Ulster County is about 90 minutes north from New York City, an hour south of Albany and about 3.5 hours from both Boston and Philadelphia. The county sits in the heart of the fertile Hudson River Valley with the Hudson River on its eastern edge. Within its 1,161 square miles lies the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve where there are more than ¼ million acres of forever-wild woodlands.
The county’s most famous town is Woodstock, a colony of the arts and certainly the most famous small town in the world. However, New Paltz, sitting on the edge of the Shawangunk Ridge has some of the best rock climbing on the East Coast and home to the State University at New Paltz. The oldest street in America is also in New Paltz.
The town of Phoenicia, nestled in the mountains on the Esopus Creek, has superior flying fishing and tubing; Kingston, New York’s first Capital, is a shopping destination and prominently features its Rondout waterfront with cruises on the Hudson River and great waterfront dining. Saugerties, another waterfront town is a Mecca for antiques while Highland and Lloyd provide access to the newly opened Walkway Across the Hudson www.walkway.org, the first linear State Park in the United States where you can walk from Ulster County to Dutchess County with breathtaking views of the mighty Hudson.
There are many more towns to explore so browse through our web site and enjoy the varied attractions, which can provide a great destination with a four-season recreation environment, beautifully prepared food, lodging, art, music and a creative vibrant population.
The county is named for the Irish province of Ulster, then an earldom of the Duke of York (later James II). The first European settlers called it Esopus and by 1683 the Duke of York created 12 counties, which included Ulster. It became New York’s first capital of an independent New York in 1777.
More than ¼ million acres of land are protected for recreational use. There are 35 peaks, the highest being Slide Mountain at 4180 feet. There are 350 miles of hiking and biking trails, downhill, and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and miles of streams. The Hudson River provides cruises, kayaking, canoeing and sailing with access from many locations.
Ulster County is easily reached by Trailways bus and by car via the New York Thruway and other major roads on both sides of the Hudson.