Located in southeast New York State, between Albany and New York City, the Catskill Mountains offer a pet‑friendly oasis with luscious waterfalls, mountain views, and lots of tie dye to commemorate the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. The 98 peaks in the Catskill Mountains (highest peak is Slide Mountain) are also known for the wide array of wildlife that roams there from bear, deer, and bald eagles. If you love nature or music history, the Catskills are the perfect destination for you and Fido.
Out Top 10 Attractions in The Catskill Mountains
1. Kaaterskill Falls, Hunter, NY
In order to experience the beauty of Kaaterskill Falls, there is an easy, accessible viewing platform that takes only a short walk to get to. There is also a trail to see the falls close-up. The hike to Kaaterskill Falls is 1.4 miles roundtrip. But be careful- do not hike when it’s raining because the rocks become dangerously slippery. Always stay on the trail to avoid injury.
While you’re in the area visiting the falls, you could also check out Hunter Mountain and the village/town of Hunter. While it’s a popular skiing destination, it’s a great destination year-round for hiking, good food, and shopping.
2. Old Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, NY
Out of all the pet-friendly destinations on this guide, this abandoned zoo which offers a boutique inn and private upscale glamping is the most unique and remarkable.
Once considered America's greatest zoo, The Catskill Game Farm housed over 2,000 animals such as lions, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and kangaroos. Today you can stay on the abandoned property and explore the remains of the zoo. That includes 200+ acres, 3.5 miles of original walkways, and 100+ old animal shelter buildings.
A little bit of history on the zoo…
The Catskill Game Farm opened in 1933 and was the first privately owned zoo in America. It later became American’s largest privately owned zoo! In 2002, “April the Giraffe,” the famous Youtube sensation was born at the Catskill Game Farm.
However, the Catskill Game Farm closed in 2006 because of financial difficulties and decreasing attendance. As a result, the property has been abandoned since then. The property was purchased in 2012 and the Old Giraffe Barn was renovated into a Boutique Inn. Despite the renovation, the nostalgic feel of the zoo still remains. Just think about it- you could stay in an inn where giraffes used to sleep at night.
To stay at the inn: https://theoldgamefarm.guestybookings.com/listings
To book a glamping site (with all equipment already set up for you) for a night in the Catskill mountains and amidst the remains of what was America’s greatest zoo: https://www.tentrr.com/explore/New-York/The-Old-Catskill-Game-Farm-Abandoned-Zoo-Mountain-View/#gs.101wg1c
3. Vroman’s Nose Hiking Trail, Middleburgh, NY
Vroman’s Nose is a popular hiking destination located in Middleburgh New York with spectacular views of farmland from the summit where you can also stop to have lunch- and even roast some hot dogs with the available fire pits. The summit is referred to as the Dance Floor since it’s a long, flat slab of rock.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering- why is it called Vroman’s Nose? Well this geological feature, formed by glaciers 50,000 years ago, literally looks like the formation of a nose from a distance. It's named after the Vroman family who were early inhabitants of Schenectady, New York, and owned the land occupying this hiking spot in the early 1700s.
Vroman's Nose is a 1.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail. It’s a forested hike and great for all skill levels- so bring your kids and Fido! There is a decent incline to get to the summit, so be aware of that.
4. Mine Kill Falls and Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim, NY
Mine Kill Falls is a breathtaking and enchanting waterfall located in Mine Kill State Park in North Blenheim, New York. The waterfall cascades 80 feet through a small gorge. To access the falls, there is a separate parking area from the state park’s entrance. That seperate entrance will take you directly to the waterfall overlook, along with the Long Path hiking trail that takes you closer to the lower falls. If you’re looking for a picturesque place for your vacation, this is it!
Along with the viewing platform, there is the 2.3 mile moderately trafficked Mine Kill State Park Trail. The trail is accessible year-round and dog-friendly.
Apart from the falls, Mine Kill State Park offers vaste opportunities for fishing (the lower reservoir has trout and walleye), along with hiking and mountain biking within the state park’s 8 miles of trails. If you’re interested in boating, kayaking, or water skiing, Mine Kill State Park is the place to go.
Don’t limit your visit to Mine Kill State Park to the summer - snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling are very popular in the winter months.
5. Village of Woodstock, NY
The village of Woodstock has beautiful mountain views and shopping! If you’re looking to spend a little cash, head to Tinker Street which offers the most unique shopping spots & places to grab coffee and food. If you’re looking for a tie dye shirt‑ this is the spot!
While the village isn’t where the actual 1969 Woodstock Musical Festival took place, it was originally meant to take place here. With that, this little shopping village honors that with lots of tie dye and music apparel and gifts. But apart from that, there are coffee shops, children’s stores, restaurants, and more. Tinker Street has everything you could possibly want- with a unique, quirky, and quaint flair that you won’t find anywhere else.
6. Ashokan Rail Trail, West Hurley / Boiceville, NY
Ashokan Rail Trail, West Hurley / Boiceville, NY
The Ashokan Rail Trail (“ART”) is a recreational trail that runs for 11.5 miles along Ashokan Reservoir. The ART trail is open for all non-motorized uses and is particularly ideal for hiking, biking, running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or simply just observing nature or bird-watching!
