There are many reasons to fall in love and stay in love with Andes, and at the top of this list is the beautiful natural environment and all the fun things one can do outside.
Hiking and walking are among the most popular outdoor activities in Andes and throughout the Catskills. There are many wonderful hiking trails in Andes and in the nearby areas, suitable for all levels of ability.
The Andes Rail Trail has a one mile (2 miles round trip) flat walk on an old railbed, with a natural grassy surface where the old ties can still be seen underfoot. After about a mile one can continue on the Bullet Hole Spur for a more strenuous hike through many different types of woodland environments. Both sections of the trail are lovely with wonderful views. See photos, maps and learn more about the Andes Rail Trail here.
The Shavertown Trail is more strenuous hike but after working a little bit for the first mile, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Pepacton Reservoir and the mountains beyond, while sitting next to a clear mountain pond with pink and white waterlilies and many types of wildflowers. After the pond, the remaining mileage is a relatively level walk through lovely outcroppings and forest. See photos, maps and learn more about the Shavertown Trail here.
The Palmer Hill Trail is less strenuous than the Bullet Hole Spur and the Shavertown Trail, but definitely not a flat walk in the park. One feature of the Palmer Hill Trail is the spectacular view right from the trailhead. The trail is unusual in that most of it is through large open fields with expansive views. See photos, maps and learn more about the Palmer Hill Trail here.
Ballantine Park and the cemetery are other lovely places to walk in town for those who’d rather stroll than hike. Ballantine Park is a serene, natural space filled with the sound of the Tremperskill stream and the birds that love its grasses and vegetation.
Town Cemetery – just past the post office you can enjoy the tranquility of an off-the-road ramble that the trails in the cemetery provide. Without having to worry about traffic or rocks and roots, you are able to immerse in our own thoughts, take in the historic headstones and their messages, and contemplate the scent of wild thyme crushed under foot. See if you can find the headstone of the famous lighthouse baby.
Other wonderful hiking experiences can be had at nearby trails such as:
Bramley Mountain – just outside of Delhi, this 4 mile trail has a gentle grade for a mile to an abandoned quarry and then a more strenuous hike up the mountain to the summit, which used to be home to a fire tower. There are expansive views of Mt. Pisgah and Balsam Lake Mountain from the summit of Bramley.
Balsam Lake Mountain, on Mill Brook Road, off of Dry Brook Road in Margaretville, is one of the Catskill High Peaks (mountains over 3500 feet). It is the home of a restored fire tower and on weekends during the summer the fire tower is open for you to climb up and enjoy the spectacular views and learn about the people whose job was to watch for telltale smoke and call in the news of possible devastating fires.
There are many other wonderful hikes around our area, and who knows, you might catch peak bagging fever or All Trails disease and want to hike all the Catskills High Peaks or even all the trails in the Catskill Park.
In addition to the hike suggestions above, more great hikes can be found on the Catskill Mountain Club website here and here. The club offers free guided hikes, paddles and other outdoor activities so check them out if you’d like to try your hikes with a group.
Make sure you are prepared for changing conditions, and are familiar with the rules for the area you are hiking in. Some important information can be found on the Catskill 3500 club resources page.