Whether you’re driving to see nature’s blazing fireworks in the fall or the bright, fresh hues of spring, there’s nothing like a lovely scenic drive in the Catskills. Pass by charming towns, sprawling farms, and look out over the expansive vistas of Upstate New York on your drive near the Inn.
One of the most popular drives any season is the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (New York State Route 97). This 70-mile route connects the village of Hancock in the northern gateway to the city of Port Jervis in the southern gateway as you follow the Delaware River.
The byway is broken up into sections and those closest to us include the lower section, middle section, and upper section. The lower section passes the town of Deerpark and the Mongaup Valley State Wildlife Management Area.
The middle section contains the towns of Narrowsburg, Tusten, and Highland. The Delaware River reaches its deepest point at 113 feet at Narrowsburg; in January the town is affectionately known as the Eagle Capital of New York State and hosts the annual Eagle Fest as bald eagles soar overhead. Highland brings a bit of history with it, as the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Minisink on July 22, 1779.
The upper section houses Callicoon, which was a prime lumber location and brought the Erie Railroad in the 1840s. In fact, the upper section also runs through Cochecton which is the site of the 1890s Erie Railroad Depot, now a museum, which was relocated and restored board-by-board in the ‘90s.
Pull off into the hamlets or towns and enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, river activities, and more as you drive the byway. There are plenty of shops, museums, and restaurants to explore as well along this scenic drive. The scenery along the route is stunning but please do keep in mind that sections of the road are shared with cyclists so keep an eye out for them.
Another popular route is the Quickway (Route 17). The drive is especially popular in the fall with unbelievable colors as you make your way into Sullivan County. You’ll pass forests of colorful trees, sparkling rivers, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the Monticello Casino & Raceway.
There’s also the 108-mile highway, Route 52, which offers wonderful views of the clusters of towns, farmland landscapes, and plenty of water by crossing streams and driving next to Lake Huntington, Kenoza Lake, and Loch Sheldrake. Heading west toward Ulster County, near Ellenville, you’ll encounter excellent views with plenty of forest and national preserves to light up the route with color.
Some of these more local routes do make connections with the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway. At 88 miles, this byway circles the Shawangunk Mountains and has amazing vistas and historical sites. Though, perhaps it’s best to save exploring the Shawangunk Wine Trail after taking in the sights along the byway.
For other scenic drives a bit closer to our inn, please don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations on local routes or roads. You really can’t make a wrong turn to find a stunning drive near the Inn at Lake Joseph.
Making the drive in your electric car? Charge up your vehicle before setting out at our electric charging station!