Home to lush valleys, rich wildlife, vast mountains, glistening lakes, and secluded waterfalls, the Catskills Mountains are a nature lover’s dream. In fact, this awe-inspiring region spans 6000 square miles and comprises almost 100 mountain peaks, Mental Floss reveals. Whether you’ve booked a stay in a treehouse yurt or a mountain cabin, you’ll be in prime position to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and sensations of the great outdoors. Here are just some of ways you can enjoy the wonders of the natural world during your stay at Harmony Hill.
Catskills scenic trail
In addition to the trails at Harmony Hill, there’s plenty of fun woodland hiking trails nearby. You also have the option of exploring the popular Catskills scenic trail. It comprises an original rail bed, which has been lovingly preserved as a well-maintained trail for the public to enjoy. Whether you decide to journey on foot, bike, or horseback, you’ll discover the untouched beauty of the local rural countryside. The trail is twenty-six miles long, almost completely flat, and offers serene views of streams, wooded areas, farmland, and meadows.
Near Harmony Hill is Plattekill mountain in the Northwestern Catskills. Offering a genuine mountain experience, it’s ideal for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, such as, skiing, snowtubing, and snowboarding against a stunning backdrop. Don’t forget to take the chairlift ride: it ascends 1, 100 feet and provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Catskills Mountains. Hunter mountain lies further afield, and offers a unique range of outdoor activities, including, the longest and highest zipline in North America, a scenic chairlift to the mountain summit at 3,200 feet, and long hikes through dense forests.
During your stay, you can also visit the historic Susquehanna River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. In Portlandville, around twenty-five minutes north of Harmony Hill, canoes and kayaks are available to rent. The calm, inviting water on Susquehanna River allows for a safe and mellow paddling experience. Stay long enough and you’re bound to see many wildlife residents: ducks, bald eagles, blue herons, egrets, song birds, beavers, fish, and more!
Last but not least, families or lovers of wildlife and conservation should fit in a trip to the Joseph L. Popp Jr. Butterfly Conservatory in Oneonta. It’s a large indoor tropical garden home to butterflies, fish, reptiles, and tropical birds. Here, you’ll be introduced to the sheer wonderment and biodiversity of the natural world. So, whether you enjoy relaxing strolls and bike rides through beautiful countryside, more exhilarating outdoor activities, or simple nature-watching, the Catskills Mountains has it all.
written by Jocasta Firmino