Kaaterskill Falls is Open, but You Can Only Start From the Top

Kaaterskill Falls
Average read time 2 min

The famous 270’ Kaaterskill Falls once again this year will only be accessible from the top. The parking area on RT 23a will remain closed, and drivers who park along the road will face fines and towing. 

The notice on the NYSDEC website says: “The Molly Smith parking area on Route 23a in the Town of Hunter is closed to improve visitor safety. DEC recommends visitors access Kaaterskill Falls by parking at the Laurel-House Road, Schutt Road, or South Lake parking areas”.

The RT 23a trailhead parking is situated at a sharp turn in the highway on a grade that lends itself to many dangerous traffic situations, given the intense interest in the falls and volume of vehicles.

With improved trail work at the falls, it should be no problem for individuals who wish to hike down and view the falls in all their glory. The rock stairway connecting the upper and lower viewing points is one of the most impressive in the state’s trail network.

Photo of Stairs on the Kaaterskill Falls Trail
Scott | copyright Challenged Hiking Stairs on the Kaaterskill Falls Trail

Hikers will have three options for parking:

  • Laurel-House Road Parking Area is located off of North Lake Road .5 miles before the entrance to the North-South Lake Campground (42.195628 °N, 74.08173°W) Google Maps
  • Schutt Road Parking Area is located off of North Lake Road immediately before the entrance to North-South Lake Campground (42.200753°N, 74.058512°W) Google Maps
  • South Lake Parking Area is located in the North-South Lake Campground at the end of North Lake Road. After entering the campground beyond the entrance booth, stay right to follow South Lake Road. The pull-off parking area will be on the right. (There may be a day-use fee required for parking within the campground) (42.196504°N, 74.051059°W) Google Maps

Related post: Kaaterskill Falls from the Top

One of the losses is that hikers will miss the lesser-known, but incredible Bastion Falls at the lower trailhead. Now either a driveby or a hike out to the falls will be needed to view them. 

Bastion Falls

For anyone who would like to see the Bastion Falls without the hike, view them here.

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