The Catskills are a bicycler’s paradise with hundreds of miles of trails and roads perfect for bikers of all skill levels. Whether you’re into off-road mountain biking, pedaling the pavement on the scenic byways or taking a relaxing ride with your family, it doesn’t take long to find an adventure that suits your needs.
Luckily, you don’t have to haul your bike up the mountains or make a pricey gear investment for occasional use. Outfitters, bike shops and other establishments offer mountain and road bicycle rentals across the Catskills. Here are 13 places to rent bikes.
Recreation and the outdoors are not just for able-bodied people. Adults and children with physical challenges benefit from exercise and the balance that comes from nature and fitness. Here are some opportunities that allow everyone equal access to the Catskills.
Above: A three-mile stretch of Route 28 in the Ulster County town of Shandaken has been the scene of two crashes in one week. Image via Google Maps.
It's August, the very peak of the high summer season in the Catskills, and the roads are jammed with drivers. That means more crashes, especially on weekends, when the region's many visitors are in transit.
In one week, there have been two crashes on the same stretch of Route 28 in the Ulster County town of Shandaken, from the road's intersection with Route 212 south to the hamlet of Boiceville.
On Sunday, Aug. 2 at 4:17 p.m., first responders were called to a crash at the intersection of Upper Boiceville Road and Route 28, according to Rich Muellerleile, the chief of the Shandaken Ambulance Service, which was dispatched to the scene.
A week later, another crash happened on the same stretch of road at almost the same time.
At 5:25 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, a three-car crash involving a rollover occurred near the intersection of Route 212 and Route 28. The Shandaken EMS, the Olive Fire Department and the Phoenicia Fire Department responded to the scene, and shut down Route 28 from Winne Road to Route 212 for about an hour and a half, according to Muellerleile. Read more
Above: Kids hiking in the Catskills. Photo by Tim Luby.
While the Catskills have a reputation for rugged, steep terrain, the region also offers plenty of short, exciting jaunts with amazing views that kids can scale.
1. VROMAN’S NOSE. 1.5 miles round trip. A mostly gentle climb, with some steep sections, that leads to sweeping views of surrounding farmland. The large, flat summit is known as “The Dance Floor.” Park on Mill Valley Road in Middleburgh.
2. TROUT POND. 3 miles round trip. A pleasant walk on an old woods road up to a scenic lake. A side trail on the way overlooks a waterfall. Great fishing and camping opportunities. Park on Russell Brook Road near Roscoe.
3. FRICK POND. 2.2 miles round trip. A level hike through forests, swamps and meadows along the shoreline of Frick Pond. Can be muddy. Park on Beech Mountain Road, Livingston Manor.
4. TANBARK TRAIL. 2 miles round trip. A climb up to impressive views of Phoenicia, the Esopus Creek and surrounding high peaks. Trailhead at Parish Field, Phoenicia. Read more
Above: Picking blueberries at Blue Sky Farm & Winery in Stamford. Photo by Jane Margolies.
Strawberry season has come and gone, but not to worry if you didn’t get your fill of luscious, locally grown berries. Blueberry season is upon us, and, thanks to the late spring rains, growers at U-Pick farms around the Catskills are reporting bumper crops of berries that are bigger and plumper than usual. Raspberries are also ripe for the picking at some farms. So grab a pail and get out your pie and cobbler recipes—and stay tuned for more updates on U-Pick offerings throughout the summer and fall.
Blue Sky Farm & Winery had its first U-Pick day July 18, and owner Russ Betz says he’ll have blueberries for the next three or four weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The berries are $3 per pound—and you can pick up a bottle of blueberry wine while you’re at it. Read more
The Catskill Mountains were made for road cycling and mountain biking, with miles of paved, lightly trafficked roads and rugged mountain trails. For those who love to shred shale, the region is a mountain biker’s paradise.
Above: Brisket, pulled pork, chicken and ribs at Catskill Mtn. BBQ in Grand Gorge. Photo by Julia Reischel.
Barbecue fans will drive long distances for their fix of smoked pork belly and brisket. Here’s where to get barbecue in the Catskills.
The Tannersville version of AMERICAN GLORY BBQ (6033 Main St., Tannersville. 518-822-1234. americanglory.com) opened in August 2014, serving North Carolina-style pulled pork, brisket (chopped or sliced Texas style) and St. Louis-style ribs, all smoked over maple wood for hours.
￼Above: Belleayre Beach at Pine Hill Lake in July 2014. Photo by Jonathan Garin.
In the Catskills, there’s a secret swimming hole in almost every town. (If you ask nicely, a local may point you in the right direction.) Here are a few of the best known publicly accessible swimming spots, from lifeguarded beaches to swimming pools to blue holes in the wilderness.
BIG DEEP is a beloved woodsy swimming hole with a rope swing on the Saw Kill. East of town on Route 212 in Woodstock.
PEEKAMOOSE BLUE HOLE, an icy cold, deep blue basin, is tucked into the woods near the border of Ulster and Sullivan counties. From Route 28A in West Shokan, go 10 miles southwest on County Road 42. Read more