Three unique regions define Sullivan County: the Delaware River region, the Catskill Park, and the Shawangunk Ridge. Learn more about each region and plan your visit. There is tons to do and see throughout the county, so don’t miss all three regions! Send us your comments or your suggestions for trails or features we may have missed.
Delaware River Region
Start in the southwest with the Delaware River region. In addition to beautiful hiking trails, the Delaware River offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. This includes fishing, camping, swimming, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and more. Don’t miss the National Park in Sullivan County–the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.
The headwaters of the Delaware are in the Catskills, and the East and West Branches meet in Hancock, NY in Delaware County, just north of Sullivan County. Portions of the Upper Delaware in this region are part of the National Wild and Scenic River System. The river is 330 miles long, making it the longest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi, and is fed by more than 216 tributaries. It has extremely high water quality, and more than 15 million people get their drinking water from the river, not to mention the many types of fish and wildlife that call this area home—including bald eagles.
The Lenni Lenape tribe made their home in this region along the banks of the Delaware at one time. The Battle of Minisink also occurred here, a significant battle during the Revolutionary War. Check out the 57-acre Minisink Battleground Park, located in Highland, NY and found on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s open to the public year-round.
Up north, look for the Catskill Mountains. This region includes the 700,000-acre Catskill Park, which crosses into Delaware, Greene, and Ulster Counties too. Created in 1904, the park started with just over 90,000 protected acres. It also contains the nearly 300,000-acre Catskill Forest Preserve within its boundaries. Reservoirs located in the Catskill Park help to provide drinking water for New York City. This area has been a popular tourist destination since the early 1900s, particularly in the 1950s and 60s when it was home to many large family resorts.
While you’re here, stop by the Town of Bethel—the site of the famous 1969 Woodstock Festival. This festival was not held in the town of Woodstock, approximately 40 miles north in Ulster County. The Museum at Bethel Woods and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts are now located on the original Woodstock site. Back, the property was a 600-acre dairy farm owned by Max Yasgur. Check their site to find information about events and entertainment hosted throughout the year.
Like fly fishing? The Catskills are widely considered to be its birthplace. Stop by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, located in Livingston Manor, NY.
Shawangunk Ridge Region
Find the Shawangunk Ridge region in the southwest section of the county. The Shawangunk Ridge itself is 50 miles long, from Port Jervis to Rosendale, with a portion stretching through the center of Sullivan County and the Village of Wurtsboro. Located north of the Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area, it also features the Roosa Gap Forest Preserve and the Wurtsboro Ridge Forest Preserve. The 41-mile Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT) starts at High Point State Park in New Jersey.
The Shawangunk Ridge is also known for its excellent rock climbing. It is technically part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, and its highest elevation is at 2,289 feet.
The Ridge also features a number of ice caves found in Ulster County around Verkeerderkill Falls in the Sam’s Point Preserve. Many of the trails follow old rail beds or carriage roads, though others are more challenging. The ‘Gunks are characterized by striking white cliffs and sharp ridges. It’s a beautiful place to spend the day—or a few days!