Vernooy Kill Falls
Upper Cherrytown Road, Ulster County, NY


from US 209 in Kerhonkson; turn north onto Ulster County 3/Samsonville Road at a state education sign concerning a colonial fort on the right and the Amish Gift Shop (Ducth Corner) on left; go for 3.5 miles; at the sign for Veritas Villa bear left onto Lower Cherrytown Road across a stream; go for 1.4 miles; at the intersection with Cherrytown Road and Upper Cherrytown Road, bear right onto Upper Cherrytown; and go 3.1 miles to a  parking area on the right.


The Vernoy Kill is the southern-most stream, a tributary of Rondout Creek, in the Town of Rochester. It drains south through Wawarsing from the northwest corner of the town into Rondout Creek.


The Vernooy Mill was built here, set on a major crossroads where farmers brought their grain to be milled.  Today the only mill remainder is a tall stonewall remnant.

The State has agreed to acquire one of the largest remaining privately held parcels of land in the Catskill Mountains, nearly 5,000 acres of the Lundy Estate in the towns of Rochester and Wawarsing, Ulster County. This magnificent new addition to public land in the Catskills will permanently protect more than six miles of the Vernoy Kill, a quality cold water trout stream, and provide miles of new hiking trails for the enjoyment of visitors to this exceptional forest river valley. The State was assisted in the purchase by the Open Space Institute and the Trust for Public Land, two non-profit land conservation organizations that work together as a joint venture in New York State. The groups have acquired the entire parcel and will sell 4,930 acres to the State for approximately $4 million in Bond Act and EPF resources.

2003 (Feb.) --  the newly created Vernooy Kill State Forest and the Sundown Wild Forest will be managed as the Sundown Wild Forest-Vernooy Kill State Forest Unit. This unit is located in the southeastern corner of the Catskill Park and encompasses approximately 28,000 acres of Forest Preserve and 3,700 acres of reforestation lands located in the Towns of Wawarsing, Rochester, Denning and Olive in Ulster County, and the Town of Neversink in Sullivan County.

The new management plan includes the 5,400-acre former Lundy Estate which the state recently acquired, most of which lies outside the Catskill Park.

The boundaries of the lands of the Sundown Wild Forest - Vernooy Kill State Forest Unit are bounded on the south by State Route 209, to the west by Sullivan County Route 19(Claryville), to the north by the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area and to the east by the Catskill Park boundary.  It is one of the largest acquisitions of open space in the Catskills since the creation of the Catskill Forest Preserve in the 1880's. (

Fire Safety

Received an e-mail on 5/2/01 from Victor Albright of Palentown:

If you are going to give hiking directions to this area (or, as a matter of fact, ANY hiking trail), PLEASE post some fire safety tips on your website! There is a huge forest fire that originated in the Vernooy Kill falls area last weekend that is threatening to destroy many of our homes. You know how rugged the terrain is here... imagine fighting a forest fire with temps in the 90's, packing in... packing out.... and NOT BEING ABLE TO STOP IT!!!!!!!

PLEASE help educate others in fire safety. This is the second time in two years that Cherrytown Mountain has caught fire ... and by far the worst.


This is a 4 mile round-trip hike to visit a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole.  Blue hiking discs mark the way. The hike follows an old road as it gradually ascends Cherrytown Mountain to a series of waterfalls that drop approximately 30 feet in four stages.

10/02/04.  On an overcast day, my wife Rosemary and son Carl, along with Sarah-David Rosenbaum and I walked the blue-disc trail.  The trail is easy to follow for it is mostly a straight walk about 2.0 miles one way to the falls.  Near the start of the trail is a wood bridge over a small stream.  Later we come to a larger stream and small ravine on the right.  We spotted the red and the orange discs for the snowmobiles.  There is a lot of  walking uphill and here the trails are rocky indeed, but it is never a difficult trail. When we were there, there was a lot of water slowly flowing downhill.

