best waterfalls in the catskill mountains

The 10 Best Catskills Waterfalls to Explore

I have explored many Catskills waterfalls and this list of 10 really encapsulates the most popular ones you will see there, from the most gigantic to even a few unknown ones in the area which require special directions to reach.

Some of these Catskills waterfalls can be found right off the road, while others require hiking to. Either way, if you enjoy waterfalls and are close to the Catskills, then this is a list I recommend keeping on hand the next time you go there.

Here are the 10 best waterfalls in the Catskills you’ll find:

  1. Buttermilk Falls
  2. Bastion Falls
  3. Fawn’s Leap Falls
  4. Kaaterskill Falls
  5. Minekill Falls
  6. Awosting Falls
  7. Moore’s Bridge Falls
  8. Vernooy Falls
  9. Stony Kill Falls
  10. Diamond Notch Falls
  11. Bonus: Plattekill Falls

Let me show you where each waterfall on this list is located in the Catskills and what to expect if you go (if there’s hiking involved, how long it is, or if it’s easy to reach). Let’s begin:

Buttermilk Falls:

beautiful buttermilk falls in the catskill mountains 01

Accessing it is simple (parking lot and short trail is located right by it). You can walk up to the base of the falls like you see in the picture here. Another option (a bit dangerous) is walking up the side of the falls to the top, but there’s no way into the gorge itself that’s at the top of it. If you go here, be sure to check out Peekamoose Blue Hole too, even if you don’t intend to swim there, because it is also one of the most beautiful swimming holes in the swimming holes in the Catskills.

Bastion Falls:

bastion falls in the catskill mountains 01

  • Location: Road 23A by Kaaterskill Falls trailhead.

While Kaaterskill Falls requires you to hike to it, Bastion Falls does not. You can see it right off the road as you drive there (it’s also one of the most scenic drives in New York). As for walking up to it, 2 parking lots are available by this waterfall (they are often filled up on weekends) and then a short walk to the falls is required. But if you just want to see it from your car, you will be able to do that too.

I also really like seeing this place when it’s autumn and actually include it in a post I made on Catskills fall foliage places to see. Bashion Falls during autumn is stunning and so are the areas all around it!

Fawns Leap Falls:

fawns leap falls catskill mountains

  • Location: Road 23A near Moore’s Bridge Falls.

Fawn’s Leap is actually a very popular cliff dive in Catskill Park but it also features a very beautiful waterfall (about 20 feet high) right next to the cliff dive too and while jumping in is risky, the scenery of this spot is spectacular. To reach Fawn’s Leap Falls, you have to park your car further down (or up) on Road 32A and then hike to the location which can be found on your GPS. A short, but steep scramble is required to get to this waterfall, but if you enjoy cliff diving or beautiful scenery, this is one waterfall I highly suggest putting on your list. It’s not that difficult to find it and you should be able to see it on your GPS.

Kaaterskill Falls (the top Catskill waterfall in the region):

kaaterskill falls in the catskill mountains 02

There’s a reason why most people who visit the Catskills go to Kaaterskill Falls: It’s beautiful, it’s huge and it’s accessible from multiple areas. It also happens to be, at least in my opinion one of the best waterfalls in New York to check out!

Like I mentioned before you can access the Kaaterskill Falls hike from the top area where a parking lot is available (the Laurel House trail Parking Lot), with a short hike/walk to an overlook. There is also an area to walk up to the edge of it (not recommended). But you can also hike from the bottom up to the base of this waterfall.

You would have to park your car by Bastion Falls, then take the 1 mile hike up to Kaaterskill Falls. Steps are also available there to reach the second level of the falls, as is a hike to reach the top, so whether you want to hike from the top down or vice versa, there are a lot of ways to explore this beautiful waterfall in the Catskills.

Minekill Falls:

minekill falls in the catskill mountains 01

Minekill Falls is a bit out of the way than any other waterfall on this list and doesn’t get as many visitors, but it is beautiful and worth exploring if you have the time. I usually explore this spot almost every time I visit the Catskill Mountains and it features 2 options for viewing:

  • One is a short walk from the parking lot to an overlook above the falls.
  • And the other is a 1/4 mile walk to the base of it.

