth get rowdy in this natural setting than in the couch in front of the flatscreen with controllers in their hands.
Kaaterskill Creek runs the length of the trail.
Rocky terrain. It's easy to twist an ankle if you're not careful. Vi took this picture.
When you see this sawed log, you might not see it yet but you're already at the falls. You can see two trail markers -- yellow buttons on trees -- in this photo.
Kaaterskill Falls. The falls is mentioned once in Washington Irving’s 1819 story, “Rip Van Winkle”. You can see two people standing on the middle level of the falls at left.
A man looks down from the top of the falls.
View opposite of the falls. Part of the trail -- if you can call it that -- is seen on the left. As you can see the terrain is very uneven.
Another view of Kaaterskill Falls. Vi took this picture.
Bottom of Kaaterskill Falls. Vi took this picture.
Hikers scurry and clamber on top of rocks forgetting the long, arduous trek once they reach the falls.
One last look at Bastion Falls. The half-mile hike to Kaaterskill Falls may not be for everybody especially those not in good physical shape. Bastion Falls at the start of the trail offers those who cannot make it to Kaaterskill a sight worth seeing -- and worth the trip.
Route 23A -- where the trail head is located -- is a pleasurable drive in the scenic Catskills.
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