The Hunter area makes a great "home base" for hiking the Catskills. Whether you're hiking with family or friends, the beautiful northern Catskills have the trails -- and the scenery -- for you.

The beauty of the Catskills is legendary. This rugged countryside is crisscrossed with miles and miles of trails, ranging from the well-maintained network in and around North-South Lake to the rugged trails accessing the high peaks. These are the trails.... the difficult, steep climbs to the weathered summits... that make hiking the Catskills so popular. Views like this are numerous, and for the most part, easily accessible.

Other Catskills hiking resources:

There is a wealth of area hiking information including maps, trail descriptions, photos and more on the internet.

This guide to hiking in the Catskills is reproduced from a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation packet entitled "Catskill Trails."

The terrain throughout the Catskill Mountains is generally rugged and steep. Elevations range from approximately 600 feet to 4200 feet. Due to the topography of this region, major water supplies tend to be found only in the lower elevations. Small feeder streams, some of which may only run seasonally, may be present on or between mountains. These streams and occasional springs are the only available water supply.

Every effort is made to maintain the trails in a condition that permits easy passage in both summer and winter. Junction points are marked with signboards and the routes themselves with special circular trail markers in red, blue, or yellow colors. Trails often cross private land in gaining access to public land. These sections are posted with signs stating that the trail is on private land. The landowner has granted permission to use the trail, but he requests that the public do not camp, picnic, hunt or fish on his property. As long as the landowners' wishes are respected the trails will remain open for public use.

Hiking Trail Map

Summer Hiking Map 2021

Protect Our Resources

  • Pack out what you pack in. Litter is a great wilderness destroyer, yet an easy problem for each of us to correct.
  • Cooking is more efficient with a backpacking stove. If you must build an open fire, use only dead and down wood. Locate an old fire site or find an open place and clear an area at least six feet across of any material that will burn and lay up stones. Never leave the fire unattended. After, pour water on the fire and stir the coals until they are cold to your touch. Scatter the cold ashes and the stones and leave the site as clean as possible. Never drop lit matches or smokes where they will cause fire - PREVENT FOREST FIRES.
  • Streams and springs are our only water supply. Keep them clean. Don't put anything in them you wouldn't drink. Don't wash dishes in streams.
  • Locate your camp at least 150 feet away from the trail or water.
  • Nature will take care of human waste. Dig a shallow hole in the forest floor at least 150 feet away from water and campsites. Cover with leaf litter and dirt.
  • Smaller groups do less damage to the environment. If your party is greater than 10 persons, please travel and camp in smaller groups. If you are staying more than three nights in one spot, or with a group of 10 or more, obtain a camping permit from the local Forest Ranger or Regional Office at no charge.
  • Camp and build open fires only below 3500 feet. The higher we climb, the more fragile the environment.
  • If you take a pet into the wilderness, keep it under control at all times. Restrain it on a leash when others approach. Clean droppings away from trail and camping areas. Keep your pet out of sources of drinking water.
  • Respect the environment: do not deface trees, plants, rocks or disturb wildlife.

Unwelcome Visitors

Bears have not been a major problem for recreationists in the Catskills. You are far more likely to be raided by hungry or curious porcupines or raccoons. If you do encounter a bear, try to frighten it away by shouting, banging pots & pans, or blowing whistles. If the animal doesn't flee, it may be dangerous. Back away until you are clear.

To help avoid such problems and to protect your food supply:

  • Keep a clean camp and do not encourage any animal to feed in camp.
  • Store food overnight by hanging it in a bag by rope between trees away from your camp, at least 15 feet above the ground and 6 feet away from any tree trunk.
  • Don't store food on the ground or in your tent.
  • If possible, prepare meals away from your tent.

Remember... The following are forbidden acts and punishable as violations:

  • Defacing, mutilating, or destroying NYSDEC signs, barriers, and objects.
  • Staying in open camps (lean-tos) more than three successive nights or more than ten nights in one calendar year, if others wish to use the lean-to.
  • Using loud, boisterous, indecent, threatening, abusive, or insulting language.
  • Interfering with any officer of the Department of Environmental Conservation in the legal performance of his duty.
  • Throwing stones, annoying or assaulting other people.
  • Interfering with, obstructing, or making dangerous any public facility.
  • Behaving in such a manner as to be likely to endanger the health, limb, or property of others.
  • Committing a breach of the peace.
  • Conducting yourself in a manner suggesting immoral acts, or to be offensive or injurious to the morals of any person.