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Neversink River Waterfall Foliage Hike

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

My friends and I joked on this hike was the hike of deception. We had this excellent idea that we could do this easy hike to see incredible waterfalls, and it would be a breeze! We all are experienced hikers, and some are more knowledgeable and experienced than others.

We arrived at earlyish for the hike. It is a little over an hour north of where I'm located, exited 109 off route 17 right before the Catskills. The view arriving at this trailhead was stunning! Clouds were rolling through the mountains.

Fall colors are starting to pop on trees. The road winds and twists around these mountains. It is the perfect introduction to this hidden trail in New York.

Distance from NYC: 97 miles (~2.25 hours)

When to visit: Summer & fall, I highly recommend getting there early.

Why go: Challenging hike, and if you want to see waterfalls, this will fulfill that need.

How to Get there?

Neversink Falls is outside of the Catskills Park in New York. The Catskills is a beautiful park that I've been enjoying, and I look forward to sharing trail reviews with you!

Coming from New Jersey or the NYC area, take I-287 W to I-87 N toward Albany. Take exit 16 for NY-17 W towards Harriman. Take exit 109 toward Rock Hill/Woodridge. Drive to Katrina Falls Road. The road ends at the trailhead.

Another nearby hiking area is Minnesawka State Park and Mohonk Preserve. A famous location for views, Mohonk House, and the Gunks. I wrote a camping trip guide here that you can check out for camping and hiking info.

Location: Neversink River Unique Area

Distance: 8.4 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1,663 feet

Difficulty: 🍍 🍍 🍍

Pass/permit: No

Dogs: Yes, leashed

Road access: Katrina Falls Road, Trailhead

One of the first things you'll see when you arrive will have zero cell phone service. The road you take to the trailhead is just a dead-end to the trailhead.

If you don't want all the details about the drive, beauty, and challenge of the hike, here are some bullet points for the hike:

  • 4 turn off for different views

  • 2 waterfalls

  • A pretty rocky mix of walking on stone and lose rock

  • Bring plenty of water, hydration pack, and water left in the car for when you're done highly recommended

  • You'll need snacks

  • Strenuous hike

Still, reading? Great, let's jump into this hike that my friends and I didn't prep as we should. If you've read other blogs of mine, especially hiking ones. I always stress being prepared and researching a hike before going. I needed to take my own advice on this one.

Cars were already starting to fill in the parking lot, and I'm seeing people in gear that ranges from a stroll to more advanced hikers. My friends and I were in the middle with our hiking shoes, clothes, and day lite packs. I used my Osprey Katauri 7, which was great for this hike!

Going on a hike in the fall can be tricky because the morning is cold, and as the day goes on, heat comes in. If you want to have layers but plan to remove them, I recommend Osprey Tempest 20.

There is a map of the hike at the parking lot. I suggest taking a photo since you will have none to limited reception. We were having an issue with all trails when we would check it during the hike. From there, about 20 or so feet into the walk, you have a check-in point. I honestly love these! It makes me feel like I'm signing into a real hike.

The beginning of the trail is mostly downhill. When you reach the first spot, the river is coming, and you get to cross a small bridge. The water is very therapeutic to listen to. The bridge does not cover all the water to cross, so hopefully, your shoes are waterproof to help you get across.

Blue Trail East - Main Trail (0.6 miles)

Past the creek, we came to the first fork in the road. This split is between the Blue Trail till the High Falls split and Red Trail till the Mullet Falls. We had to decide which way to turn. Keep to the right with the short distance to the viewpoints. The other way is much further to travel for the views.

From there, make your way on the blue trail till you get a turn off for the yellow trail to the Neversink River.

I am a sucker for any kind of lookout. Say a scenic overlook, I'm likely to detour and take the scenic route or add the milages to the hike.

ViewPoint 1: Neversink River (0.4 miles)

If you were to just do Neversink River, it is about a mile loop from the parking lot. Looking at this in black and white, I did not believe this distance while doing the hike at the beginning. Granted, we were doing a very leisurely pace.

This is a spot to come for a quiet environment to either fish, have a picnic, or just come for a calming view. It is relatively easy to get to from the Neversink trail loop.

Picture this, get to the river. Early morning mist coming off the water, and there were fly fishermen in the morning. Doesn't that sound like a dream? Well, it wasn't. That was my experience when going to this river. It was stunning, beautiful and I'm so glad I'm a sucker for any scenic turn off.

Outside of the fly fishermen, my two friends and I were the only people there. It was a peaceful spot. We lingered for photos but almost hard to move on.

Return to Main Trail

Between the Neversink River, on the Blue Trail, and the Denton Falls, there is a gorgeous bridge. I strongly suggest taking photos of this bridge. It is at a bend in the path that gives you a small moment of quickly fleeting beauty. Shortly after this bridge, you come to a sign directing to Denton Falls.

