Where To Eat & Hike On Your Catskills Road TripBecause your cliff-side views demand a better meal than a smushed granola bar.
Hiking and good eating are two of the Catskills Region’s most prized commodities, so if you’re driving upstate, you’ll likely experience top-tier nature and excellent food no matter what.
But just like hiking can encapsulate everything from an easy jaunt to a scenic overlook or an all-day test of endurance up a mountain, there are varying degrees of ideal hike and post-hike meals. Maybe you want a melty bacon, egg, and cheese to eat at the base of a roaring waterfall, or somewhere near the Windham Path where you can sit in real chairs, eat a cinnamon roll, and use an indoor bathroom.
The Best Restaurants In The Catskills
A COZY DINER NEAR WINDHAM PATH
If your ideal hiking vibe is closer to a walking gossip session than a strenuous climb, you’ll love the Windham Path, a kid-and-pup-friendly loop that has great views of meadows, streams, and the surrounding Catskill mountains. Once you’ve completed the two-ish mile journey, refuel at Day June, a new-ish luncheonette just a mile down the road that’s owned by the team behind Wildair.
The cheddar melt pancakes are perfect if you can’t decide between something savory or sweet, and the country fried steak is crusted with saltine crackers for an audible crunch with each bite. Whatever you do, don’t leave without getting a pillowy cinnamon bun topped with a generous fluff of frosting.
PACK A LUNCH FOR KAATERSKILL FALLS
Sure, you could actually make a deli sandwich to pack and enjoy at the base of Kaaterskill Falls. But it’s more fun to grab a foil-wrapped roast beef sandwich loaded up with gouda house horseradish mayo at a general store and pop it into your hiking bag.
Circle W in Palenville is an easy on-the-way stop on your drive up from the city, and sandwiches like their reuben or roast beef panino will likely still be warm by the time you reach the bottom of the falls. After you polish off your lunch, take some time to kick off your sandals and dip your toes in the cool stream—the last thing you want is to climb more than 600 stone stairs immediately after eating a bunch of meat and cheese.
GRAB A BEC ON THE WAY TO THE RESERVOIR
Few places in the Catskills are open early enough to grab breakfast before a hike that’ll require a hydration pack and some trekking poles, but luckily, Mara’s On The Way starts serving hikers and commuters driving on NY-28 at 6am. The cheese on the bacon, egg, and cheese is wonderfully gooey, and an addition of a crispy hash brown will give you extra potato-based energy for a day of hiking around the Ashokan Reservoir or up Overlook Mountain. Mara’s is also a drive-thru spot, so you can quickly eat your sandwich on your way to the trailhead, or keep it wrapped in its foil blanket to enjoy at the summit.
TREAT YOURSELF TO A POST-HUNTER MOUNTAIN BLT & BROWNIE
Don’t let the short distance listed on All-Trails fool you—hiking up to the summit of the Catskills second-highest peak is harder than trying to dodge traffic out of NYC on a Friday afternoon. You’ll want to start early, wear supportive hiking boots, and plan to make it back down in time to grab lunch at Fellow Mountain Cafe. After hydrating, grab an iced coffee and a BLT with garlic scape mayo, or a tahini brownie to help replenish the salt you lost on the 2,000 feet of elevation gain. For those who prefer to enjoy Hunter Mountain’s views via ski-lift, stop here first to grab a loaf of bread and some to-go containers of hummus and roast chicken salad to stock your picnic spread.
ORDER AN ONION PIE AFTER HIKING THROUGH MOHONK PRESERVE
Ollie’s Pizza is located just a few minutes North of the Mohonk Preserve, which is home to some excellent hiking and rock climbing along the Shawangunk Ridge. After spending a few hours finding great views on the Table Rocks trail or scrambling up Bonticou, you’ll want to sit and go to town on sesame-crusted pies and some hefty grandma slices. They also have a gluten-free pizza that your gluten-eating friends won’t complain about—it has plenty of structural integrity to stand up to toppings like calabrian chilis, crimini mushrooms, and caramelized onions.