Sunday, May 21, 2017

Kaaterskill Rail Trail

On Saturday, May 20th, the Mountain Top Historical Society held a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of a new trail connecting the MTHS directly to the renowned Kaaterskill Falls. Now it's possible to hike directly from the restored Ulster & Delaware Railroad station on the MTHS campus—along a lovely, leafy trail (liberally studded with original rail ties)—to the new falls observation platform. From there one can continue across a new footbridge and follow the trail all the way to Windham, more than 20 miles to the northeast!

The Falls of Kaaterskill, 1826,
by Thomas Cole
KRT KioskThe Kaaterskill Falls is a two-stage waterfall located between Haines Falls and Palenville (a half-hour's drive from Woodstock). With waters cascading down a jaw-dropping 230 feet, it's one of the highest falls in the eastern United States. It's also one of America's oldest tourist attractions, inspiring countless stories, poems and other works of art—including paintings by Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand of the famed Hudson River School.

The Kaaterskill Rail Trail (KRT) was originally a footpath connecting the Catskill Mountain House and other area hotels to Haines Falls. By the 1880s the pathway had been transformed into a busy rail corridor with two competing rail lines transporting thousands of vacationers to the Hotel Kaaterskill, the Laurel House hotel and many other boarding houses and resorts in the area. Throngs of summer visitors were drawn from New York City, Albany, Boston and other urban centers to enjoy the cooler temperatures and picturesque scenery still so popular today.

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