As you watch the waters cascade 260 feet down the gray rock of this two-tiered waterfall, you'll see why this spot was so popular with Thomas Cole and other Hudson River School painters. To access the trail that leads to the bottom of the falls, park in the public lot on Route 23A, 3 mi west of Palenville. To get to the trailhead, walk about ¼ mi down (east) along the narrow shoulder of Route 23A. (This is a very busy road with hairpin turns; you may find yourself hugging rocks as cars pass you.) Signs point the way to the path, which leads you past the delicate Bastion Falls. Although largely level, the trail does have a few steep sections. Altogether the hike is less than 1 mi long and shouldn't take a full hour. You may be tempted to climb to the top of the falls, but this is really risky and can't be recommended: missteps on the slippery rocks here have resulted in many accidents—some fatal.
Off Rte. 23A, 3 mi west of Palenville, Haines Falls, New York, United States