There's nothing more restorative than spending time in nature quietly ambling down a scenic path. In the Catskill Region, the stunning scenery offers respite and inspiration in equal measure. Walk in famed artists' footsteps to vistas captured on canvas, paddle a recreational trail all the way to Pennsylvania, and follow the path of peaceful doves.
Mountain Top Arboretum
Located just outside of Hunter Mountain in Tannersville, the Mountain Top Arboretum offers 178 acres of woodlands, natural meadows, wetlands, and plant collections accessible via a network of trails. Open from dawn until dusk, explore four distinct areas: the West Meadow, Woodland Walk, East Meadow, and Spruce Glen. See rain gardens, and a labyrinth, enjoy bird watching at the Bird Cove, and touch Devonian-era bedrock that's estimated to be 375 million years old. Each area should take about 30-45 minutes to explore, depending on how fast you go.
Hudson River School Art Trail
Widely regarded as America's first real artistic style, the Hudson River School depicted the wild, pristine vistas of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley as idealized landscapes. Today, many of the places artists like Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and Jasper Crospey depicted are still pristine and untouched – and located along the Hudson River School Art Trail. Start at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, the first stop on the trail, and follow the map to 20 different vistas.
The River-to-Ridge Trail is part of the Open Space Institute, a conservation organization that focuses on protecting open places for all to enjoy and use. This multi-use trail is six miles long, and links New Paltz to more than 100 miles of trails and carriage roads in the Shawangunk Ridge. Meander through farm fields and rolling hills, and explore more of the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, and the future Empire State Trail.
Five Locks Walk
The Five Locks Walk is a towpath walking trail that travels between the Delaware and Hudson Canal from locks 16 to 20. The locks were constructed in the 1840s, and the canal itself is a National Historic Landmark. For half-a-mile, enjoy walking alongside a key piece of New York State history.
Perfect for novice and beginner hikers, the Shavertown Trail packs a lot of views in a short, but moderately strenuous mile-long hike. The trail climbs over 520 feet, wandering past a placid pond that is covered in pine and white water lilies in season. Enjoy views of the Pepacton Reservoir. This trail, created by the Catskill Mountain Club, can be accessed on County Route One, a short drive north of the intersection of Route 30 and County Route One in Andes. Two miles round trip.
Palmer Hill Trail
This 235-acre area offers outstanding views and just over three miles of hiking trails with a mix of forest and open field terrain. Two loops offer views of the northern Catskill Mountains. The Palmer Hill Trail features include open meadows with views of forests, historic stone walls, and apple tree groves. Access both loops from the trailhead just off Route 28 between Margaretville and Andes.
Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail
The Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock festival, and celebrates the lasting impact the three-day event had on the region. Follow the trail and find dove sculptures at locations like the Bethel Woods Center for the Art—located at the site of the original festival in Bethel—antique stores, restaurants, and attractions throughout the county. Sign up for the Dove Trail Photo Passport Program and receive a special gift when you take a selfie with all 50 dove sculptures.
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
This recreational path is actually a river! The Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River is a public waterway offering boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Watch for eagles, cast a line and go fishing, or simply enjoy the pristine waterway from your kayak or canoe. Access the New York section of the trail in Narrowsburg and paddle all the way to Pennsylvania if you so desire.
Explore nature trails in the Catskills and enjoy the wide-open beauty of this region.