Camping in the Catskills

Leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life for the idyllic swimming holes, mountains, trails, and campsites of the Catskills.

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96% (6855 reviews)

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Camping in the Catskills guide

Overview

Just over two hours away from New York City, this mountain region is loved for its rolling green hills, pristine forests, and hidden waterfalls. The natural beauty has drawn visitors for over a century, leaving a history of grand resorts and hotels. The Catskill Mountains are the birthplace of fly fishing, as well as a popular destination for skiing, hiking, kayaking and, of course, camping.

Summer is the high season for campers when the comfortable temperatures lure folks away from the sweltering city. Autumn has fans, too. Visitors come as the trees change color, recasting the land in brilliant oranges and reds.

Kaaterskill Falls is perhaps the most famous scenic spot. This stunning waterfall cascades down over 250-feet. The falls have inspired artists for centuries, including several Hudson River School painters. The North-South Lake campground is close by. The largest of the New York State campgrounds, this spot has many family-friendly amenities, including beaches, boat rentals, and hiking trails.

Experienced hikers come to the Devil's Path to tackle one of the country's most difficult--and dangerous--hiking trails. The path takes hikers over some of the highest peaks, including Hunter Mountain. In the winter, this mountain is a major thrill for skiers and snowboarders. The Hunter Mountain Skyride has chair lifts that take you to the top most days of the year.

The Esopus Creek offers some of the best fly fishing in the country, particularly for trout. For a home base, check out the Kenneth L. Wilson campground, just a short drive from Mt. Tremper. The ground is on Wilson Lake and has a fishing pier to cast off into the shallow water.

You can also explore the Catskill Forest Preserve by water, following the many tributaries and lakes. Little Pond campground is a nice jumping off point. In addition to tent sites, there are several remote campgrounds off the beaten path for more seclusion. Just down the road are Big Lake and Alder Lake, two favorite spots for flat-water paddling. Motorboats aren't allowed, so small craft have the water all to themselves.

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