Beautiful Views At The Ashokan Reservoir Trail – Catskills, NY

Ashokan Reservoir Fall 2018

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Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Lori

We have been to the Catskills many times but only recently found yet another beautiful place to take a walk and admire the beautiful Catskill mountain scenery. 

The place I’m referring to may surprise you – it’s where New York City gets its drinking water!  The Ashokan Reservoir Trail is located near Olivebridge, NY in the Catskill Mountains (13 miles west of Kingston) and we loved it so much, we went twice! 

The Ashokan Reservoir Trail – Catskill Mountains, NY


Have you been to the Catskill Mountains of New York?

We were recently camping at one of our favorite campgrounds in the Catskills – Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds in Phoenicia, NY.  


Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds  


The campground sits alongside the Esopus River surrounded by beautiful mountains. 

We camp in our travel trailer at least 3-4 times a year and love hearing the sounds of the river rushing by especially in the evenings.


Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds Fall 2018  

One evening a few of our camping neighbors came over to sit around the campfire.  One of the campers had been on a five (5) hour hike that day to the top of the mountain which we happened to be facing as we sat around the campfire at the campground!

That conversation quickly turned into talking about other nice places to hike and bike in the area. 

They kept referring to “The Reservoir”  and how nice it was to walk, jog and ride their bicycles across the reservoir bridge.

Since Tom & I didn’t know exactly where the Reservoir was, we decided to take a ride the next day to find this awesome place! What we found…was amazing.  


The Ashokan Reservoir Trail – Catskills, NY

We parked at the south end of the Spillway.  The Spillway used to be open to traffic, but after September 11th, it was closed to vehicular traffic. 

The Spillway offered beautiful views of the Catskill Mountains.  

Ashokan Reservoir Catskill Mountains  


Since the first day was cloudy and drizzling, we decided to return the next day so we could take a walk and see more of that view! 

(The photo above is actually taken on the second day ).

Since the Spillway is closed to traffic we decided to make our way around to the other side to see the views. 

As we were driving, we found this pretty fountain on the road below the Spillway. 

You can see people walking across the Spillway in the background of the photo.


Fountain at Ashokan Reservoir


The Ashokan Reservoir

The  Ashokan Reservoir is separated into two basins by Reservoir Road. Water does not pass freely between the two basins, and the eastern basin is seven inches lower than the western basin.  


Roadway to the Ashokan Reservoir  


There is no swimming or gasoline powered boats allowed in the basin in order to keep the water as clean as possible. 

There is some fishing at the Ashokan Reservoir, but you need to apply for a special license in order to fish.


Entrance to causeway at Ashokan Reservoir  

We did not walk along what’s known as the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade Trail which spans 2.8 miles along the Reservoir’s southern shoreline. 

There were many people walking along the Promenade and we were told that it can be crowded at times.

Instead, we came back to the Spillway the following day when it was sunny to take some awesome photos!


Cloudy Day at Ashokan Reservoir  


The water was so still – like glass that these photos of the clouds were amazing!


Cloud mirrors on the Reservoir at Ashokan Reservoir  


When we return to the Catskills next year, we will definitely take a walk along the Ashokan Promenade.  I’m sure the views of the Reservoir are just as – or even more beautiful!

Have you been to the Ashokan Reservoir?  If so, let me know especially if you’ve taken the almost 3-mile walk across the Promenade!


History Of The Ashokan Reservoir

The Reservoir was created in 1915 by the construction of  5 1/2 miles of dams and dikes within the Esopus Creek drainage. 

Located 14 miles west of the City of Kingston in Ulster County, the 8,315-acre reservoir is a major component of the Catskill System of the New York water supply.

The reservoir is broken into two basins by a dividing weir near its center.

The Dividing Weir pinches and separates the upper west basin from the lower east basin. Parking is available at either end of the trail.

On the trail’s western tip, the parking lot is available off Route 28A, just west of its intersection with Route 213. To the east, a parking lot is available off BWS Road.


Best Things To Do In The Catskills

Ashokan Rail Trail Views



The Catskills are just a few hours from New York City making it a great day trip or weekend getaway.  Whether you love hiking, skiing, fishing, camping, or breweries, the Catskill Mountains has something for everyone!


Here are 13 Fun Things To Do in the Catskills that the whole family will LOVE!



Where To Camp In The Catskill Mountains

  If you’re looking for great campgrounds in the area – we have TWO that we LOVE when we go camping in the Catskills!

Related Reading:  If you’re looking for lots of fun activities for the kids including soft served ice cream, bounce house, outdoor movies BUT also looking for a Peaceful Campground with lots of trails to walk and is a full hook-up campground – then Rip Van Winkle Campground is perfect!


Related Reading:  If looking at the beautiful Catskill Mountains along an amazing river with only water & electric is more your style the Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds is the place for you!


I hope you can visit this beautiful area of the Catskill Mountains the next time you pass through!  We love it and I know you will too!

Don’t Forget To Share!  


The Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskill Mountains is a beautiful place to view the Catskill Mountains. Take a walk, bike or jog along the spillway for an awesome view of the reservoir!  

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