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5 Tips For Your First Backpacking Trip

Almost everyone loves to travel as it introduces us to new experiences and create long-lasting memories. An increasingly popular trend in traveling is backpacking: traveling with simply a bag and its contents. Backpacking is usually dependent on public transportation, hitchhiking, and shelter is usually found at more public locations rather than homes for rent. Backpacking trips usually enrich you with the local culture, rather than simply visiting tourist attractions. For example, a backpacking trip to South America would have you interacting with local residents on a daily basis In addition, backpacking trips are usually much more extensive than normal vacations, meaning you’ll be away for a long time. So how exactly can someone get into backpacking and have a successful first trip? Here are five tips that should help you with your first backpacking trip.

Pack Accordingly
Packing accordingly is important for any trip, but it is especially important for backpacking trips. Backpacking trips are much longer than traditional vacations, making packing extremely important. In addition, you will likely only be traveling with your backpack, meaning that there is even more importance placed on how you pack and what you pack. Make sure you have everything you need to get by on your trip, including food, clothing, water, and money. You obviously don’t have to go overboard as that would ruin the purpose of a backpacking trip, but you should still pack well enough to ensure that your first backpacking trip is a happy and healthy one.

Bring a Friend
Backpacking by yourself is quite the experience, but it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why it is recommended that new and inexperienced backpackers bring a friend along for their first trip. Having someone with you while you’re backpacking allows you to have someone able to help you if something goes wrong, making the trip much safer. There are plenty of things that can go wrong while you’re traveling the world with minimal possessions, making backpacking a scary prospect. Due to this, you should probably backpack with a friend in order to learn the ropes before you immediately jump into a solo backpacking trip.

Train Physically
Being in peak physical shape is highly recommended for your first backpacking trip. While you’re backpacking you’ll be doing a lot of physical activity including walking, hiking, and lifting. If you’re not in peak physical condition, it could be quite difficult to complete your first backpacking trip. Being out of shape could cause you to stop early or be unable to complete your journey, as the physical toll of all that walking and hiking can be too much for some people. So if you plan on taking your first backpacking trip soon, ensure that you train your body and are in great shape.

Buy the Right Gear
Another important aspect of backpacking for the first time is buying the right gear to use. Obviously, you will need the right backpack, as you will need one that is large enough to fit all of your belongings inside of it. You will also need other gear such as hiking clothes like boots and comfortable walking shoes. You also may need things like flasks and containers in order to keep your food hot or cold depending on the situation. You also will likely need gear for shelter including a tent and a sleeping bag, allowing you to sleep no matter where your backpacking travels take you. Bringing the right gear on your first backpacking trip can make the trip much easier and safer for you.

Keep an Open Mind
One of the most important tips for first-time backpackers is to keep an open mind on the trip. Backpacking trips can involve lots of unexpected events. You never quite know what you’re going to see or who you’re going to meet. Due to this, it is important to keep an open mind while on your trip. You shouldn’t plan out your days too much or become too focused on getting specific things done. You should simply relax on your backpacking trip and go with the flow. Let things happen naturally around you and let the experiences naturally come to you. This will make your backpacking trip much more authentic and much more enjoyable.

Almost everyone loves to travel as it introduces us to new experiences and create long-lasting memories. An increasingly popular trend in traveling is backpacking: traveling with simply a bag and its contents. Backpacking is usually dependent on public transportation, hitchhiking, and shelter is usually found at more public locations rather than homes for rent. Backpacking trips usually enrich you with the local culture, rather than simply visiting tourist attractions. For example, a backpacking trip to South America would have you interacting with local residents on a daily basis In addition, backpacking trips are usually much more extensive than normal vacations, meaning you’ll be away for a long time. So how exactly can someone get into backpacking and have a successful first trip? Here are five tips that should help you with your first backpacking trip.

Pack Accordingly

Packing accordingly is important for any trip, but it is especially important for backpacking trips. Backpacking trips are much longer than traditional vacations, making packing extremely important. In addition, you will likely only be traveling with your backpack, meaning that there is even more importance placed on how you pack and what you pack. Make sure you have everything you need to get by on your trip, including food, clothing, water, and money. You obviously don’t have to go overboard as that would ruin the purpose of a backpacking trip, but you should still pack well enough to ensure that your first backpacking trip is a happy and healthy one.

Bring a Friend

Backpacking by yourself is quite the experience, but it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why it is recommended that new and inexperienced backpackers bring a friend along for their first trip. Having someone with you while you’re backpacking allows you to have someone able to help you if something goes wrong, making the trip much safer. There are plenty of things that can go wrong while you’re traveling the world with minimal possessions, making backpacking a scary prospect. Due to this, you should probably backpack with a friend in order to learn the ropes before you immediately jump into a solo backpacking trip.

Train Physically

Being in peak physical shape is highly recommended for your first backpacking trip. While you’re backpacking you’ll be doing a lot of physical activity including walking, hiking, and lifting. If you’re not in peak physical condition, it could be quite difficult to complete your first backpacking trip. Being out of shape could cause you to stop early or be unable to complete your journey, as the physical toll of all that walking and hiking can be too much for some people. So if you plan on taking your first backpacking trip soon, ensure that you train your body and are in great shape.

Buy the Right Gear

Another important aspect of backpacking for the first time is buying the right gear to use. Obviously, you will need the right backpack, as you will need one that is large enough to fit all of your belongings inside of it. You will also need other gear such as hiking clothes like boots and comfortable walking shoes. You also may need things like flasks and containers in order to keep your food hot or cold depending on the situation. You also will likely need gear for shelter including a tent and a sleeping bag, allowing you to sleep no matter where your backpacking travels take you. Bringing the right gear on your first backpacking trip can make the trip much easier and safer for you.

Keep an Open Mind

One of the most important tips for first-time backpackers is to keep an open mind on the trip. Backpacking trips can involve lots of unexpected events. You never quite know what you’re going to see or who you’re going to meet. Due to this, it is important to keep an open mind while on your trip. You shouldn’t plan out your days too much or become too focused on getting specific things done. You should simply relax on your backpacking trip and go with the flow. Let things happen naturally around you and let the experiences naturally come to you. This will make your backpacking trip much more authentic and much more enjoyable.

