Stop # 7: Gateway to NYS trails

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to hundreds of miles of trails across the Catskills

Whether your troop is seeking a day hike or a week-long adventure, the Catskill region has it all, mountain peak views, more than a quarter million acres of forests, and 300+ miles of trails. The Catskills are protected as "forever wild" by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution. New York's protected forests in the Catskills and Adirondacks range from state Dept. of Environmental Conservation-operated campgrounds to remote backcountry.

To learn more, go to: For a map of the state lands near OSR:

Another great resource is the Catskill Visitor Center,

In all likelihood you are hiking this trail during summer camp, but if at all possible, troop leaders should consider a long weekend up at OSR to enable hiking one of the five Fire Towers in the Catskill range, two of which can be easily incorporated into a stay at Onteora.

For nearly a century, observers watched the forests across New York State from more than 100 fire towers perched atop the highest peaks, searching for the dangerous, telltale signs of forest fires. There were 19 fire towers in the Catskill region and 52 in the Adirondacks. Beginning in the 1980s, the State of New York began to phase out the use of fire towers for spotting for-est fires, and in 1990, the last 5 towers still in operation were closed. That said, volunteers now staff the towers so visitors can experience the views—usually on weekends.

For more information on the fire towers and the logistics of putting together this adventure, go to the Red Trail Wanderers’ (RTW) Trail guide:

And now, if you are now really pumped, the RTW has all the details on a 50-mile trek from OSR, across Balsam Mountain and beyond….More details are at:

DIRECTIONS: The Yellow Trail actually ends here, so that you can see the border with NYS property. Now turn around and double back and in about 50 feet you will see the blazes for the White and the Yellow together. Continue for just a short distance , where the trails split. Follow the White trail north to the right .