Not only is the waterfall beautiful, but the gorge surrounding it is a beautiful sight as well. There also happens to be a smaller waterfall behind Minekill falls which you can see from the overlook area on top and a ripple waterfall from the gorge at the bottom, all things I recommend exploring.

Awosting Falls:

awosting falls in the catskill mountains 01

Location: Lake Minnewaska State Park

Awosting Falls can be explored from the top and bottom, but unlike the other 2 waterfalls above, the top area doesn’t have a gated overlook so I would be careful if you. But a short, zigzag walk is available next to it so you can reach the base of the falls and that is where you’ll get the best views of it. It’s beautiful year round here, but if you come here during winter (which I did), be aware that it’s very slippery in this specific area. One recommendation is to come here in autumn (see more fall foliage places in New York).

Road 23A waterfall (Called Moore’s Bridge Falls):

moores bridge falls catskill mountains 01

  • Location: Between Fawn’s Leap and Rat’s Hole Park, all locations by road 23A.

You’ll be able to hear Moore’s Bridge falls while driving on Road 23A shortly past Fawn’s Leap. Parking is available south of this waterfall followed by a 1/2 mile hike up the road. Then you’ll be able to get off road 23A, go under the bridge and enjoy this waterfall. A swimming hole is also available as is a large area to sit and relax for as long as you want there.

Unfortunately this area is also commonly crowded on weekends and sadly there’s many people who leave their garbage here. Don’t be one of those people please. Special thanks by the way to Mark for sharing the name of this bridge (and waterfall). 

Vernooy Falls:

vernooy falls in the catskills

Vernooy Falls is a small, cascading but beautiful waterfall about half a mile away from the road and requires a hike to reach, but it also has a nice swimming hole available. It also isn’t that far from Peekamoose Blue Hole (and Buttermilk Falls) and you can see it on your GPS.

To be on the safe side, I’d load up the Alltrails app before hiking here just to be sure you don’t get lost in the woods. But this is a popular falls that actually might not be as crowded as some of the other choices on this list.

Stony Kill Falls:

stony kill falls in the catskill mountains

  • Location: Lake Minnewaska State Park

Reaching it is easy as it’s only about 500 feet away from the parking lot (a short hike is required). If you do check out this falls, it’s also easy to check out Awosting Falls which is in the same park anyway, so you can double up on your waterfall exploration here. I personally have not been to this waterfall yet but it is on my list when I make a future visit to Minnewaska State Park.

Diamond Notch Falls:

diamond notch falls in the catskill mountains

Although there are several hikes in the Catskills that take you to this waterfall, just know that you can easily access this waterfall without having to do that as there’s a parking lot nearby (I included the GPS link to that parking lot and waterfall above) and from there, it’s about a 1/4 mile hike get to the waterfall (there’s also 2 other trails nearby you can see).

Plattekill Falls:

Plattekill Falls in the catskill mountains 01

Location: Plattekill Falls trailhead

On my last trip to the Catskills, I decided to explore even more waterfalls and came across this one (Plattekill Falls). I was stunned at how I never heard of it before, because this waterfall has it all:

  • It’s massive.
  • It’s absolutely beautiful.
  • It’s easy to reach and the surrounding area by it is itself a treat to explore, hike and drive through.

This waterfall is about 60 feet high and is located right by the Long Path hike, as well as Devils Path. Reaching this falls from the parking area takes about 10 minutes. Overall, I highly recommend you check this waterfall out (and absolutely make sure to explore the area nearby because there is much to see there too).

Are there more Catskill waterfalls to see? Yep, but:

catskills waterfalls photo
waterfalls in the catskill mountains

I honestly haven’t explored every single part of this mountain region to tell you about that. I can tell you that these 10 are certainly some of the most beautiful and most popular (you’ll quickly see why when you visit any one of them).


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    1. Oh wow, you’re right Mark! Great mention! I’ve updated that part of the article. It only took me 15 years to find the name of that bridge (and waterfall).

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