Kaaterskill Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in New York State and it is a must-see destination for any waterfall lover. The waterfall is located in Palenville, New York in the eastern section of the Catskill Mountains. The waterfall has a total height of 260 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in NY.
It can be found along Spruce Creek which flows strongest during spring when the snow melts and after heavy rainstorms. Although it is best to explore the waterfall in the spring to see the most water flowing, Kaaterskill Falls is a great spot to visit year-round. The waterfall itself drops in a unique formation consisting of two tiers. The upper drop is 175 feet and the lower drop is 85 feet.
Native Americans considered the waterfall to be the resting place of the creator. For the Mohican people who called the Catskills home, Kaaterskill Falls was a sacred place. Over the years the waterfall gained lots of attention. Since the 1800s the waterfall has been a tourist attraction and also a place where painters, writers, and photographers have flocked in droves to. Thomas Cole, the founder of the acclaimed Hudson River School of Art, depicted a lone warrior watching over the falls in one of his most famous works, a monument to the place’s natural splendor. All have felt the hypnotic pull of Kaaterskill Falls, from Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle through Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits and William Cullen Bryant’s love verse.
The Laurel House Road and Scutt Road parking lots are currently the only ways to get to Kaaterskill Falls. The walk from the parking lots is only a few hundred feet and is rather easy. (The Molly Smith parking lot and the Kaaterskill Falls Trail between Route 23A and the lower falls’ base are no longer open)
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- Height: 260-foot total drop (over two tiers)
- Type: Tiered
- Water source: Spruce Creek
- Swimming: Hikers can swim in the upper falls pool
Kaaterskill Falls Location
- Address: Laurel House Rd
- Town: Palenville
- State: New York
- GPS: 42.193357, -74.063454
- Parking Notes: The Laurel House Road and Scutt Road parking areas are two free lots that give visitors access to Kaaterskill Falls. Parking is also available at North-South Lake Campground for a fee.
- Parking Directions: Laurel House Road (HERE) and Scutt Road (HERE)
- Location Directions: HERE
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