Canoeing & Kayaking
With all the water around, canoeing and kayaking are big, especially along the east and west branches of the Delaware River. Rentals, and in some cases canoe and kayak tours, are available from Al's Sport Store, routes 30 and 206 in Downsville (tel. 607/363-7740; www.alssportstore.com); Catskill Outfitters, Delaware and North Street, Walton (tel. 800/631-0105; www.catskilloutfitters.com); and Susan's Pleasant Pheasant Farm, 1 Bragg Hollow Rd., Halcottsville (tel. 607/326-4266; www.pleasantpheasantfarm.com).
The western Catskills are one of North America's top fishing destinations. You'll find great tailwater, still-water, and freestone fishing. Fly-fishing is huge in the east and west branches of the Delaware River, Beaverkill River, and Willowemoc. The junction pool at Hancock, where the east and west branches join to form the main stem of the Delaware River, is legendary for large brown and rainbow trout. Pepacton Reservoir is a great open-water brown-trout fishery. Al's Sport Store, routes 30 and 206 in Downsville (tel. 607/363-7740; www.alssportstore.com), is the best resource in the area for equipment and knowledge. Al knows everything about fishing the Catskills. For more information on fishing in the northern Catskills, request a Delaware County Chamber Fishing Guide (tel. 800/642-4443; www.delawarecounty.org) or an I Love NY Fishing Map (tel. 607/652-7366). The West Branch Angler & Sportsman's Resort in Deposit is a terrific upscale cabin resort targeting anglers.
Remember, state licenses are required for fishing.
For golf, check out the sweet and hilly Shepard Hills Golf & Tennis Club, Golf Course Road (1 mile off Rte. 30), Roxbury (tel. 607/326-7121; www.shepardhills.com). The 9-hole course dates from 1916.
Hiking & Biking
The Catskill Scenic Trail (tel. 607/652-2821; www.durr.org) is 26 gentle miles of Rails-to-Trails (hard-packed rail paths on top of the former trail bed of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad) that run from Grand Gorge to Bloomville; it's terrific for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing (in winter, watch out for snowmobiles roaring by). The best spot to pick up the trail is Railroad Avenue in Stamford; a section runs through Roxbury. Within 15 miles of Margaretville, there are 12 peaks above 3,000 feet; Balsam Lake Mountain has nice marked trails. Dry Brook Trail begins at a trail head in Margaretville and passes Pakatakan Mountain, Dry Brook Ridge, and Balsam Lake Mountain. In Andes, a nice hike is around the Pepacton Reservoir to Big Pond and Little Pond; from the trail heads, you can hike to the summits of Cabot or Touchmenot mountains. The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Route 28, Arkville (tel. 845/586-2611; www.catskillcenter.org), offers guided hikes, snowshoe excursions, and bird walks.
Mountain bikers have lots to choose from, but Plattekill Mountain (tel. 800/GOTTA BIKE; www.plattekill.com) is one of the top-five mountain-biking destinations in North America; it's very popular with extreme downhill crazies in head-to-toe gear and caked in mud, but there are also trails for novices and intermediates.
Skiers and boarders have two good options: Belleayre Mountain and Plattekill Mountain (tel. 800/NEED-2-SKI; www.plattekill.com), a small, laid-back 1950s-era resort that's good for families and novice-to-intermediate skiers.