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Small islands that are great for weekend hiking trips

Photo: Fred Green

Part of the joy of hiking is finding new locations to explore and discover. If you’re an avid hiker, you might have already explored all the trails around your house and need a change of scenery. A small trip to a new location might be exactly what you need. Small islands are perfect for hikers because they allow you to escape the hustle of the real world and give you plenty of new trails to explore. They also offer different landscapes — some islands have volcanoes, others have lush fields, and others have rocky beaches. Whatever type of landscape you’re looking for, there is likely an island out there that has it!

If you want to switch up your hiking routine, travel to one of these islands for your next weekend trip.

Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island is part of the Channel Islands archipelago that is off the coast of California. This is the largest of the islands and the easiest one for hikers to get to. There are several trails for hikers to choose from, including flat trails and rugged paths. The shortest trails are less than a mile long, while the longest trail is 18 miles long. Hikers can also go off-trail, but they need to be mindful not to go over the boundary that leads into the Natural Conservatory property. Hikers that are looking to explore everything the island has to offer should book a campground in advance.

Anacapa
Anacapa is another island that is part of the Channel Islands. This island is composed of a series of islets that formed millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. This island is perfect for hikers that are looking for a day of hiking followed by an overnight camping trip. While the trails here are only two miles long and are relatively flat, hikers will get to experience beautiful coastlines and overlooks. Visitors must stay on the trails to protect the wildlife on the island. The island serves as a habitat for many types of breeding seabirds, including the California brown pelican, and the trails are in place to stop hikers from disturbing the nests.

Kaua’i
The state of Hawaii has several small islands that are perfect for hiking, but Kaua’i is the least commercially developed. This island is perfect for hikers that are looking for a trip that allows them to both hike and relax. Much of the island is covered in tropical rainforest and there are over 100 trails to explore. Hikers that are looking to lush greenery should explore the Kuilau Ridge Trail, while hikers wanting to explore undeveloped coastline should take the Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail. The tropical environment of the trails means that it is almost always a bit muddy on the trails. Hikers should also be prepared to encounter mosquitos.

Malta
Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, is perfect for hikers that are looking for an adventure outside of the United States. There are a great variety of locations to hike at, from lush green fields full of flowers to barren fields full of sheep. Trails range in difficulty, but many will offer rugged terrain and secret caves to explore. The historical city of Valletta is ideal for hikers to stay at because of how easy it is to travel; according to Choice Holidays, the public transportation routes offered in Valletta connect the city to the rest of Malta. Hikers can also choose to travel to the nearby island of Gozo, which can be easily hiked in a day.

Saba
Another island for hikers that are looking to travel away from the states is Saba, a Caribbean island that is part of the Netherlands. The island has five distinct zones of vegetation, all with their own flora and fauna. The shortest trail on the island will take hikers to Flatrock, where they’ll find tide pools that are home to sea urchins and other types of sea critters. Other trails will take them to the summit of Mt. Scenery, the highest point on the island. There are a few camping locations throughout the island, but hikers can also choose to fly to the island from the airport in Sint Maarten, which is only 15 minutes from the island.

Final
Visiting a small island is a great way to change up your usual hiking routine. There are plenty of islands to visit off the shores of the United States, but for those that are looking to travel further away, a Mediterranean or Caribbean island might be of interest.

Photo: Fred Green

Part of the joy of hiking is finding new locations to explore and discover. If you’re an avid hiker, you might have already explored all the trails around your house and need a change of scenery. A small trip to a new location might be exactly what you need. Small islands are perfect for hikers because they allow you to escape the hustle of the real world and give you plenty of new trails to explore. They also offer different landscapes — some islands have volcanoes, others have lush fields, and others have rocky beaches. Whatever type of landscape you’re looking for, there is likely an island out there that has it!

If you want to switch up your hiking routine, travel to one of these islands for your next weekend trip.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is part of the Channel Islands archipelago that is off the coast of California. This is the largest of the islands and the easiest one for hikers to get to. There are several trails for hikers to choose from, including flat trails and rugged paths. The shortest trails are less than a mile long, while the longest trail is 18 miles long. Hikers can also go off-trail, but they need to be mindful not to go over the boundary that leads into the Natural Conservatory property. Hikers that are looking to explore everything the island has to offer should book a campground in advance.

Anacapa

Anacapa is another island that is part of the Channel Islands. This island is composed of a series of islets that formed millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. This island is perfect for hikers that are looking for a day of hiking followed by an overnight camping trip. While the trails here are only two miles long and are relatively flat, hikers will get to experience beautiful coastlines and overlooks. Visitors must stay on the trails to protect the wildlife on the island. The island serves as a habitat for many types of breeding seabirds, including the California brown pelican, and the trails are in place to stop hikers from disturbing the nests.

Kaua’i

The state of Hawaii has several small islands that are perfect for hiking, but Kaua’i is the least commercially developed. This island is perfect for hikers that are looking for a trip that allows them to both hike and relax. Much of the island is covered in tropical rainforest and there are over 100 trails to explore. Hikers that are looking to lush greenery should explore the Kuilau Ridge Trail, while hikers wanting to explore undeveloped coastline should take the Maha’ulepu Heritage Coastal Trail. The tropical environment of the trails means that it is almost always a bit muddy on the trails. Hikers should also be prepared to encounter mosquitos.

Malta

Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, is perfect for hikers that are looking for an adventure outside of the United States. There are a great variety of locations to hike at, from lush green fields full of flowers to barren fields full of sheep. Trails range in difficulty, but many will offer rugged terrain and secret caves to explore. The historical city of Valletta is ideal for hikers to stay at because of how easy it is to travel; according to Choice Holidays, the public transportation routes offered in Valletta connect the city to the rest of Malta. Hikers can also choose to travel to the nearby island of Gozo, which can be easily hiked in a day.

Saba

Another island for hikers that are looking to travel away from the states is Saba, a Caribbean island that is part of the Netherlands. The island has five distinct zones of vegetation, all with their own flora and fauna. The shortest trail on the island will take hikers to Flatrock, where they’ll find tide pools that are home to sea urchins and other types of sea critters. Other trails will take them to the summit of Mt. Scenery, the highest point on the island. There are a few camping locations throughout the island, but hikers can also choose to fly to the island from the airport in Sint Maarten, which is only 15 minutes from the island.

Final

Visiting a small island is a great way to change up your usual hiking routine. There are plenty of islands to visit off the shores of the United States, but for those that are looking to travel further away, a Mediterranean or Caribbean island might be of interest.

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Will Hike For Food 2019: Bi-Coastal Edition!

