Ashokan Rail Trail Bird Spotting

Spanning the northern rim of the Ashokan Reservoir sits a birder’s paradise. Set against the scenic back drop of the Catskills, the 11.5-mile Ashokan Rail Trail adventures through lands that, until recently, were closed to public access for over 100 years. Boasting a variety of environs from wide open views to quiet forest glades, rocky cliffs and deep forest valleys to rush-filled wetlands and protected ponds, the trail serves up the opportunity to encounter as many as 194 species of birds to the avid watcher.

The American Bald Eagle, which likes to soar between the Catskill Mountains and the creeks feeding into the Ashokan Reservoir, can be spotted frequently from the trail. Easily recognizable by its size and color, Great Blue Herons can be found standing in the shallows of the ponds doting the Ashokan Rail Trail, while Belted Kingfishers perch high in the tree on open branch on the lookout for fish. Scarlet Tanagers, with their stunning red feathers can be hard to spot, but they live happily in the dense forests surrounding the trail.

The Ashokan Rail Trail is accessible from the Woodstock Dike Trailhead, located at 1285 NY-28 in West Hurley; the Ashokan Station Trailhead, found at 3045 NY-28 in Shokan; and the Boiceville Bridge Trailhead is off Route 28A in Boiceville.