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Hiking in the Catskills: A Beginner’s Guide to Hudson Valley Treks

Want to explore the gorgeous Catskill trails but have no clue where to start? Here’s a step-by-step hiking guide for beginners.

These are the days for scenic treks, but, before you venture out, make sure you’re prepared. Doug Kluthe from Catskill Outfitters in Phoenicia advises hikers to bring an extra layer or two (temperatures can be unpredictable this time of year), wear sturdy and supportive footwear, and pack plenty of water. Bill Kennedy, owner of Kenco Outfitters in Kingston, suggests packing first aid supplies such as bandages and antiseptic wipes, as well as insect repellent and healthy snacks.

Here are six hikes that are perfect for beginners. Stay safe by sticking to the marked trail and signing in and out on the register at the trailhead.

Minnewaska State Park

Kerhonkson

With a variety of trails that allow hikers to explore as much or as little of The Gunks as they want, this park has something for everyone. The most basic trail is a nearly two-mile loop with easy terrain that circles Lake Minnewaska. As you become more adventurous, make sure to check out the remaining 50 miles of foot trails leading to Sam’s Point or Gertrude’s Nose.

Kaaterskill Falls

Hunter

An easy-to-moderate hike to the base of a stunning 260-foot waterfall, this 1.4-mile trail is well-groomed but has lots of stairs (200 to be exact). It begins at the trailhead off Route 23A and ends at the bottom, offering scenic views that have inspired many an artist, including the Valley’s own Thomas Cole.

Read more of the beginners guide, written by Megan Wilson here.

LAST UPDATED

November 14, 2022

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Megan Wilson

Hudson Valley

MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team