We are proud to announce our 2019 Will Hike for Food hike and food drive! Once again we will be collaborating with Walking Pasasdena and collecting food items for donation to Friends in Deed. The hike will take place at Cherry Canyon Park in Glendale. Approximate distance will be 3 miles with some moderate climbing. Parking is free and leashed dogs are welcome.

In the past, NHLA has scheduled Will Hike for Food events on Black Friday to tie-in with the #OptOutside movement. This time, we will be hiking on Saturday, November 30th at 9am, to allow those who have to work on Black Friday the opportunity to join us. Of course, if you have Friday off, you should #OptOutside anyways – and since the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, if you decide to reward yourself with a post-hike burger, beer or kale salad, feel free to patronize your favorite local small business.

One last note: this year, in a new twist, the food drive hike will be taking place on BOTH coasts – NHLA founder David Lockeretz will be leading a food drive hike at Minute Man National Historic Park at 12 noon Eastern standard time, concurrent with the west coast hike. This hike will start at the Minute Man National Historic Park visitor center at 250 Great Rd., Lincoln, MA. Donations will go to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

No matter which coast you find yourself on this Thanksgiving weekend, join us to get some exercise, meet some people and give back to the community!

We are proud to announce our 2019 Will Hike for Food hike and food drive! Once again we will be collaborating with Walking Pasasdena and collecting food items for donation to Friends in Deed. The hike will take place at Cherry Canyon Park in Glendale. Approximate distance will be 3 miles with some moderate climbing. Parking is free and leashed dogs are welcome.

In the past, NHLA has scheduled Will Hike for Food events on Black Friday to tie-in with the #OptOutside movement. This time, we will be hiking on Saturday, November 30th at 9am, to allow those who have to work on Black Friday the opportunity to join us. Of course, if you have Friday off, you should #OptOutside anyways – and since the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, if you decide to reward yourself with a post-hike burger, beer or kale salad, feel free to patronize your favorite local small business.

One last note: this year, in a new twist, the food drive hike will be taking place on BOTH coasts – NHLA founder David Lockeretz will be leading a food drive hike at Minute Man National Historic Park at 12 noon Eastern standard time, concurrent with the west coast hike. This hike will start at the Minute Man National Historic Park visitor center at 250 Great Rd., Lincoln, MA. Donations will go to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

No matter which coast you find yourself on this Thanksgiving weekend, join us to get some exercise, meet some people and give back to the community!

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Beyond L.A.: Three waterfalls in the Catskills (Upstate New York)

Long before the Catskill Mountains of New York State became known as the Borscht Belt, glacial snowmelt from the Ice Age was carving streams and canyons through the region. Numerous waterfalls were created as a result of this activity. This edition of Beyond L.A. spotlights Kaaterskill Fallls, the highest waterfall in the state (including Niagara) and two less known but also exciting destinations: Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls. (“Kill” means “creek” in Dutch). Kaaterskill Falls and Vernooy Kill Falls are located in Catskills Park, an area thought of as one entity but in fact overseen by multiple agencies (similar to the Santa Monica Mountains). Stony Kill Falls is located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

TIPS FOR L.A. HIKERS
Getting to the Catskills: These hikes are located between 110 and 140 miles north of New York City; a 2.5-3 hour drive depending on traffic. JFK International Airport in Queens (JFK) will have the most options for flights in and out. Newark, NJ (EWR) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) are also options. The hikes are slightly closer to Albany (between 50-80 miles south, or a 1.5-2 hour drive) but the airport (ALB) has fewer options for flights.

Staying in the Catskills: None of these hikes allow overnight camping. For information about accommodations in the Catskills and greater Hudson Valley, click here and here.

Weather: The weather in the Catskills ranges from an average daily low of 19 degrees F/-8 degrees C in January to an average daily high of 82 degrees F/29 degrees C in July. Average annual precipitation is 48 inches, about three times that of Los Angeles. In the winter months, these trails may close due to hazardous conditions from snow and ice.

Cell phone reception: Cell phone reception is weak to fair on the Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls hike. There is no reception at the Kaaterskill Falls trail head or on the hike itself. If you are coming from the east, the last reliable cell phone reception will likely be in the town of Palenville, about five miles away; from the west, it will be Haines Falls, about three miles away.

Dogs are allowed on leash on these hikes. Some dogs might have difficulty with the steep stair climbs and extra caution should be taken both in summer heat and in winter conditions. All three of these trails, especially Kaaterskill Falls, are popular, so expect to see other dogs, especially on summer weekends. Kaaterskill Falls begins and ends with a quarter mile walk along the side of Route 23A (no sidewalk or shoulder).

THE HIKES
Kaaterskill Falls
2.8 miles, approximately 800 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

While it might not be one of the most popular destinations in the United States as it once was, Kaaterskill Falls still sees many visitors. This write-up assumes a start from the lower and most popular trail head on Route 23A, but the falls can also be visited by starting above from Laurel House or Scutt Road. For a map of all of the trail heads and trails in the area of Kaaterskill Wild Forest, click here.

From the parking area, head downhill on route 23A. There is no sidewalk or shoulder, although a metal railing on the north side of the road provides a buffer. Many of the cars are likely to be hikers heading to or from the trailhead, so they will go slowly and give a wide berth.

The official trail begins one quarter mile from the parking lot. You are greeted by Bastion Falls, itself an impressive cascade that would probably considered a worthy hiking destination were it located more remotely. The trail climbs steeply, picking up almost 200 feet in the first 0.2 mile, before leveling out. The next 0.2 mile climb more gradually, ascending about 100 feet. Downed trees may block the route in some spots; look for the yellow trail blazes for the route, which closely follows the banks of the creek.

Soon the lower tier comes into view. Hikers with small kids might be content to work their way across the rocks to the base of the falls, where both tiers are visible but for those with the energy for a steep climb, the ascent to the viewing deck at the top of the falls is well worth it. Begin the next leg of the hike by following the stairs up the side of the canyon, gaining almost 200 feet in only 0.1 mile. On the way up, a spur leads to the base of the upper tier.

After making the steep ascent, the trail becomes level, heading southwest and away from the falls before doubling back. After reaching an intersection with the trail from Scutt Road, turn left and cross the creek on a footbridge. On the opposite side, the trail from Laurel House comes in on the right. Continue straight ahead and follow the signs to the viewing platform. If you are looking to overcome a fear of heights, you have come to the right place.

From the small wooden deck, you can see the length of Kaaterskill’s 167-foot upper tier plus an excellent view of the distant mountains. After enjoying the vistas, retrace your steps, exercising caution on the steep descent.

