I got to Pine Tree Paradise around 5 p.m. and greeted Demetri at his house, which also acts as the trailhead for the campsite. He walked me down the 100 yards or so to the campsite and explained what the property had to offer—2 miles of trails, stream, pond, and view of the Catskills. It’s quite the pleasant little getaway—and the perfect basecamp for exploring the many hikes the Catskills have to offer.
Although there are houses in view on parts of the trails, everything was peacefully quiet during my stay. The trails are all flat and easy to traverse. There is a deep part in the stream that offers swimming opportunities in clear, blue water. There are a few other campsites on the other end of the property, but they are far enough away that if there were other campers, they would not be visible or audible from the site I stayed at. The air is clean, fresh, and smelled of forest that reminded me of the Adirondacks. The campsite is in a well chosen location next to a group of ferns.
Once Demetri left me to my devices, I setup my tent and hammock and got a little campfire going. There is plenty of downed wood to choose from right at the campsite. It wasn’t long before I had all the firewood I would need for my stay piled up. I used my magnesium fire starter to start a fire for the first time—I felt like Survivorman.
I brought a portable dual burner camp stove, which I used to cook some mac and cheese for dinner, before attempting to sleep in my hammock until the rain moved me into my tent.
The next morning, the rain had stopped and there was some gorgeous light breaching the forest canopy. I got out my soccer ball and spent some time juggling. I try to bring it on all my frontcountry camping trips. There is a decent amount of poison ivy just off the campsite and trails, so watch your step! Cell phone reception is very good, for those who need to make a call, send a message, or just need to stay connected.
I was attracted to scout this campsite because it’s right at the base of the Catskills and I knew many amazing trailheads are nearby. Kaaterskill Falls, Overlook Mountain, and Huckleberry Point are just a few of the more popular destinations that are practically a stone’s throw away. For information on local hikes, I recommend Hike the Hudson Valley’s website or the AllTrails map.
During my trip, I hiked to Plattekill Falls, but Kaaterskill Falls is another favorite of mine. There There is a newly constructed lookout platform at the top of Kaaterskill that is, or is very nearly, wheelchair accessible. The view from the bottom of the falls is accessible through a short and manageable hike. Parking for the lower hike can get crowded on the weekends, so plan ahead, or make a weekday trip out of it!
Also, there are too many reports of people injuring themselves near the second level of the falls, so BE CAREFUL. I mean it. Huckleberry Point has a less slippery and watery trail and vista, and it is quite the view with another mountain in close proximity. The road up to the trailhead for Huckleberry Point and Plattekill Falls is seasonal and narrow, so be careful planning and driving too.
Photos and words by Callum Murray.
I’m an outdoor oriented photographer based in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
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