The trail offers three large public trailheads where the public can access the trail. The ART trail is accessible for those with disabilities, as well.
The trail is ideal for all skill levels - including dogs. They have supplied dog waste stations with bags and containers for disposal on the trail.
7. Phoenicia Diner, Phoenicia, NY
Image courtesy of Phoenicia Diner
Time for something to eat! Located in the beautiful Catskill mountains since the early 1980s, Phoenicia Diner offers plenty of outdoor seating available and is very dog-friendly. The diner is keen on offering fresh food directly sourced from farms in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. Farm-fresh food! Further, their menu offers traditional favorites, along with modern takes on traditional meals.
8. Slide Mountain, Shandaken, NY
Slide Mountain is popular and known for having the tallest peak in all of the Catskill Mountains. The picturesque and towering mountain even inspired nature writer and naturalist John Burroughs to write, "Here the works of man dwindle, in the heart of the southern Catskills."
Slide Mountain Wilderness, which encompasses over 47,500 acres, is the largest, most popular wilderness area in the Catskill Mountains. There is a network of trails in the Slide Mountain Wilderness that offers 35 miles of foot-travel only. It is open for recreation year-round and is dog-friendly.
All trail information provided courtesy of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation. To access this map: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/recmapsmwa.pdf
The hiking/walking trails making up the 35 miles of Slide Mountain Wilderness include:
● Phoenicia East Branch Trail / Woodland Valley-Denning Trail
○ 9.8 miles, yellow markers, moderate 2,300 feet elevation gain
● Wittenberg-Cornell-Slide Trail / Burroughs Range Trail
○ 9.75 miles, red markers, challenging 3,620 feet elevation gain
● Slide Mountain
○ Direct and shortest route up Slide Mountain from Oliverea Road South (Slide Mountain Trailhead) Parking Area
○ 5.4 miles round-trip, 1,780 feet elevation gain
● Curtis-Ormsbee Trail
○ The scenic route up Slide Mountain with three panoramic vistas
○ 1.6 miles, blue markers, moderate 900 feet elevation gain
● Giant Ledge-Panther Mountain-Fox Hollow Trail
○ 7.45 miles, blue markers, challenging 2,620 feet elevation gain
● Giant Ledge
○ 1.6 miles, 3.2 miles round trip, 1,100 feet elevation gain
● Terrace Mountain Trail (easy trail)
○ 0.9 miles, yellow markers
● Mount Pleasant-Romer Mountain Trail
○ 9.0 miles, blue markers, 3,098ft elevation gain
● Peekamoose-Table Mountain Trail
○ 7.5 miles, blue markers, challenging 2,820 feet elevation gain
Now, get hiking!
9. Phoenicia Black Bear Campground, Phoenicia, NY
Located along Esopus Creek in the Catskills is the pet-friendly Phoenicia Black Bear Campground. The campground offers both RV sites and tent sites, along with a full bath house, hot showers, and a dumping station for RV’s. As for activities in and surrounding Phoenicia Black Bear Campground, tubing, fishing, kayaking and swimming are very popular- especially in the summer season.
Be cautious to lock up your food in your vehicle or specific bear-proof storage at night- hence the name of the campground. Don’t be too concerned about that- wildlife is often more afraid of us than we are of them. Just take the necessary precautions to keep them away from your campsite. Food draws them in.
Dogs are allowed at Phoenicia Black Bear Campground, but they must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
10. Emerson Resort & Spa, Mt Tremper, NY
If you’re not interested in setting up a tent, book a stay at the Emerson Resort & Spa. The Emerson offers specific pet-friendly rooms in the Inn and the Lodge. Just make sure to include your dog in your reservation when you book your stay, so they book you in one of those dog-friendly rooms.
Here are their policies:
● $40 per dog, per night fee
● Proof of current rabies and distemper vaccinations provided at check-in
● Dogs cannot be left in the room alone
● $250 fee if the room requires deep cleaning following the stay of your pet
● Dogs are not allowed in the pool area, Emerson Spa or Woodnotes Grille dining room
Your dog is going to love the Emerson. Here’s why- they offer a Catamount Dog Park that includes a fenced-in area with a dog run, dog shower, and fresh running water for your dog to cool down after running around. There’s even a special area just for small dogs.
When your dog gets hungry after playing and meeting friends at the dog park, they can order from the Pup Fare menu which offers Unseasoned Chicken Breast, an 8 oz. Grass Fed Burger Patty, or a 12 oz. New York Strip Steak. Yes, they serve food just for your dog! This is paradise for Fido.
Apart from the resort, spa, and doggy accommodations, the Emerson is the home to the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope! Towering at 60 feet tall, the Emerson magically transformed an old farm silo into the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. This accomplishment is even recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The majestic Catskill Mountains of New York offer a beautiful, secluded oasis of hiking, glamping, kaleidoscopes and tie-dye that even your dog will love. So, book that summer vacation of your dreams to the Catskills- you won’t regret it and neither will Fido.