It’s your choice: drink your beer on the couch or drink your beer atop a 260-foot waterfall while overlooking a glorious mountain range blanketed by fall foliage. Obviously, we chose the waterfall.
In the Catskill Mountains of New York there are hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness to get lost in; and just a two-hour drive north of NYC, it’s awesome for anyone looking to quickly escape into the wild.
The hike itself is too easy for the reward. It’s just a short walk straight from the parking lot on Laurel House Rd, with no obstacles, inclines, or peril. You simply walk down the path until you see a small wooden fence with a sign warning hikers not to hop over and approach the falls. Then you break the rules, hop the fence, and discover a magnificent view of the Catskills along with a nerve-wrecking look down to the base where hikers gather to take in the vertical views from the bottom.
Disclaimer: people have been injured and killed here. If you’re going to be stupid and senselessly risk your life, keep yourself on the safe side of the fence. However, if you really want to get the best view in the park, approach with caution.
Once at the edge of the cliff, there’s plenty of space to sit down, relax, and take in the phenomenal view of the mountains. Sitting atop the falls is a transcendent experience, where you can temporarily leave every thought and emotion behind and just exist within nature and revert to a simpler state of being.
We lit a small fire, quenched our man-sized thirsts with some Landsharks, and spent the day in absolute glory whilst watching the sun set over the mountaintops. There truly is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon – even during football season.
Once fueled by nature’s majesty, we headed to the trail off of Rt. 23A which goes to the base of the waterfall. This trail was slightly more strenuous, with lots more traffic than we experienced at the top.
Even with the congestion, it was a pretty quick trek to the falls. From the bottom, you take in another spectacular view of Kaaterskill Falls and stare in awe while picturing yourself back at the top of the mountain.
Here the trail ends with another sign warning hikers not to go any further. So, naturally, we went further. Comprised of two waterfalls, there is a short and precarious path to the top of the lower drop. Again, we don’t recommend crossing the fence if you’re going to be careless. But, for adventure’s sake, we have to say that getting into the middle of the waterfall was totally worth the risk.
The vast amphitheater of the falls is a stunning sight to behold. The water cascading from the upper rim filled a large, icy pool that looked like the perfect place to spend a summer day.
Finally, just as the dark began to consume the forest, we decided to make our way back home. But of course, no CavemanUnbound trip is complete without an epic victory meal! We stopped at Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub in New Paltz, NY for a feast of beer, wings and beef – definitely the only acceptable end to this awesome adventure.