For more trip reports of Kaaterskill Falls, click here, here, here, here and here. For cautionary tales about Instagram posts at Kaaterskill Falls that didn’t go as planned, click here.

Plaque in the parking lot on Route 23A

Bastion Falls

Following the creek

View from the bottom of the lower tier

(How badly do you want that selfie?)

View from the base of the upper tier

View of the stairs from the platform at the top of the falls

Mountain view from the platform

Stony Kill Falls
1.6 miles, approximately 250 feet of elevation gain; allow 1 hour

Located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 87-foot Stony Kill falls is another essential Catskills hike. The base of the waterfall can be reached via an easy half-mile stroll. Hikers who want more of a challenge – and an outstanding view – can climb to a viewing area at the top of the falls.

The hike starts rather anonymously with 0.3 miles of walking along Shaft Road to the official start of the trail. The trail dips into the woods, following the creek for a quarter mile to arrive at the base of Stony Kill Falls. A footbridge provides the best vantage point for legally viewing the falls from below.

The red-blazed trail climbs steeply from the base of the falls. At one point, metal rungs are embedded in the rocks to provide hand and footholds. At the top of the stairs, your efforts are rewarded with an outstanding view of the valley below and of the upper end of the falls. There is no guard rail.

This spot, about 0.7 mile from the trail head, is a good turnaround point, but for those who like to see things to their completion, the trail continues another tenth of a mile along Stony Kill. Since most people stop at the view point, this last stretch will give you some solitude. At the end, you can wander down to the creek bank and enjoy the peacefulness before retracing your steps.

For more trip reports of Stony Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Side view of Stony Kill Falls

Climbing the stairs to the view point

Rungs on the Stony Kill trail

View of the top of Stony Kill Falls

View from the top of Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill above the falls (turnaround point)

Vernooy Kill Falls
3.2 miles, approximately 650 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

Though it doesn’t have the height of Stony Kills or Kaaterskill, Vernooy Kill Falls is an enjoyable hiking destination. The trail is more lightly visited than the other two and travels through some attractive woodlands en route to the stair steps-shaped waterfall, which drops about 20 feet over multiple tiers. Vernooy Kill Falls is located in the Sundown Wild Forest area of Catskills Park.

From the parking area, cross the street and begin hiking on the blue-blazed trail (signed as the Long Path on some maps). You cross a creek on a footbridge at about a quarter mile and begin a steady but moderate ascent through mixed forest. Half a mile from the start, your route merges with another trail; continue straight and follow the blue blazes. At 1.2 miles, you reach the high point of the hike and begin a slow descent. Just before you reach the falls, look for the remains of a campsite on your left.

At 1.6 miles, you reach a junction. The routes to the right and straight ahead lead deeper into Sundown Wild Forest, options if you want to extend the hike. The left fork leads to a footbridge overlooking Vernooy Kill Falls. It is possible to scramble down to the bank of the creek for a closer look, although caution is essential on the slippery rocks. The trail continues another 2 miles to county road 46 near the town of Greenville.

For more descriptions of Vernooy Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Vernooy Kill Falls

Footbridge over Vernooy Kill

Vernooy Kill as seen from the footbridge

Fall colors, Vernooy Kill

Vernloy Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Looking downstream from Vernooy Kill Falls

Lower tier of Vernooy Kill Falls dropping under the footbridge

Side view of Vernooy Kill Falls

Text and photography copyright 2019 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Long before the Catskill Mountains of New York State became known as the Borscht Belt, glacial snowmelt from the Ice Age was carving streams and canyons through the region. Numerous waterfalls were created as a result of this activity. This edition of Beyond L.A. spotlights Kaaterskill Fallls, the highest waterfall in the state (including Niagara) and two less known but also exciting destinations: Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls. (“Kill” means “creek” in Dutch). Kaaterskill Falls and Vernooy Kill Falls are located in Catskills Park, an area thought of as one entity but in fact overseen by multiple agencies (similar to the Santa Monica Mountains). Stony Kill Falls is located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

TIPS FOR L.A. HIKERS

Getting to the Catskills: These hikes are located between 110 and 140 miles north of New York City; a 2.5-3 hour drive depending on traffic. JFK International Airport in Queens (JFK) will have the most options for flights in and out. Newark, NJ (EWR) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) are also options. The hikes are slightly closer to Albany (between 50-80 miles south, or a 1.5-2 hour drive) but the airport (ALB) has fewer options for flights.

Staying in the Catskills: None of these hikes allow overnight camping. For information about accommodations in the Catskills and greater Hudson Valley, click here and here.

Weather: The weather in the Catskills ranges from an average daily low of 19 degrees F/-8 degrees C in January to an average daily high of 82 degrees F/29 degrees C in July. Average annual precipitation is 48 inches, about three times that of Los Angeles. In the winter months, these trails may close due to hazardous conditions from snow and ice.

Cell phone reception: Cell phone reception is weak to fair on the Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls hike. There is no reception at the Kaaterskill Falls trail head or on the hike itself. If you are coming from the east, the last reliable cell phone reception will likely be in the town of Palenville, about five miles away; from the west, it will be Haines Falls, about three miles away.

Dogs are allowed on leash on these hikes. Some dogs might have difficulty with the steep stair climbs and extra caution should be taken both in summer heat and in winter conditions. All three of these trails, especially Kaaterskill Falls, are popular, so expect to see other dogs, especially on summer weekends. Kaaterskill Falls begins and ends with a quarter mile walk along the side of Route 23A (no sidewalk or shoulder).

THE HIKES

Kaaterskill Falls

2.8 miles, approximately 800 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

While it might not be one of the most popular destinations in the United States as it once was, Kaaterskill Falls still sees many visitors. This write-up assumes a start from the lower and most popular trail head on Route 23A, but the falls can also be visited by starting above from Laurel House or Scutt Road. For a map of all of the trail heads and trails in the area of Kaaterskill Wild Forest, click here.

From the parking area, head downhill on route 23A. There is no sidewalk or shoulder, although a metal railing on the north side of the road provides a buffer. Many of the cars are likely to be hikers heading to or from the trailhead, so they will go slowly and give a wide berth.

The official trail begins one quarter mile from the parking lot. You are greeted by Bastion Falls, itself an impressive cascade that would probably considered a worthy hiking destination were it located more remotely. The trail climbs steeply, picking up almost 200 feet in the first 0.2 mile, before leveling out. The next 0.2 mile climb more gradually, ascending about 100 feet. Downed trees may block the route in some spots; look for the yellow trail blazes for the route, which closely follows the banks of the creek.

