Copake Falls Area and Bash Bish Falls
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:NY Route 344, Copake Falls, NY
Hours:Sunrise to sunset daily
Fee: $7 per car (free with an Empire Passport)
Bathrooms: Portable toilets at the parking lot and at the falls
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Bash Bish Falls and Copake

This is a cool and lovely walk to a dramatic view, and best of all, it’s all downhill on the way back! The area is great for camping and winter visits, too.

Bash Bish Falls
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

With 16 cabins and more than 100 tent and trailer sites, Copake Falls Area offers a lively camping experience for families. A few cabins are available yearround, giving visitors a launching pad for (and resting place from) snowshoe and cross-country ski excursions on the miles of trails throughout the area.

A wonderful all-season hike is the steady trek up to Bash Bish Falls, which is just over the Massachusetts border. Like Kaaterskill in the Catskills (Trip 89), Bash Bish was among the most fashionable wilderness getaways of the nineteenth century. Today, it attracts a steady flow of visitors from both the New York and Massachusetts sides. With water falling 60 feet into a crystalclear deep pool, Bash Bish is the highest single-drop cascade in Massachusetts. The water originates from a spring in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, and, after passing through the Roeliff-Jansen Kill, it ultimately joins the Hudson River.

From the parking lot, go left and take the dirt road through a hemlockhardwood ravine forest. With the shade and the cool air emanating from Bash Bish Brook, the temperature is pleasant even on a hot day. Soon a gentle, steady incline begins, and remains for the duration of the hike. For about the first half of the 0.75-mile trek to the falls, there are benches along the way. When you come to a path forking off to the left, ignore it. You are almost to the well-marked New York State–Massachusetts border—as a geography lesson, this crossing makes an impression—and the falls are just beyond that.

You can take in the grandeur of the falls from the viewing platform, or you can descend a steep stone staircase with a center railing that leads to the base of the cascade. Return the way you came to complete the 1.5-mile hike. This is also a spectacular fall-foliage destination, and excellent for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. Remember: Swimming is prohibited.

Plan B:

For a rugged 3-mile loop, you could cross Bash Bish Brook via the bridge on the right side of the parking lot and, with the brook to your left, follow the South Taconic Trail and then the blue trail path up to the falls. Ore Pitt Pond, a short drive west on NY 344, has a swimming beach, a wading pool for toddlers, and a playground.

Where to Eat Nearby:

The town of Copake has restaurants, diners, and shops. Take NY 344 to NY 22, and turn right onto East Main Street. Follow this (do not turn left onto Farm Road) to Main Street in the town’s center.



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