• Kaaterskill Falls, New York

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Kaaterskill Falls, N.Y. Photography Hot Spot

A Top Ten New YorkPhotography Hot Spot

Kaaterskill Falls, New York.

This is a top ten spot if we ever saw one!! You will have to go all the way to the top and shoot from behind the water, as we did in the picture above. Yes, it is a profoundly strenuous hike to get to the top. In the last two years in a row, people have died here. Be extremely careful. Go slow. Wear a backpack for your gear, and don’t go alone. The incline to get to the third level is exceptionally steep. You need hiking boots. I have seen people go about this half-hour trek to the top without using their brains. This is why people get hurt and or die here.

The top tier, 328 feet in the air, is outstanding.  I’ll stop typing. Just let the images speak for themselves. They do not even do the location justice. Look for the little guy walking on the rim so you can see how incredibly huge this waterfall is.  These are some random, unedited photos in the gallery. Look below at the massive vertical shot. Kaaterskill Falls is one of our top 10 Photography Locations.

Top 10 Photography Hot Spot

What an absolutely incredible place!! Add this to your bucket list only if you can hike. It’s a tough climb, but it is so well worth it if you can make it up to the “dome.” at the top.  It’s hard to see the magnificence of this location, even in our super images.  If you cannot hike a challenging trail, you can always drive the road above and do a short 5-10 minute hike through the wood to the very top to look down. Whatever you do, be careful. Pay attention! People die here.

Here is a picture with people so you can see how humungous this place really is.

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Photography Information:

Bring your tripod to Kaaterskill Falls. There is a lot of running water. it is best to go after a good storm when the rivers are flowing. Just be prepared when you get towards the top, you have to hold on to trees to climb, and you will have a tripod to deal with. I never had any wind issues up at the top so if it’s not windy consider a lightweight tripod.

A motion parallax tripod head is ideal for this location. You cannot get far enough back to get the full view when you are up to behind the waterfall, so you have to stitch this bad boy together. Be prepared for some HDR. No matter what time of day we have been there, there are shadows.  It is a tough one but be ready to do some HDR and photo stitching which will be time-consuming. Plan at least a half a day here to photo it right.

Lens:  You want a wide-angle lens — the wider, the better at this location.
Gear: Bring your tripod and your circular polarizing filter. The circular polarizing filter will make your white puffy clouds burst and deepen the blue around them. It will also take the glare off of the water and replace it with reflection.

Gear List at a glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release.


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Park Information:

Kaaterskill Falls is a two-drop waterfall located in the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York, on the north side of Kaaterskill Clove, between the hamlets of Haines Falls and Palenville in Greene County’s Town of Hunter. The dual cascades total 260 feet (79 m) in height, making it one of the higher waterfalls in New York, and one of the Eastern United States’ taller waterfalls.

Dangers: Falling off the Kaaterskill Falls. There have been many deaths over the years.
You must use great caution when hiking the upper portion of the trail to the top.  The rest is just a plain old difficult trail since it’s a steep incline. It’s the upper portion that is so dangerous.
Dangers: Bushwacking above the 64′ drop is dangerous. Most bushwack up the right side of the trail. Many people have been killed here.
Common Animals: Coyotes, bears, birds, Hawks, frogs, butterflies (whites & swallowtails), and deer.
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes and Copperheads (low),  Bears can be found here. More on the top section than bottom.
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catskill mountain lodge

Hotel Information:

This is the top hotel pick that we recommend for you today. This hotel is right on Kaaterskill Creek which is very close to Kaaterskill Falls where you will do your photography for the day.  It has a great comfortable, rustic environment.

Catskill Mountain Lodge

Several cozy cabins and 42 spacious hotel rooms, some with fireplaces, set on the banks of the Kaaterskill Creek.  Free wireless Internet and a rustic steakhouse serving up some of the best meals in the area.  Within 20 minutes of the ski slopes in the heart of Palenville, America’s first art colony.

M $69 – $225 W $109 – $450

518-678-3101 | www.catskillmtlodge.com

Cave Mountain Motel

Clean, comfortable, non-smoking rooms. Roms have 2 double beds, private bath, cable T.V. free wifi and beautiful mountain view. Light complimentary continental breakfast. Ski and golf packages. Ten miles north of Hutner Mountain. 1.5 miles to Windham Mountain.

518-734-3161 | cavemountainmotel.com

Cuomo’s Cove

Luxurious 1-3 bedroom suites and one 3-bedroom Log Cabin. Amenities include outrageous mountain views, outdoor hot tubs, indoor Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, full kitchens, kitchenettes and sauna access.  Ski and Stay and Golf packages available. Wi-fi available on premises. 8 miles from Hunter Mountain.

M$130 – $300 Winter; $100 – $225 Summer  

W$150 – $350 Winter; $120 – $300 Summer

800-734-5903 | cuomoscove.com

Hunter Inn

Beautiful accommodations ranging from hotel style to luxurious suites. Complimentary full buffet breakfast, occasional cocktail hour, open WiFi. Two children 16 and under stay free with parents.

M$105+ W$170+ H$200+

518-263-3777 | hunterinn.com

Scribner Hollow Lodge  – This by far would have been my pick for a hotel. I was all excited but when I called with a few questions one night an obnoxious, arrogant, unprofessional, sarcastic man answered the phone and belittled me making fun of the questions I had asked.  Therefore, this is a DO NOT STAY HERE hotel.

A deluxe, full-service boutique hotel, directly across from the mountain. Newly renovated rooms, some with custom decorated suites, fireplaces, balconies and Jacuzzis. A special feature: The Grotto, a warm, underground cave-like indoor pool, with waterfalls, jacuzzi/Roman spa and saunas. Eat at the multiple award-winning in-house restaurants, The Prospect, and enjoy live jazz on the weekends. Free wireless internet. Excellent wedding and conference facilities.

M $159-319  W $224-459

518-263-4211 or 1-800-395-4683 | www.scribnerhollow.com

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North-South Lake Campground
Haines Falls Raod, County Route 18


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