Before getting to the falls, we could hear them.  We finally came to an open area, crossed a small stream, went by a dry field and arrived at the falls.   The falls are very pretty.  They fall over flat platforms, four up stream from the wooden bridge over the stream, and a number under and down stream.  When we were there, the stream was running fast and it was very noisy.  We ate lunch on the rocks by the bridge looking at the falls.  Sarah-David commented later that she found it very relaxing at the falls, not only because of the beauty and the soothing noise, but, the scientists say, also because of the release of negative ions by flowing water.  We investigated the area for plant species and then decided to return to the parking area.  Just then the sky opened up and it started pouring.  We had to walk the entire two miles back in the pouring rain.  Needless to say, we got a little wet.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Abies balsamea (balsam fir)
Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Amelanchier laevis (smooth shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula papyrifera (paper birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood) small tree
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop-hornbeam)
Picea rubens (red spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Corylus americana (hazel)
Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry)
Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry, teaberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex montana (mountain winterberry)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower)
Ribes sp. (currant)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus alleghaniensis (common blackberry)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Rubus idaeus (red raspberry)
Vaccinium angustifolium (low bush blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (tall blueberry)
Vaccinium myrtilloides (sour-top blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides (wild raisin viburnum)

Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
Actaea alba (white baneberry)
Aethusa cynapium (fool's parsley) 10/02/04
Agrimonia gryposepala (common agrimony)
Agrimonia striata (roadside agrimony)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Anemone sp. (anemone)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Aster acuminatus (sharp-leaved aster) 10/02/04
Aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) 10/02/04
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 10/02/04
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Bidens sp. (3 leaflet beggar ticks)
Cardamine sp. (pratensis var. pratensis)? (cuckoo flower)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed)
Chelone glabra (white turtlehead)
Chimaphila maculata (striped wintergreen)
Chrysosplenium americanum (golden saxifrage)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 10/02/04
Clintonia borealis (bead lily)
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)
Coptis trifolia (goldthread)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron strigosus (lesser daisy fleabane)
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Fragaria vesca (wood strawberry)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
Galium lanceolatum (lance-leaved wild licorice)
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Hepatica americana (round-lobed hepatica)
Heuchera americana (alumroot)
Hieracium paniculatum (panicled hawkweed)
Hydrocotyle umbellata (American pennywort)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)
Hypericum sp. (St. Johnswort) ?
Lactuca biennis (wild lettuce)
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)
Lycopus uniflorus (water-horehound)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber root)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)
Oxalis montana (yellow wood sorrel)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum biflorum (smooth true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum hydropiper (water pepper)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 10/02/04
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Potentilla inclanata (ashy cinquefoil) a European species rarely introduced, more hairy than P. argentea
Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce) 10/02/04
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) 10/02/04
Scutellaria lateriflora (mad-dog skullcap)
Sisyrinchium montanum (blue-eyed grass)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod) 10/02/04 waning
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod) 10/02/04
Solidago flexicaulis (ziz-zag goldenrod)
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod)
Spiraea alba var. latifolia (meadowsweet)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)
Tiarella cordifolia (foamflower)
Trientalis borealis (starflower)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 10/02/04
Trillium erectum (purple trillium)
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Uvularia sessilifolia (sessile-leaved bellwort)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell) 10/02/04
Viola pubescens (yellow forest violet)
Viola rotundifolia (round-leaved violet)
Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders)

Juncus brevicaudatus (narrow-panicled rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex baileyi (Bailey's sedge)
Carex crinita (fringed sedge)
Carex debilis (white-edged sedge)
Carex folliculata (long sedge)
Carex gracillima (graceful sedge)
Carex scoparia (pointed broom sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Agrostis canina (velvet bent grass)
Glyceria borealis (northern mannagrass)
Glyceria striata (fowl mannagrass)
Leersia virginica (white grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)

Ferns and fern allies:
Lycopodium clavatum (running pine)
Lycopodium digitatum (southern ground cedar)
Lycopodium hickeyi (Hickey's lycopodium)
Lycopodium lucidulum (shining clubmoss)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Polypodium virginianum (rockcap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)
Thelypteris phegopteris (northern beech fern)

(some species from Catskill Flora Project,