HRT Phase 1 – Kaaterskill Rail Trail (KRT)
committee called KRT committee formed in 2009 after the completion of a mountaintop recreation planning project, Mountaintop Community Resource Strategy. The committee prioritized the Ulster & Delaware railroad between the Mountain Top Historical Society (MTHS) and Kaaterskill Falls on NYSDEC land as its first trail project. Partner agencies involved the effort included the NYSDEC, the Town of Hunter, the MTHS, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.
Developing the former rail bed into a public trail was envisioned for many years. Thanks to the participation of the property owners allowing the trail, and to the not-for-profit organizations and government agencies working together, the KRT officially opened on National Trails Day in June 2013. It offers amazing views of the popular Kaaterskill Falls and provides an important link between the Mountain Top Historical Society and the facilities at the NYS North South Lake campgrounds, dispersing visitors and relieving traffic congestion along Route 23A.
Kaaterskill Station circa 1880s
KRT Volunteers during the June 2013 opening
When the KRT initially opened in June 2013, trail easements were executed with three property owners allowing the trail to open with a detour around one property. Four years later in 2017, the trail opened with a direct route along the historic railbed from the Mountain Top Historical Society to Laurel House Road at 1.5 miles completing phase 1.
The rail trail leads to many other trails on NYSDEC land around the popular North South Lake State Campgrounds including the Escarpment Trail, the former site of the Catskill Mountain House and a trail around South and North Lakes for leisurely strolls. It roughly follows what was originally a footpath dating back to the 1820s that connected the Catskill Mountain House to hotels in Haines Falls.
On both sides of the KRT is the Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway, the first state designated scenic byway in the Catskill Park. To the north is North Lake Road (County Route 18), which leads to the North South Lake State Campground, and to the south is State Route 23A, the gateway to the northern Catskill State Park.