Restricted public access at Kaaterskill Falls this summer

kaaterskill falls

The two falls have a combined drop of 260 feet.

The state Department of Conservation announced this week that it will be restricting public access to Kaaterskill Falls in Greene County starting July 6 and running through the rest of the summer. DEC says the closure is that work on trail and safety upgrades can be completed. From the press release:

Access to the falls will only be allowed from the Kaaterskill Falls trailhead located on NY Route 23A. DEC will prohibit public access past the wooden fences at the base of the falls. The Laurel House Road parking area near the top of the falls will be closed and visitors will not have access to Kaaterskill Falls from the parking area for the remainder of the hiking season. Individuals found trespassing in construction areas will be ticketed by law enforcement personnel.
DEC staff and contractors will construct a new foot trail from the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail at the base of the falls to the Escarpment trail at the top of the falls. This 0.2-mile trail will include construction of a new, approximately 260-foot stone staircase, with 200 stone steps.
In addition, an approximately 300-foot spur trail will lead from the staircase to a point above the middle pool of the falls. At the end of this trail, DEC and its contractors will install another shorter set of stone stairs to provide access to the middle pool area. The stone staircase will be designed to blend in with the natural stone of the area at a location that will limit its visibility from below. DEC will also build a fully accessible trail that leads to an accessible viewing area and overlook platform at the top of the falls.
The new trails and stone staircase will accommodate the public's desire for access to a better view of Kaaterskill Falls and the middle pool area, while also protecting public safety. In recent years, DEC has taken additional steps to prevent people from continuing past the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail, including an increased number of signs warning of potential risks, but some people ignored the warnings and put themselves in danger by continuing past the fence at the end of the trail.

The falls are an impressive, beautiful site, and they're a popular hiking spot, just about an hour south of Albany. (It's one of those not-a-lot-of-effort/big-payoff hikes.) They've also been the scene of multiple deaths -- Watershed Post fills in some of the context.


Clearly, much of this beautiful area will be off limits due to construction. It would be really helpful if we knew whether the view is substantially blocked or compromised by scaffolding or other equipment. Would photographs from the unrestricted area of the Falls be forced to include construction equipment, for example?

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