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A Guide to Hiking the Catskill Mountains

Catskill Mountains Hiking: Waterfalls

We've already mentioned that the trail to Kaaterskill Falls makes for a good easy hike. It also happens to be the highest waterfall in Eastern United States at 260 feet (79.2 meters) high -- for comparison, Niagara Falls is 167 feet (50.9 meters) high. This includes both tiers of the waterfall. Washington Irving called Kaaterskill "wild, lovely and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from impending cliffs and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the settling sun" [source: Scheller]. This waterfall was also particularly popular for Hudson River School painters, including Thomas Cole. Even Thomas Edison's studio filmed the falls in one of the first films.

One 10-mile (16.1-kilometer) hike could also take you to the top of three Catskills waterfalls: Viola Falls, Wildcat Falls and Buttermilk Falls. Experienced hikers have noted, however, that you can expect great views from the top, but not great views of the falls themselves. If you're feeling adventurous, you can climb down slopes near Wildcat Falls to see it from its base [source: CatskillMountaineer].