Hunter Regional Trails
Seeking a leisurely hike in the Northern Catskills? Explore the Hunter Regional Trails, a network of pathways once vital to the Ulster & Delaware Railroad, which transported countless tourists to the grand Catskill Mountain hotels in the region during the late 19th and early 20th century. Today, most of the rails and ties have been removed, leaving behind expansive, level trails that are ideal for individuals with mobility challenges or those desiring a relaxed stroll through the forest. These trails consist of three primary sections and showcase the same natural beauty that the Catskills are renowned for, providing an accessible and serene outdoor experience for all.
Kaaterskill Rail Trail: The Kaaterskill Rail Trail is a delightful and accessible path for hikers and nature enthusiasts in the Catskills. This family-friendly trail, once a railway corridor, stretches for approximately 1.5 miles and offers a gentle and scenic route through the beautiful Kaaterskill Clove. The trailhead is conveniently located near the Mountain Top Historical Society (with ample parking), making it an excellent starting point for a leisurely hike. As you meander along the trail, you'll be treated to serene views of Kaaterskill Creek, charming bridges, and the tranquility of the surrounding forest. This trail is perfect for individuals, families, and nature lovers of all ages, providing a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Catskills while enjoying an easy and picturesque walk. On the eastern side of the trail is the Laurel House Parking Lot as well as the Observation Platform for Kaaterskill Falls.
Huckleberry Rail Trail: The Huckleberry Rail Trail offers a unique and family-friendly hiking experience in the Catskills. This former railroad track has been transformed into a scenic 2.7-mile trail (between Bloomer Rd. to the west and Cortina Valley to the east) that's perfect for a leisurely stroll with kids (especially those in strollers). The trail meanders through picturesque forest, crosses quaint bridges, and provides a peaceful ambience, making it an excellent choice for families with young adventurers. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and enjoy the beauty of the Catskills at a relaxed pace. The flat terrain and well-maintained path make this trail accessible to all ages, making it an ideal starting point for introducing your children to the joys of hiking in this stunning region.
Hunter Branch Trail - The newest of the 3 sections, the Hunter Branch Rail Trail was opened in April of 2023, with a bridge dedication in honor of Luke Patterson. The trail goes from Clove Rd, off Rt. 214 in Hunter and continues west through the woods, eventually alongside Ski Bowl Rd. and over to Dolan's Lake at the base of Hunter Mountain Ski Resort. Funding is in place to begin the process of making this section an ADA compliant trail, which is appropriate since it travels through an area that was once Camp Jened, a summer camp for disabled people that gave rise to the disability rights movement.
With 3 distinctly beautiful sections to choose from, you should definitely consider checking out the Hunter Regional Trails on your next visit to the Northern Catskills.
For more information, check out https://townofhuntergov.com/kaaterskill-rail-trail/