We ventured up to the Catskills recently, for a few nights of family togetherness. Despite the short drive from Philadelphia, we had never previously visited. We stayed at the North Branch Inn (more on that later — we LOVED it), and basically spent a couple of days relaxing, eating, and doing a little hiking.
Catskills Getaway: Hiking Russell Brook Falls
We picked this particular hike simply because thunderstorms were predicted for that afternoon. The Russell Brook Falls hike was close, short (less than a mile), had a waterfall, and therefore seemed like our safest bet. My expectations were low, however — we’re pretty big hikers, so we didn’t have high hopes for something that could be described as a 5-minute walk from a parking lot.
Imagine our surprise, then, when this not only turned out to be one seriously fun adventure, but we didn’t see another person the entire time. It was such a good reset.
A Hiking & Waterfall Adventure
Our adventure started almost immediately. The turn off of the main path was completely overgrown, and we walked past it (back and forth, back and forth) several times. In the end, we just ventured in, fighting our way through the “jungle” (according to Pax). It felt a little bit like a leap of faith — we could only see the path disappearing into the brush if we looked down — and it definitely set the stage for something unexpected.
Eventually, we emerged from the brush, and followed the path down to the river. Once we hit the river, it was easy — we simply followed the river upstream to the waterfall.
On a hot day, I imagine that this would be a fun place to splash around. But on this gray, foggy day…it was epic.
Of course, Pax figured out a way to climb up and over the waterfall….
And waiting at the top were all kinds of little nooks and crannies to explore. Rock structures, too.
The boys quickly invented some sort of game that involved makeshift boats traveling downstream and eventually — for extra points, obviously — over the waterfall.
I imagine that this hike will not be nearly so accessible in spring, when the melting snow makes the river rage, but in early fall? It’s pretty perfect.
We decided to continue hiking upstream, to see how far we could go. And while there’s not exactly a trail, per se, it’s…doable. For the adventurous. (Pax was in heaven.)
Just when Mike and I were warning the boys that it was about time to turn back — truthfully, we hadn’t gone very far, it was just really slow going — we walked around a bend, right as the sun was trying to peek out.
We ended up staying well past our 10-minute warning to the boys. How could we not? Pax, per usual, was almost completely soaked by the time we headed back. Despite the up-over-around-and-under path, it took us less than 30 minutes to get back.
This hike was a breath of fresh air — both literally and figuratively. I’m so glad we ventured out before it stormed — this hike was certainly worth the early morning wake-up.
Where To Eat, After The Hike
Since everyone was starving, after hiking we headed to nearby Roscoe, NY (aka “trout town”) for lunch at the Roscoe Beer Garden. The rain eventually started, but thankfully it started slowly; we were snug under the tent.
And by the time the storm really got going (with the thunder and lightning and wind)…we were all happily tucked back up at the North Branch Inn, curled up with books for the afternoon.
All in all, a pretty epic day.
What To Wear Hiking
This is not a long hike, nor a strenuous one, but I did want to be comfortable — even if it rained. And I wanted to wear something I could feel comfortable in at the beer garden later.
rain jacket: Arc’teryx Alpha AR Jacket (size sm)
sweat-wicking tee: Beyond Yoga cropped tee (size sm)
shorts: L’agence high-rise shorts – super-stretchy and comfortable, I find them perfect for easy hikes like this
boots: Danner hiking boots** – my longtime favs, I wear these babies everywhere (use code THEMOMEDIT for 15% off)
hiking socks: Darn Tough socks** – literally THE BEST hiking socks on the planet (use code THEMOMEDIT for 15% off)
backpack: Patagonia 26L backpack**, size S/M (use code THEMOMEDIT for 15% off)
sunglasses: Kaenon polarized sunglasses – I have the brown mirrored ones, love them (use code THEMOMEDIT for 15% off)
**meets our standards for sustainability
Gang, since we often partner with Backcountry, we do have that 15% off code, THEMOMEDIT. It takes 15% off your entire purchase, but only applies to full-price items. (There might be a few other exclusions, too, but I did test it with the pieces marked above.)