The All Trails Hiking Challenge: Redlining the Catskills

How well do you know the Catskills? Measuring nearly 60 miles by 40 miles as the crow flies, the Catskill Park covers over 1100 square miles, making it one of the largest parks in America. There are nearly 350 miles of hiking trails within the ‘blue line’ that marks the boundaries of the Catskill Park on maps. The Park contains well over 700,000 acres, and nearly 300,000 acres of those are constitutionally protected forest preserve. When most people think of hiking in the Catskills, they naturally think of climbing mountains, especially the high peaks. Many hikers look at the maps and are aware of all the trails that lead to smaller mountain summits, to waterfalls, and to ponds. Perhaps they hike a few of them, but most never quite get around to the others, if they think of them at all. They don’t know what they’re missing!

Redlining, or hiking all of a trail or a set of trails, has been popular for many years. Of America’s many long distance trails, two pass through the Catskills: the Long Path and the Finger Lakes Trail. Many backpackers and day hikers come to the Catskills to hike the Park’s two best known wholly contained trails, the Escarpment Trail and the Devil’s Path.

The Catskill Mountain Club is happy to announce an initiative to help raise awareness of all these uniquely interesting trails, each one leading to features that promise an outdoor experience worth having. The awarding of a Certificate of Completion plus a Catskills All Trails (CATs) Patch to those who hike all of the designated hiking trails in the Catskill Park will provide an additional incentive to make that extra effort. We hope you take this Catskills All Trails Challenge and discover for yourself all that the Park’s trails offer. And we hope you will share your experiences and knowledge with others.

You can get started any time! Simply download the List of Trails and go. Both the Excel and the Word files can be edited by you so that you can keep track of the dates of your hikes and of any comments about your experiences that you’d like to make. Additionally, there is a PDF file to use for a printed list that you can carry with you for note taking. And be sure to check the Qualifications so that you can maintain adequate records and fulfill all requirements. In them you’ll find out more about the award and about the Application for recognition of your achievements. See you at the awards ceremony!

Want to join a group to report Catskills Trail Conditions? Click here.

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