Biking & Hiking
For the best hiking (certainly some of the finest in the state), check out the Mohonk and Minnewaska preserves near New Paltz . The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail stretches 12 miles from the New Paltz/Rosendale town line to Gardiner. Bicycling Magazine has details of a great (100-mile-plus) reservoir loop for hardcore road cyclists, starting in New Paltz (www.bicycling.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=355113). The widely available free brochure Hiking Ulster County has details of plenty more trails in the Catskill Forest Preserve and Overlook Mountain Wild Forest, near Woodstock; visit www.co.ulster.ny.us. Bike rentals are available from Favata's Table Rock Tours and Bicycle Shop, 386 Main St., Rosendale (tel. 845/658-7832; www.trtbicycles.com); Bicycle Depot, 15 Main St., New Paltz (tel. 845/255-3859; www.bicycledepot.blogspot.com); Overlook Mountain Bikes, 93 Tinker St., Woodstock (tel. 845/679-2122; www.overlookmountainbikes.com); or Revolution Bicycles, 196 Main St., Saugerties (tel. 845/687-3570; www.revolutionbicycles.webs.com).
Atlantic Kayak Tours, 320 W. Saugerties Rd., Saugerties (tel. 845/246-2187; www.atlantickayaktours.com), guides experts and novices on 40 different tours along the Hudson. Rent a kayak at Bernetta's Kayaks, 12 Calderone Dr., Wallkill (tel. 845/464-5106). The Town Tinker, Bridge Street, Phoenicia (tel. 845/688-5553; www.towntinker.com), does inner tube rentals for floating down a 5-mile stretch of the Esopus River (including a course with rapids and flumes). Tubes are $12 per day, tube taxi transportation $5.
EMS, 3124 Rte. 44/55, Gardiner (tel. 800/310-4504), has equipment and climbing lessons.
Northwest of Phoenicia, Belleayre Mountain, Route 28, Highmount (tel. 845/254-5600; www.belleayre.com), has the highest skiable peak and longest trail in the Catskills, with 36 other trails and eight lifts, but also a lower mountain that's perfect for beginners and intermediates.