Head south on NY 209 to Cherrytwon Road o Upper Cherrytown Road. Look for the parking area on the right at the state trail marker. . The trailhead is across the road.
The 30,100 acre Sundown Wild Forest forms the south and southeasterly border of the Catskill Forest Preserve. It is bisected by the Peekamoose Valley Wild Forest and north to south by Rondout Creek and the East Branch of the Neversink River. The Slide Mountain-Panther Mountain Wilderness borders the Sundown Wild Forest on the north and the Willowemoc-Long Pond Wild Forest lies to the west.
The unit consists of several separated land parcels; Wildcat Mountain, Denman Mountain, Kanape, Bangle Hill, Sugarloaf Mountain and Sugarloaf Ridge, Lacakawack, Mombaccus, Red Hill, Vernooy Kill Falls Area and the 5,400-acre former Lundy Estate which lies outside the Catskill Park.
Combined, these areas feature 10 mountains over 2,000 feet including the Samson, Van Wyck, and Peekamoose Mountains. Water cascades down the mountains into the Rondout Creek creating a series of small pools and waterfalls.
Our main area of focus is the The Vernooy Kill Falls Trail, a multiple use trail (snowmobile in winter), which runs within the Vernooy Kill Falls Area. It forms an 11.2 mile loop ideal for a mountain biking excursion to a beautiful cascading waterfall.
Peekamoose Valley Wild Forest Primitive Camping and Trailer Field (marked by yellow discs), Carry in / out. No runnig water, privy facilites or picnic tables and no vehicle access to most sites. A few Accessible sites available with fire ring, picnic table and nearby seasonal port-a-potty.
First come first serve. Camping permit (free) required.
Vernooy Kill Falls Mountain Bike Trail Description
Mileage / Blaze: 11.2 mile loop. Orange discs
This trail is one of the best kept secrets in Ulster County. It passes through a dense forest of pines, maples, oaks, beeches and hemlocks and along streams and swamps. After Vernooy Kill Falls the trail narrows and becomes rough, and rocky singletrack. At the junction with Yagerville Road, it widens into a snowmobile trail. It is not exceptionally strenuous, but the many sections of rough, eroded road with exposed rock will require basic mountain bike handling skills. Riders will encounter some challenging steep climbs and long, technical descents.
Around the Balsam swamps, hungry mosquitoes await to dine on the unwary rider. I hope you brought the mosquito repellent. Towards the end of your mountain bike ride, stop and take a break at Vernooy Kill Falls. This scenic, secluded, spot in the Catskill mountains, with a series of beautiful, cascading waterfalls and sparkling, crystal clear pools; water-filled basins which have been carved out of the rock over the eons, is a romantic place to stop for a snack and admire the scene.
Numerous old foundations and stone walls from former early settlements are found throughout the unit. Just below the falls, a 15-20-foot tall stone wall alongside the stream was part of the Cornelius Vernooy Mill complex which operated from the early 1700's until 1809.
The trailhead begins at the parking area on Upper Cherrytown Road. It passes over the Vernooy Kill and Balsam Swamp and runs on to Greenville. The return route is via Spencer / Trails End Road.
Its best to bike Vernooy Kill loop in a counterclockwise direction. That way, you get most of the ride done before coming back to the Vernoy Kill Falls. From there it is only two miles back to the trailhead.
Vernooy Kill Falls Trail Connections
Denman Mountain Snowmobile Trail
Mileage / Blaze: 7 miles
A 7-mile snowmobile trail circles the Denman Mountain, the second highest peak in Sullicvan county. Popular trail for horseback riding. Segments are suitable for mountain biking.
Furmans and Glade Hill Road/Moore Hill Road intersection
Mileage / Blaze: 8 miles. Blue Disc. Hiking only
From Peekamoose Valley it's about 8 miles to Vernooy Kill Falls on the Long Path. A 4.3-mile trail leads west to views on 3,800-foot Table and Peekamoose Mountains.
Trail Highlights and Nearby Points of Interest
Bikes & Waterfalls
See trail desciption above and Mountain Bike Waterfall Trails.
Neversink Gorge and Hog Rocks
The 4,881 Neversink River Unique Area, also called the Neversink Gorge, is a popular hiking and fishing spot. There are 3 small waterfalls that cascade down the river located in the area: Denton Falls, Katrina Falls and Mullet Brook Falls.The trails leading to the falls can be slippery and very steep. Perfect for a fall foliage excursion.
The Katrina Falls Rd Access and the Cold Spring Road Access points have maintained parking and maintained trails.
Scenic Viewpoints & Fire Towers
At a height of 3080 ft, you get a stupendous overlook view of the Ashokan Reservoir in the town of Olive, NY.
GPS Coordinates: Lat 41.924815 Long: -74.287926
Red Hill Fire Tower
A 1.2 mile graded trail travels to the summit of Red Hill at 2,990 ft. The trail gains almost 900 feet in elevation as it climbs to the fire tower.
Red Hill Area. GPS Coordinates: 41.930293°N, 74.507349°W
The Rondout Valley area was probably first used as hunting grounds by groups of Lenni-Lenape and other groups of the Algonquian nation. They called the area Peekamoose, meaning "big place". They are also responsible for many of the area place names. "Neversink" for example means "a mean, mad river; a continual running stream which never sinks into the ground or a highland between waters"– all apropos.
European settlement basically began in 1708 when Queen Anne awarded a large land grant known as the Hardenburg Patent to a man named Johannis Hardenburgh and six other white men. This grant encompassed a huge section of the Catskills. See Willowemoc - Long Pond Wild Forest Trails history for more details.
Vernooy Grist Mills
The Vernooy family were early settlers and millers of the towns of Wawarsing and Rochester in Ulster County, NY. Cornelius Vernooy, (I) (1638 - 1727) was a French Huguenot who immigrated from Holland to New Amsterdam (New York) in 1664 aboard the sailing ship "De Trouw". In America, he settled at Escopus (now Kingston) in Ulster County, New York sometime before 1665.
In 1671, he obtained a "patent" for lands in Brabant, Ulster County in company with Jacob Burhaus and Jan Osterhout. Records indicate that "The old Vernooy homestead was across the creek opposite the parsonage of the Reformed Church (circa 1731)." A portion of the walls constitute a part of the present house, which has been and still is occupied by members of the Vernooy family to this day.
Cornelis Cornelissen Vernooy (II) (1679 -1759), took over the management of the family estate and grist mill built by his father in the present town of Wawarsing and operated it from the early 1700's until 1809.
See The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail for details on historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, NY.
New York State DEC Region 3
Phone: (845) 256-3000
Website: Sundown Wild Forest