Soon the lower tier comes into view. Hikers with small kids might be content to work their way across the rocks to the base of the falls, where both tiers are visible but for those with the energy for a steep climb, the ascent to the viewing deck at the top of the falls is well worth it. Begin the next leg of the hike by following the stairs up the side of the canyon, gaining almost 200 feet in only 0.1 mile. On the way up, a spur leads to the base of the upper tier.

After making the steep ascent, the trail becomes level, heading southwest and away from the falls before doubling back. After reaching an intersection with the trail from Scutt Road, turn left and cross the creek on a footbridge. On the opposite side, the trail from Laurel House comes in on the right. Continue straight ahead and follow the signs to the viewing platform. If you are looking to overcome a fear of heights, you have come to the right place.

From the small wooden deck, you can see the length of Kaaterskill’s 167-foot upper tier plus an excellent view of the distant mountains. After enjoying the vistas, retrace your steps, exercising caution on the steep descent.

For more trip reports of Kaaterskill Falls, click here, here, here, here and here. For cautionary tales about Instagram posts at Kaaterskill Falls that didn’t go as planned, click here.

Plaque in the parking lot on Route 23A

Bastion Falls

Following the creek

View from the bottom of the lower tier

(How badly do you want that selfie?)

View from the base of the upper tier

View of the stairs from the platform at the top of the falls

Mountain view from the platform

Stony Kill Falls

1.6 miles, approximately 250 feet of elevation gain; allow 1 hour

Located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 87-foot Stony Kill falls is another essential Catskills hike. The base of the waterfall can be reached via an easy half-mile stroll. Hikers who want more of a challenge – and an outstanding view – can climb to a viewing area at the top of the falls.

The hike starts rather anonymously with 0.3 miles of walking along Shaft Road to the official start of the trail. The trail dips into the woods, following the creek for a quarter mile to arrive at the base of Stony Kill Falls. A footbridge provides the best vantage point for legally viewing the falls from below.

The red-blazed trail climbs steeply from the base of the falls. At one point, metal rungs are embedded in the rocks to provide hand and footholds. At the top of the stairs, your efforts are rewarded with an outstanding view of the valley below and of the upper end of the falls. There is no guard rail.

This spot, about 0.7 mile from the trail head, is a good turnaround point, but for those who like to see things to their completion, the trail continues another tenth of a mile along Stony Kill. Since most people stop at the view point, this last stretch will give you some solitude. At the end, you can wander down to the creek bank and enjoy the peacefulness before retracing your steps.

For more trip reports of Stony Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Side view of Stony Kill Falls

Climbing the stairs to the view point

Rungs on the Stony Kill trail

View of the top of Stony Kill Falls

View from the top of Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill above the falls (turnaround point)

Vernooy Kill Falls

3.2 miles, approximately 650 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

Though it doesn’t have the height of Stony Kills or Kaaterskill, Vernooy Kill Falls is an enjoyable hiking destination. The trail is more lightly visited than the other two and travels through some attractive woodlands en route to the stair steps-shaped waterfall, which drops about 20 feet over multiple tiers. Vernooy Kill Falls is located in the Sundown Wild Forest area of Catskills Park.

From the parking area, cross the street and begin hiking on the blue-blazed trail (signed as the Long Path on some maps). You cross a creek on a footbridge at about a quarter mile and begin a steady but moderate ascent through mixed forest. Half a mile from the start, your route merges with another trail; continue straight and follow the blue blazes. At 1.2 miles, you reach the high point of the hike and begin a slow descent. Just before you reach the falls, look for the remains of a campsite on your left.

At 1.6 miles, you reach a junction. The routes to the right and straight ahead lead deeper into Sundown Wild Forest, options if you want to extend the hike. The left fork leads to a footbridge overlooking Vernooy Kill Falls. It is possible to scramble down to the bank of the creek for a closer look, although caution is essential on the slippery rocks. The trail continues another 2 miles to county road 46 near the town of Greenville.

For more descriptions of Vernooy Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Vernooy Kill Falls

Footbridge over Vernooy Kill

Vernooy Kill as seen from the footbridge

Fall colors, Vernooy Kill

Vernloy Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Looking downstream from Vernooy Kill Falls

Lower tier of Vernooy Kill Falls dropping under the footbridge

Side view of Vernooy Kill Falls

Text and photography copyright 2019 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Comments Off on Beyond L.A.: Three waterfalls in the Catskills (Upstate New York)

Beyond L.A.: Three waterfalls in the Catskills (Upstate New York)

Long before the Catskill Mountains of New York State became known as the Borscht Belt, glacial snowmelt from the Ice Age was carving streams and canyons through the region. Numerous waterfalls were created as a result of this activity. This edition of Beyond L.A. spotlights Kaaterskill Fallls, the highest waterfall in the state (including Niagara) and two less known but also exciting destinations: Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls. (“Kill” means “creek” in Dutch). Kaaterskill Falls and Vernooy Kill Falls are located in Catskills Park, an area thought of as one entity but in fact overseen by multiple agencies (similar to the Santa Monica Mountains). Stony Kill Falls is located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

TIPS FOR L.A. HIKERS
Getting to the Catskills: These hikes are located between 110 and 140 miles north of New York City; a 2.5-3 hour drive depending on traffic. JFK International Airport in Queens (JFK) will have the most options for flights in and out. Newark, NJ (EWR) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) are also options. The hikes are slightly closer to Albany (between 50-80 miles south, or a 1.5-2 hour drive) but the airport (ALB) has fewer options for flights.

Staying in the Catskills: None of these hikes allow overnight camping. For information about accommodations in the Catskills and greater Hudson Valley, click here and here.

Weather: The weather in the Catskills ranges from an average daily low of 19 degrees F/-8 degrees C in January to an average daily high of 82 degrees F/29 degrees C in July. Average annual precipitation is 48 inches, about three times that of Los Angeles. In the winter months, these trails may close due to hazardous conditions from snow and ice.

Cell phone reception: Cell phone reception is weak to fair on the Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls hike. There is no reception at the Kaaterskill Falls trail head or on the hike itself. If you are coming from the east, the last reliable cell phone reception will likely be in the town of Palenville, about five miles away; from the west, it will be Haines Falls, about three miles away.

