The Catskill 3500 Club, an organization of intrepid souls dedicated to hiking all 35 Catskills peaks with summits of 3,500 feet or more, outlines high-peaks hikes in its quarterly Catskill Canister ($10 annual subscription). www.catskill-3500-club.org.

The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, in Arkville, occasionally runs guided hikes in the northern Catskills. 43355 Rte. 28, Arkville, NY. 845/586–2611. www.catskillcenter.org.

Alternatively, you can join the Rip Van Winkle Hikers (845/246-8616, www.newyorkheritage.com/rvw) on one of their beginner, intermediate, or advanced group hikes; nearly every weekend the hikers congregate in Saugerties (a few miles east of the northern Catskills), at the parking lot on the corner of Market and Main streets, and then carpool to their destination.

In the southern Catskills, the Catskill Hiking Shack in Wurtsboro, about a 20-minute drive southeast of Monticello, carries hiking and camping gear and will point you to the area's best hiking spots. 169 Sullivan St., Wurtsboro, NY. 845/888–4453. www.catskillhikes.com.

Hiking in the Catskills can be amazing, but the rocky terrain and abundance of wildlife, including raccoons, skunks, porcupines, and bears, mean that extra care should be taken.

For safety information, contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 845/256–3000. www.dec.ny.gov.




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