Thanks to the Catskills’ varied landscape, you’ll discover a bounty of cascading waterfalls large and small across the region. Traveling down from the great heights of the Catskill Mountains, the region’s waterfalls come in varieties that are both easily accessible, or a sweet reward at the end of the best hikes in the Catskills.
Waterfalls make the perfect side trip during a visit to the Catskills. Try a quick trip or a longer hike to one of these scenic Catskill 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.
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.
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.
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 other 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, Hardenburgh, and Stratton Falls.