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Weekender: The Catskills

Joshua Paul

Photo: Joshua Paul

What to Do
With so many trails in the Catskills, it can be hard to know where to start. A good bet is to drop by the Catskills Hiking Shack (169 Sullivan St., Wurtsboro, Sullivan Co.; 845/888-4453; www.catskillshikes.com), where you can collect trail information, buy gear, or just grill a salesperson about nearby hikes. Pick up a copy of the Catskill Adventure pamphlet just about anywhere (to order, call 845/256-3082 or 607/652-7364); it lists 15 hikes around Catskill Park's 700,000 acres. Here are a few other choice paths to get you started.

Devil's Tombstone Off Rte. 214, Hunter, Greene Co. Park near the small mountain lake. The trail starts in a narrow notch between two peaks.

Slide Mountain Shandaken, Ulster Co. Take Oliverea Drive south to Route 47, past Winnisook Lake, and look for a sign that says slide mountain trailhead parking. The trail leads to the top of the Catskills' highest peak, at 4,180 feet.

Kaaterskill Falls Off Rte. 23A, just east of Tannersville, Greene Co. Hike to the site depicted in the Hudson River school's most famous painting, Thomas Cole's The Falls of Kaaterskill.

Overlook Mountain Meads Mountain Rd., Woodstock, Ulster Co. The trail begins across from the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, where monks and students spend their days meditating.

D&H Canal Trail Rte. 209, Summitville, Ulster Co. Take a more level-ground stroll on this canal-side path.

The Catskills are crisscrossed with tracks from now-defunct rail lines, many of which have been converted into trails. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, in Ulster County, runs for 12 miles along the Wallkill River from Gardiner to Rosendale (www.railtrails.org). The gently-graded Catskill Scenic Trail, in Delaware County, stretches for 19 miles from Bloomville to Grand Gorge.

Fly-Fishing
Just a mile down the road from the Beaverkill Valley Inn, the Wulff School of Fly Fishing (845/439-5020) runs intensive weekend courses. Floyd Franke (607/498-4508), a knowledgeable guide, works at the school and also gives private lessons. Rent waders or take a class at the Beaverkill Angler Fly Fishing School (607/498-5194) in Roscoe.

Ski Resorts
The ski season doesn't begin until November, but you can still take the lifts up to the peaks for spectacular views of the autumn leaves.

Belleayre Mountain Ulster Co., 800/942-6904 or 845/254-5600; off-season lift ticket $8.

Hunter Mountain Greene Co., 888/486-8376 or 518/263-4223; off-season lift ticket $6.

Windham Mountain Greene Co., 518/734-4300; off-season lift ticket $5.

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