Dogs are allowed on leash on these hikes. Some dogs might have difficulty with the steep stair climbs and extra caution should be taken both in summer heat and in winter conditions. All three of these trails, especially Kaaterskill Falls, are popular, so expect to see other dogs, especially on summer weekends. Kaaterskill Falls begins and ends with a quarter mile walk along the side of Route 23A (no sidewalk or shoulder).

THE HIKES
Kaaterskill Falls
2.8 miles, approximately 800 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

While it might not be one of the most popular destinations in the United States as it once was, Kaaterskill Falls still sees many visitors. This write-up assumes a start from the lower and most popular trail head on Route 23A, but the falls can also be visited by starting above from Laurel House or Scutt Road. For a map of all of the trail heads and trails in the area of Kaaterskill Wild Forest, click here.

From the parking area, head downhill on route 23A. There is no sidewalk or shoulder, although a metal railing on the north side of the road provides a buffer. Many of the cars are likely to be hikers heading to or from the trailhead, so they will go slowly and give a wide berth.

The official trail begins one quarter mile from the parking lot. You are greeted by Bastion Falls, itself an impressive cascade that would probably considered a worthy hiking destination were it located more remotely. The trail climbs steeply, picking up almost 200 feet in the first 0.2 mile, before leveling out. The next 0.2 mile climb more gradually, ascending about 100 feet. Downed trees may block the route in some spots; look for the yellow trail blazes for the route, which closely follows the banks of the creek.

Soon the lower tier comes into view. Hikers with small kids might be content to work their way across the rocks to the base of the falls, where both tiers are visible but for those with the energy for a steep climb, the ascent to the viewing deck at the top of the falls is well worth it. Begin the next leg of the hike by following the stairs up the side of the canyon, gaining almost 200 feet in only 0.1 mile. On the way up, a spur leads to the base of the upper tier.

After making the steep ascent, the trail becomes level, heading southwest and away from the falls before doubling back. After reaching an intersection with the trail from Scutt Road, turn left and cross the creek on a footbridge. On the opposite side, the trail from Laurel House comes in on the right. Continue straight ahead and follow the signs to the viewing platform. If you are looking to overcome a fear of heights, you have come to the right place.

From the small wooden deck, you can see the length of Kaaterskill’s 167-foot upper tier plus an excellent view of the distant mountains. After enjoying the vistas, retrace your steps, exercising caution on the steep descent.

For more trip reports of Kaaterskill Falls, click here, here, here, here and here. For cautionary tales about Instagram posts at Kaaterskill Falls that didn’t go as planned, click here.

Plaque in the parking lot on Route 23A

Bastion Falls

Following the creek

View from the bottom of the lower tier

(How badly do you want that selfie?)

View from the base of the upper tier

View of the stairs from the platform at the top of the falls

Mountain view from the platform

Stony Kill Falls
1.6 miles, approximately 250 feet of elevation gain; allow 1 hour

Located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 87-foot Stony Kill falls is another essential Catskills hike. The base of the waterfall can be reached via an easy half-mile stroll. Hikers who want more of a challenge – and an outstanding view – can climb to a viewing area at the top of the falls.

The hike starts rather anonymously with 0.3 miles of walking along Shaft Road to the official start of the trail. The trail dips into the woods, following the creek for a quarter mile to arrive at the base of Stony Kill Falls. A footbridge provides the best vantage point for legally viewing the falls from below.

The red-blazed trail climbs steeply from the base of the falls. At one point, metal rungs are embedded in the rocks to provide hand and footholds. At the top of the stairs, your efforts are rewarded with an outstanding view of the valley below and of the upper end of the falls. There is no guard rail.

This spot, about 0.7 mile from the trail head, is a good turnaround point, but for those who like to see things to their completion, the trail continues another tenth of a mile along Stony Kill. Since most people stop at the view point, this last stretch will give you some solitude. At the end, you can wander down to the creek bank and enjoy the peacefulness before retracing your steps.

For more trip reports of Stony Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Side view of Stony Kill Falls

Climbing the stairs to the view point

Rungs on the Stony Kill trail

View of the top of Stony Kill Falls

View from the top of Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill above the falls (turnaround point)

Vernooy Kill Falls
3.2 miles, approximately 650 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

Though it doesn’t have the height of Stony Kills or Kaaterskill, Vernooy Kill Falls is an enjoyable hiking destination. The trail is more lightly visited than the other two and travels through some attractive woodlands en route to the stair steps-shaped waterfall, which drops about 20 feet over multiple tiers. Vernooy Kill Falls is located in the Sundown Wild Forest area of Catskills Park.

From the parking area, cross the street and begin hiking on the blue-blazed trail (signed as the Long Path on some maps). You cross a creek on a footbridge at about a quarter mile and begin a steady but moderate ascent through mixed forest. Half a mile from the start, your route merges with another trail; continue straight and follow the blue blazes. At 1.2 miles, you reach the high point of the hike and begin a slow descent. Just before you reach the falls, look for the remains of a campsite on your left.

At 1.6 miles, you reach a junction. The routes to the right and straight ahead lead deeper into Sundown Wild Forest, options if you want to extend the hike. The left fork leads to a footbridge overlooking Vernooy Kill Falls. It is possible to scramble down to the bank of the creek for a closer look, although caution is essential on the slippery rocks. The trail continues another 2 miles to county road 46 near the town of Greenville.

For more descriptions of Vernooy Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Vernooy Kill Falls

Footbridge over Vernooy Kill

Vernooy Kill as seen from the footbridge

Fall colors, Vernooy Kill

Vernloy Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Looking downstream from Vernooy Kill Falls

Lower tier of Vernooy Kill Falls dropping under the footbridge

Side view of Vernooy Kill Falls

Text and photography copyright 2019 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Long before the Catskill Mountains of New York State became known as the Borscht Belt, glacial snowmelt from the Ice Age was carving streams and canyons through the region. Numerous waterfalls were created as a result of this activity. This edition of Beyond L.A. spotlights Kaaterskill Fallls, the highest waterfall in the state (including Niagara) and two less known but also exciting destinations: Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls. (“Kill” means “creek” in Dutch). Kaaterskill Falls and Vernooy Kill Falls are located in Catskills Park, an area thought of as one entity but in fact overseen by multiple agencies (similar to the Santa Monica Mountains). Stony Kill Falls is located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

TIPS FOR L.A. HIKERS

Getting to the Catskills: These hikes are located between 110 and 140 miles north of New York City; a 2.5-3 hour drive depending on traffic. JFK International Airport in Queens (JFK) will have the most options for flights in and out. Newark, NJ (EWR) and New York LaGuardia (LGA) are also options. The hikes are slightly closer to Albany (between 50-80 miles south, or a 1.5-2 hour drive) but the airport (ALB) has fewer options for flights.

