The Catskills provide an excellent opportunity for many to get away from the humdrum of their day-to-day life. Through some interesting facts, let’s take a look at the places that one must visit, along with the things to do during a trip to these mountain ranges.
The name of the mountains was given to two different naval vessels of the United States, both known as the USS Catskill and commissioned during the Civil War and WWII.
Mountain ranges are a favorite among nature lovers; trekkers as well as those who are seeking adventure. Still, this love for the summits is not just limited to these people. After all, there are only a few things that can match the feeling of being on top of the world, that a mountain peak has to offer.
The Catskill Mountains, or simply the Catskills, are an example of a mountain range that has garnered a lot of attraction from tourists. These are located in the state of New York, about 100 miles away from New York City.
Why Aren’t the Catskills Considered Mountains?
Well, technically, the Catskills are not considered mountains, but a dissected plateau. A dissected plateau is the resultant formation of a mountain-like area because of the erosion that a plateau is subjected to over the years. Around 350 million years ago, there was a river delta that was present at this location which subjected the land beneath to erosion, and that ultimately led to the formation of this dissected plateau.
Facts About the Catskill Mountains
- These mountains border the forest reserve known as the Catskill Park, that is spread over an area of about 700,000 acres.
- Almost 400,000 acres of land, out of the 700,000 acres, is under farming.
- The caves at Howe Caverns have been carved by water over the span of a few million years.
- The expanse of these mountains is across seven counties, and it includes the counties of Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster.
- The number of peaks that soar to over 3,500 feet is over 30, whereas, those peaks that tower over 3,000 feet are more than 60.
- There is the Ashokan Reservoir, which is one of the primary sources of drinking water to New York City.
- The Slide Mountain, which scales to 4,180 feet, is the highest peak in the Catskills.
- It is believed that the Panther Mountain here was formed through the gradual collection of sediments at the site of the impact of a meteor.
- Some of the animals found in the Catskill Mountains are American black bears, bobcats, cougars, and coyotes.
- Along with these animals, they also house the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead.
- These mountains are considered to be a part of the Appalachian range.
- In the Catskills, one can find the largest kaleidoscope, which is about 37 feet tall.
- These mountains have the longest as well as the highest zip line in North America.
- Various movies like ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Sweet Lorraine’ were set in the Catskills.
- Apart from movies, these mountains have also been an integral part of stand-up culture. Comedian Rodney Dangerfield had started his career by performing in the various hotels in the mountains.
- The mountains have also played an important role in various novels like ‘My Side of the Mountain’ by Jean Craighead George and ‘The Lurking Fear’ by H. P. Lovecraft.
Things to Do in the Catskills
- Hiking trails are one of the major attractions of the Catskill Mountains. Devil’s Path, Poet’s Ledge, Hunter Mountain Loop, and Hawkeye Ledge are some of the best hiking trails around here.
- Fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are some of the popular recreational activities that can be enjoyed here. Places famous for fishing are the Ashokan Reservoir, Esopus Creek, and Roscoe.
- Some of the skiing trails available for skiing enthusiasts to choose from are Hunter Mountain, Windham Mountain, and Belleayre Mountain.
- Cycling, both road and mountain, is one of the famous recreational activities in these mountain ranges. Various races take place in Green County, Ulster County, and Windham.
- The fire towers, originally constructed to prevent forest fires, have now for long served as observation posts for tourists, after being taken out of service towards the end of the 20th century. Some good ones are Hunter Mountain fire tower, Balsam Lake Mountain fire observation station, Overlook Mountain tower, Red Hill fire tower, and Tremper Mountain fire tower.
- The Kaaterskill Falls are one of the highest waterfalls in the state of New York.
- Beaver Spring Lake Campground, Blue Mountain Campground, and Devil’s Tombstone are some of the famous campgrounds in the Catskills.
The weather at the Catskills is generally on the cooler side, with January being the coldest month. The temperatures during this period hovers around 20 degrees F. Such weather conditions are best suited for outdoor activities like horse riding and wildlife observation.