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Fancy hiking, rivers, ski resorts and rivers, and lakes in New York? The Catskill Mountains are about 160 kilometers from New York City, in the northwestern region, and 60 kilometers Southwest of Albany. There is the Catskill Mountain Railroad which was finished in 1828 is now a historical landmark; and has more than 100 resorts that people can stay in while they enjoy the 300, 000 acres of nature, mountains, and wildlife. This is also home to the Catskill Brewery, Windham Vineyards, Catskill Distilling Company!

There are so many things to enjoy and learn about this amazing piece of nature; here are ten things about the Catskills Mountains that are worth knowing!

1. What is in a name?

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A lot of theories surround the naming of this place. Many people have different ideas about how the Catskills region got the name. Some say that ‘Catskills’ has nothing to do with cats being killed; that it was derived from the Dutch word Kaaterskill which means Wildcat Creek. The Dutch settled in the area in the 17th Century, so that may explain it. Some people however seem to think that since many bobcats were seen in the area and especially the village of Catskill, the place assumed the name, many years ago. Some also think that the ship that went up the Hudson River called ‘The Cat’ gave people ideas to name the place ‘Catskill’. And since no one knows where the name came from, even spelling the name has been a contentious issue for ling, some still spelling it as ‘Kaatskill’!

2. The Mountains are formed from an erosion

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The formation of the Catskills mountains is an interesting one, as it has gone full cycle! When the sediments of the Acadian Mountains were rising and eroding, they eroded and formed the rocks that make up the Catskills. The mountain is therefore made of eroded sentiments, deposition, and back to erosion.  

3. It has over 100 mountain peaks 

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These seem like way too many peaks for one mountain, but they give the mountain such great views. Out of these, 35 of them are over 3,500 feet high, with the highest one Slide Mountain being 4,180 feet! If you have climbed all of them, then there is a club called The 35 Club that you are eligible for after conquering the 35th one. Therefore if you love hiking, this can be such a good challenge, also seeing as they are all in one area! Be careful, there are over 2,000 black bears in the mountains. But the resorts will give you lessons on what to do if you encounter them!

4. Longest zip-line in North America

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Adrenaline fans will love this. The longest zip-line in North America and the second-largest in the world is found in the Catskill mountains! You will be zip-lining at a whole 60 feet above the forest, and on a 650 feel long zip-line! So much fun! You can even go on a zip-line at night! How cool is that? There are different tours like the Summit SkyRider Tour, Mid-Mountain Outdoor Adventure Tour, and the Adventure Tower to choose from for zip-lining. The world’s largest kaleidoscope is also found here. Inside the former grain silo, that can fit more than 20 people!

5. Amazing Fall Foliage

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The Fall foliage experienced at the Catskill Mountains is extremely beautiful. The American beech, the yellow birch, the sugar maple, provides the otherwise dull area with a beautiful array of color. The changing leaves are amazing during the Fall in these mountains, and you can witness them from the Kaaterskill, Hannacroix Creek Preserve, and many other different areas around. Such a beautiful sight!  

6. Waterfalls!

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If you don’t fancy hiking or zip-lining, then worry not, because the Catskill Mountains have the best waterfalls around! They are also so many, with Kateerskill Falls being one of the best, and one that is a must-visit. It is just about half a mile hike, so one should find it easy to reach and the views of the 260 feet, two drops waterfall are breathtaking. The Waterfall is the tallest two-tiered water-fall in New York and can be accessed on Route 23A.

7. A park it is!

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The Catskill Park encompasses a large part of the area including a huge part of the mountains. So when you visit the Catskill Mountain, you are not only visiting the mountain but enjoying the benefits of one of the largest mountains around. Get to cycle, hike, hunt, fish, and even have a picnic here. The Catskill Park, which also includes a massive 287, 500 acres of the Catskill Forest Reserve also has towns, private property, and roads!

8. Interesting features 

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The geography of the area covering the Catskill Mountain is very interesting. On the eastern side of the mountains is the Catskill Escarpment, which rises from the Hudson Valley and declines to a plateau. There is also the Allegheny Plateau. There is the Poconos to in Pennsylvania, there are six big rivers and even waterfalls! There is so much diversity in terms of the geographical composition of the various areas that the ancient saying ‘when you have two rocks for every dirt, you are in the Catskills’ make sense, as no two places around and within the Catskills Mountains are the same. 

9. Amazing movie set

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The Catskills Mountains and the park has been used as a set of very many movies. There is a possibility that you have watched a couple of movies which have been set at the Catskills Mountains. There are books set there as well as music concerts that have been held there. Movies as old as those set in the 19th century like WaterFall in the Catskills which was set in 1897, Dirty Dancing from 1987, War in the Worlds from 2005, Studio360 from 2013 among tens of others. My Side of the Mountain written by Jean Craighead George in 1959, Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving in 1819, and others are based in Catskills. The Woodstock Music Festival was held in 1969 which also was captured in Woodstock movie.