Staying in the Catskills: None of these hikes allow overnight camping. For information about accommodations in the Catskills and greater Hudson Valley, click here and here.

Weather: The weather in the Catskills ranges from an average daily low of 19 degrees F/-8 degrees C in January to an average daily high of 82 degrees F/29 degrees C in July. Average annual precipitation is 48 inches, about three times that of Los Angeles. In the winter months, these trails may close due to hazardous conditions from snow and ice.

Cell phone reception: Cell phone reception is weak to fair on the Vernooy Kill Falls and Stony Kill Falls hike. There is no reception at the Kaaterskill Falls trail head or on the hike itself. If you are coming from the east, the last reliable cell phone reception will likely be in the town of Palenville, about five miles away; from the west, it will be Haines Falls, about three miles away.

Dogs are allowed on leash on these hikes. Some dogs might have difficulty with the steep stair climbs and extra caution should be taken both in summer heat and in winter conditions. All three of these trails, especially Kaaterskill Falls, are popular, so expect to see other dogs, especially on summer weekends. Kaaterskill Falls begins and ends with a quarter mile walk along the side of Route 23A (no sidewalk or shoulder).

THE HIKES

Kaaterskill Falls

2.8 miles, approximately 800 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

While it might not be one of the most popular destinations in the United States as it once was, Kaaterskill Falls still sees many visitors. This write-up assumes a start from the lower and most popular trail head on Route 23A, but the falls can also be visited by starting above from Laurel House or Scutt Road. For a map of all of the trail heads and trails in the area of Kaaterskill Wild Forest, click here.

From the parking area, head downhill on route 23A. There is no sidewalk or shoulder, although a metal railing on the north side of the road provides a buffer. Many of the cars are likely to be hikers heading to or from the trailhead, so they will go slowly and give a wide berth.

The official trail begins one quarter mile from the parking lot. You are greeted by Bastion Falls, itself an impressive cascade that would probably considered a worthy hiking destination were it located more remotely. The trail climbs steeply, picking up almost 200 feet in the first 0.2 mile, before leveling out. The next 0.2 mile climb more gradually, ascending about 100 feet. Downed trees may block the route in some spots; look for the yellow trail blazes for the route, which closely follows the banks of the creek.

Soon the lower tier comes into view. Hikers with small kids might be content to work their way across the rocks to the base of the falls, where both tiers are visible but for those with the energy for a steep climb, the ascent to the viewing deck at the top of the falls is well worth it. Begin the next leg of the hike by following the stairs up the side of the canyon, gaining almost 200 feet in only 0.1 mile. On the way up, a spur leads to the base of the upper tier.

After making the steep ascent, the trail becomes level, heading southwest and away from the falls before doubling back. After reaching an intersection with the trail from Scutt Road, turn left and cross the creek on a footbridge. On the opposite side, the trail from Laurel House comes in on the right. Continue straight ahead and follow the signs to the viewing platform. If you are looking to overcome a fear of heights, you have come to the right place.

From the small wooden deck, you can see the length of Kaaterskill’s 167-foot upper tier plus an excellent view of the distant mountains. After enjoying the vistas, retrace your steps, exercising caution on the steep descent.

For more trip reports of Kaaterskill Falls, click here, here, here, here and here. For cautionary tales about Instagram posts at Kaaterskill Falls that didn’t go as planned, click here.

Plaque in the parking lot on Route 23A

Bastion Falls

Following the creek

View from the bottom of the lower tier

(How badly do you want that selfie?)

View from the base of the upper tier

View of the stairs from the platform at the top of the falls

Mountain view from the platform

Stony Kill Falls

1.6 miles, approximately 250 feet of elevation gain; allow 1 hour

Located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 87-foot Stony Kill falls is another essential Catskills hike. The base of the waterfall can be reached via an easy half-mile stroll. Hikers who want more of a challenge – and an outstanding view – can climb to a viewing area at the top of the falls.

The hike starts rather anonymously with 0.3 miles of walking along Shaft Road to the official start of the trail. The trail dips into the woods, following the creek for a quarter mile to arrive at the base of Stony Kill Falls. A footbridge provides the best vantage point for legally viewing the falls from below.

The red-blazed trail climbs steeply from the base of the falls. At one point, metal rungs are embedded in the rocks to provide hand and footholds. At the top of the stairs, your efforts are rewarded with an outstanding view of the valley below and of the upper end of the falls. There is no guard rail.

This spot, about 0.7 mile from the trail head, is a good turnaround point, but for those who like to see things to their completion, the trail continues another tenth of a mile along Stony Kill. Since most people stop at the view point, this last stretch will give you some solitude. At the end, you can wander down to the creek bank and enjoy the peacefulness before retracing your steps.

For more trip reports of Stony Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Side view of Stony Kill Falls

Climbing the stairs to the view point

Rungs on the Stony Kill trail

View of the top of Stony Kill Falls

View from the top of Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill above the falls (turnaround point)

Vernooy Kill Falls

3.2 miles, approximately 650 feet of elevation gain; allow 2 hours

Though it doesn’t have the height of Stony Kills or Kaaterskill, Vernooy Kill Falls is an enjoyable hiking destination. The trail is more lightly visited than the other two and travels through some attractive woodlands en route to the stair steps-shaped waterfall, which drops about 20 feet over multiple tiers. Vernooy Kill Falls is located in the Sundown Wild Forest area of Catskills Park.

From the parking area, cross the street and begin hiking on the blue-blazed trail (signed as the Long Path on some maps). You cross a creek on a footbridge at about a quarter mile and begin a steady but moderate ascent through mixed forest. Half a mile from the start, your route merges with another trail; continue straight and follow the blue blazes. At 1.2 miles, you reach the high point of the hike and begin a slow descent. Just before you reach the falls, look for the remains of a campsite on your left.

At 1.6 miles, you reach a junction. The routes to the right and straight ahead lead deeper into Sundown Wild Forest, options if you want to extend the hike. The left fork leads to a footbridge overlooking Vernooy Kill Falls. It is possible to scramble down to the bank of the creek for a closer look, although caution is essential on the slippery rocks. The trail continues another 2 miles to county road 46 near the town of Greenville.

