Whether afoot or employing paddle-power, a trip through the Hudson River's largest forested tidal swamp offers many surprises.
Bird watchers at RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary
Catskill, Greene County (480 acres)—A swamp may not have the cachet of a mountain peak or thundering waterfall, but what it lacks in grandeur it more than makes up for in the diversity of wildlife it attracts. Plus, as RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary proves, swamps can be exceedingly beautiful. A hike through wildflower-filled lowlands, alongside rustling marsh grasses and over intriguing rock outcroppings in its upland forest will linger in your memory long after the boots have been unlaced.
For a special treat, hop in a kayak or canoe. Paddling tree-shaded RamsHorn Creek, curvy as old-fashioned ribbon candy, brings you even closer to the creatures that call the sanctuary home. You'll may draw the attention of some three dozen varieties of dragonflies, whose gossamer wings exhaust the color spectrum. Great blue herons and waterfowl could launch skyward at your approach. Overhead, a bald eagle or two is likely to keep tabs on your progress. And you might spot a muskrat, beaver or river otter. In other words, while the creek may be an ideal place to "get away from it all," you'll hardly be alone.
- Bird watching/nature study
- Dog walking (on leash)
- Hudson River Greenway Water Trail site
- Kayaking & canoeing
- Featured Atlantic Kayak Tours destination
- X-country skiing & snowshoeing (ungroomed trails)
When to visit
Year-round daily dawn to dusk. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
2 miles of trails follow an old farm road past a 28-foot observation tower, then narrow as they meander through forests and skirt RamsHorn Marsh (see trail map). Kayak and canoe access within the sanctuary requires a half-mile carry; for portage-free access to RamsHorn Creek, launch from Catskill Point Park at the foot of Main Street in downtown Catskill and paddle up Catskill Creek (at high tide) or down the Hudson River.
RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary is co-owned and co-managed with Audubon New York. For information about educational and public programming at the sanctuary, call Audubon's Education Coordinator at 518-678-3248.
Crossing the Rip Van Winkle Bridge from east to west, turn left at first traffic light onto Route 385. Continue 2.5 miles through the Village of Catskill. Left on West Main Street after crossing the Catskill Creek. Continue 0.8 miles to small rotary; exit rotary on Dubois Road. Proceed 0.1 miles to RamsHorn parking area on right.
For inquiries about educational and public programming at RamsHorn-Livingston sanctuary, contact Audubon New York at 518-325-5203.
Maps & Resources
RamsHorn-Livingston Preserve Trail map (jpg, 312K)