Woodstock Travel Guide
Woodstock, New York, is a small town of about 6,000. It lies in Ulster County in the south-central part of the state and is entirely inside of Catskill Park. It is famous for its scenic beauty, for being a long-time “artist colony,” and for its association with the rock music festival termed “Woodstock.”
The first European and American settlements in the area came in the 1770’s, and the town of Woodstock was founded in 1787. Throughout the 1800’s, Woodstock became a haven for painters and artists, and this tradition has continued to the present day.
Things to see and do in Woodstock
The first thing to do near Woodstock is to take advantage of the fact that the forested Catskill Mountains and Catskill State Park are all around you. You can hike to the top of Overlook Mountain, where you will find five old fire towers, an old hotel, and the Overlook Mountain House. You may also wish to hike to Indian Head Mountain and nearby Twin Mountain. These two peaks stand at the end of the popular Devil’s Path Hiking Trail, which itself overlaps with the 350-mile-long Long Path, which will give “long-distance trekker types” ideas.
Also hike along Cooper Lake, the biggest lake in the Catskills if you aren’t counting man-made reservoirs. Though, to be fair, Cooper Lake itself is somewhat enlarged due to its function as a reservoir for Woodstock and other municipalities. You cannot swim or fish in the lake, but it is beautiful to behold amid its “garb of greenery” and surrounding rolling hills.
Also be sure to see the west branch of Saw Kill Creek, which flows through Woodstock but starts at the foot of Indian Head Mountain. Its rocky rapids and surrounding woodlands have earned it a reputation as one of the most scenic streams in New York State.
Though it might see “out of place,” you will find in Woodstock Tibetan-style Buddhist monastery called “Karma Triyana Dharmachakra.” It is architecturally impressive and very ornate.
Tour the town of Woodstock itself, especially Tinker Street, to peruse the many art shops. Also see the Byrdcliffe art center, which offers exhibits, performances, classes, and tours of the history of Woodstock as an art colony. Finally, just outside town, see the Opus 40, a decorative rock path and an assemblage of sculptures set against Overlook Mountain in the background.
To relax and recoup from a hard day’s touring, stop by Big Deep, a stream-fed pool with cool water and peaceful surroundings.
Woodstock has a “continental” climate, with four distinct seasons, hot summers, and cold winters. The July high averages 79, while the January low averages 15. The area receives about 46 inches of rain and 45 inches of snow each year.
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