For more descriptions of Vernooy Kill Falls, click here, here and here.

Start of the hike to Vernooy Kill Falls

Footbridge over Vernooy Kill

Vernooy Kill as seen from the footbridge

Fall colors, Vernooy Kill

Vernloy Kill Falls as seen from the footbridge

Looking downstream from Vernooy Kill Falls

Lower tier of Vernooy Kill Falls dropping under the footbridge

Side view of Vernooy Kill Falls

Text and photography copyright 2019 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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Last day in the beautiful Italian Dolomites

We could not do the Monte Piano climb we had planned for today because the road was closed due to an avalanche. We went for a 12 mile walk around the valley, and had some delicious ice cream.

I started out bummed about the fact that we could not do the climb, it was to be the grand finale. But going for a walk anywhere here is breathtakingly beautiful, and I was grateful we weren’t covered by the avalanche over the road! On the drive back from the hike the day before, it had just happened, we came upon the blocked road and had to turn around and take a long way back through Cortina.

I highly recommend visiting the Italian Dolomites if you ever get the chance. Exodus Travel’s package with everything included was a 10 in my opinion! Great hotel, comfortable transfers, good food, and great guide.

To learn more about the trip and to book direct, go to https://www.exodustravels.com/italy-holidays/walking-trekking/classic-dolomites-premium/twu?flights=excluded

For a discount on the trip,..

We could not do the Monte Piano climb we had planned for today because the road was closed due to an avalanche. We went for a 12 mile walk around the valley, and had some delicious ice cream.

I started out bummed about the fact that we could not do the climb, it was to be the grand finale. But going for a walk anywhere here is breathtakingly beautiful, and I was grateful we weren’t covered by the avalanche over the road! On the drive back from the hike the day before, it had just happened, we came upon the blocked road and had to turn around and take a long way back through Cortina.

I highly recommend visiting the Italian Dolomites if you ever get the chance. Exodus Travel’s package with everything included was a 10 in my opinion! Great hotel, comfortable transfers, good food, and great guide.

To learn more about the trip and to book direct, go to https://www.exodustravels.com/italy-holidays/walking-trekking/classic-dolomites-premium/twu?flights=excluded

For a discount on the trip, book at https://www.tourradar.com/invite/TFjjGs

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The beautiful Lake Dobbiaco

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Chocolate and Fruit of the forest gelato

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Tiramisu sundae

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Am I in Italy or Austria, can someone please tell me?

The town we stayed in has 2 names: Niederdorf and Villabassa, population 1600. The region is known as South Tyrol. 92% of the population speaks German and 7% speaks Italian. Less than 1 percent of the population speaks Ladin. I am fascinated by linguistics and I had never heard of this one before. Here are some pictures from around the cute little town of Niederdorf/ Villabassa. It looks very Austrian right?

The cemetery was so well kept

Could not find a single piece of trash on the streets here

Where to?

The homes have the most beautiful gardens and the bees are thriving here

My home for the week- the Hotel Gasthaus Adler. I will miss their beautiful pool, and their handsome waiters.

The perfect place for a drink after a day of hiking in the beautiful mountains

The town we stayed in has 2 names: Niederdorf and Villabassa, population 1600. The region is known as South Tyrol. 92% of the population speaks German and 7% speaks Italian. Less than 1 percent of the population speaks Ladin. I am fascinated by linguistics and I had never heard of this one before. Here are some pictures from around the cute little town of Niederdorf/ Villabassa. It looks very Austrian right?

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The cemetery was so well kept

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Could not find a single piece of trash on the streets here

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Where to?

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The homes have the most beautiful gardens and the bees are thriving here

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My home for the week- the Hotel Gasthaus Adler. I will miss their beautiful pool, and their handsome waiters.

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The perfect place for a drink after a day of hiking in the beautiful mountains

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Tre Cime di Lavaredo

This day was the best hike of my life so far! We enjoyed a memorable walk under the famous “Three Chimneys”, or Tre Cime di Lavaredo (or Drei Zinnen) in German. Set amid one of the classic mountain groups of this area, our walk around these impressive peaks was the highlight of the week. The moment after we took a group photo at the highest peak, a storm started complete with hail, thunder, and lightning! It was so exciting and dramatic!

Shared the trail with cows

Tre Cime up close and personal!

Hike of my dreams!

Trail running through the side of the mountain scree

Our lovely Exodus Travel hiking group!

This day was the best hike of my life so far! We enjoyed a memorable walk under the famous “Three Chimneys”, or Tre Cime di Lavaredo (or Drei Zinnen) in German. Set amid one of the classic mountain groups of this area, our walk around these impressive peaks was the highlight of the week. The moment after we took a group photo at the highest peak, a storm started complete with hail, thunder, and lightning! It was so exciting and dramatic!

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Shared the trail with cows

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Tre Cime up close and personal!

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Hike of my dreams!

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Trail running through the side of the mountain scree

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Our lovely Exodus Travel hiking group!

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20 mile bike ride

I started the day with an hour massage at the Hotel Gasthaus Adler’s spa. Then a group of us rented bikes. There is a nice greenway , rails to trails type path in between towns. I found the ride very difficult. I am used to biking on flat paved paths, and usually go around 12 miles. This was a loose gravel path, with lots of peddling uphill. I had rented a regular mountain bike. Some of my friends rented EBIKES. Thankfully a friend let me borrow the EBIKE for a little while!

I was quite sore at the end of this day but the views were amazing!

Lake Dobbiaco

We had dinner at a restaurant in the town called Mexico City. We took a walk afterwards up the hill to watch the sunset, watch the stars come out, and hear some ghost stories.

Evening light in Niederdorf- Villabassa

I started the day with an hour massage at the Hotel Gasthaus Adler’s spa. Then a group of us rented bikes. There is a nice greenway , rails to trails type path in between towns. I found the ride very difficult. I am used to biking on flat paved paths, and usually go around 12 miles. This was a loose gravel path, with lots of peddling uphill. I had rented a regular mountain bike. Some of my friends rented EBIKES. Thankfully a friend let me borrow the EBIKE for a little while!

I was quite sore at the end of this day but the views were amazing!

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Lake Dobbiaco

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We had dinner at a restaurant in the town called Mexico City. We took a walk afterwards up the hill to watch the sunset, watch the stars come out, and hear some ghost stories.

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Evening light in Niederdorf- Villabassa

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