ViewPoint 2: Denton Falls (0.8 miles)

An unexpected peaceful spot. A short distance from the main train, Blue Trail East. The name can be deceiving. There is no full drop for walls, more different elevations of the water moving over the rocks. There was no cliff drop.

The sound of water here is relaxing on its own. Of the two future falls, this was a great starting point.

Returning to the Main Loop, this trail previous to this point was an excellent warm-up to High Falls Trail. Just keep in mind you're already done about 2 miles. Your legs are about to put in some serious work!

ViewPoint 3: High Falls (7.6 miles)

This trail was a challenging hike. I would say you could do this alone and feel accomplished for a tough hike. The difficulty lies in the loose rocks and repeated elevation. Going up 1.6K feet, down the same or more, and up again. It is probably about 3 to 4 times.

As I said, my friends and I called this the trail of deception. This section was the route that made us all question our ability to judge a hike, our trail speed, and if we could even read a map. There was nothing simple about this trail.

We checked All Trails about 4 times while doing this section of the trail. We realized we severely underestimated the amount of time it would take us to complete this section on the trail.

Thankfully my friends had a great spirit on the trail that day. If you need to know anything, those you go on the trail, make a world of difference. Even though this part was never-ending, the jokes were strong here to get to the falls. We had some false glimpse into the finish, but when we finally did, there was no questioning it.

You finish going down to the falls with a beautiful glimpse.

This spot is stunning. It is another reason why I recommend getting here early. My friends and I had probably about 30 to 45 minutes to ourselves. There's not a lot of standing space to enjoy the falls and be with others.

It's perfect for destressing, especially after the trail you just survived. Breathe while you are here and take photos! Nature is stunning. This spot did not disappoint!

ViewPoint 4: Mullet Falls (0.2 miles)

Seeing a photo of this location was the whole reason I wanted to come to this trail. I almost did not come to this view. We had gone to High Falls, overheard a hiking group, and the "expert" in the group told us the fall was hidden and not worth going to. Not knowing the distance to this fall from High Falls, it was almost scrapped by me because I had a deadline to return home.

After leaving the High Falls trail to get back on the main trail, we also didn't know it was about .2 miles. .2 miles! All Trails wasn't clear about the distance, and we had never done this trail previously.

If we had known that .2 miles distance knowledge, we wouldn't have had this saga. We started walking back to the Blue Trail, and I would begin to head home, and my friends continue on the trail. Before making that decision, we asked several hikers passing if they knew how far Mullet Fall was. No one we passed knew.

Walking back, we are talking about the day, figuring out logistics, and within .4 miles, we see a ranger on the trail. Thank God for rangers. If you do not know what a ranger is, mostly in National Parks, they are better known on trails. Still, they are volunteer rangers who help patrol the trails to help hikers navigate and be there for safety purposes.

This trail has no cell phone reception, so a ranger is there to monitor and ensure everyone is safe. Rangers are the best, I cannot recall her name who helped up, but she was terrific and informed up the trail was .6 mile loop to the Denton Falls and back to where we talked to her.

We decided to go to the falls, and I was so happy!

These falls were worth it. I can't imagine how much they must be flowing post a heavy rainfall. The guide who told us these falls were not worth exploring, SO WRONG! I am so happy we did.

We loved the view and were amazed by this stunning view in front of us. Imagine if I walked home and my friends walked this without me? If you read my Letchworth State Park post about the issues with not having a printout and just relying on all trails. This was another situation where this happened.

I do appreciate All Trails and all the trails it had introduced me to. However, I am collected printed out maps to have knowledge about the area I'm hiking in. We even snagged a photo of the map before going on the trail to have it. We didn't consult it! Always consult the map!

From here, we headed back to the Main Trail.

It felt good to head home, but it felt like forever leaving the trail from all the hoopla. After all, w went through, the walk back to the car felt like never-ending. It is deceivingly long. When I returned to the car and my Fit Bit Ulta said it was a 10-mile hike. My tracker is always shorter than the distance we actually complete.

Giving you that content to budget extra time for this trail. I would say plan it as an all-day event. Also, always stretch post-hike!

Overall Hike Summary:

Sneaky challenge if you go to see all the scenic turn-offs. I highly recommend this trail—budget more time than you would think. The High Falls trail is the longest and most challenging of all the trails.

Facts & Attractions of Neversink Unique Area:

  • Neversink Unique are is located southwest of the Catskills

  • Albany is the capital of New York

  • American currency is in American dollars and cents

  • 6,580 -acre state park located on the west bank of the Hudson River

  • Known for gorges and several waterfalls

Want to save these hikes? Save these pins to not forget!

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