I’m a runner, and as much as I enjoy running around my neighborhood – hills, views, not that much traffic – I often find myself looking to branch out and try a new route.
I run over 20 miles per week, and I can only loop by the same goat barn so many times before I’m ready to look at something else.
So, when I heard they were building a proper path from Olana in Columbia County to the Thomas Cole Historical Site in Greene County, I was pretty excited. There are still some construction pylons and a work zone speed limit, but as far as I can tell, it’s ready for use, so I went for it.
My first run there was a few weeks ago in mid-June. I parked in the easy-to-access lot just off the traffic circle and I was off.
There are a few ways you can go on the Skywalk. On each side of Route 23, there is a paved path, separated from the road by a sturdy-looking guard rail. From the parking lot, these paths extend about half a mile.
The actual Skywalk, from the parking lot across the bridge, and up into the Thomas Cole site, is approximately 1-and-three-quarters miles each way. For my first run, since it was a Saturday and this is usually the day I have the most time to get in some distance, I was shooting for somewhere around 8-10 miles.
I had not planned on the humidity the day I went, or the fact that Catskill is hilly. Very hilly. I ended up running along the Route 23 path towards Olana, turning around and going across the bridge, and then running down Route 385 and onto Main Street in Catskill.
Then I turned around and walked up the hill that was all fun and games to run down, went back across the bridge, did another loop towards Olana, and finished at the parking lot. In total, I ended up with 7.5 miles. And a craving for Village Pizza in Catskill, which I satisfied later that week.
For my second run, I went out on a Tuesday morning. (I was on vacation). I was kind of on the fence about the Skywalk after my first experience. But I thought I would give it another try, and maybe not run all the way into Catskill again, thus avoiding my newest nemesis, the hill.
This run was nearly perfect.
The sky was almost completely free of clouds, it was 74 degrees when I parked, and there was that refreshing river breeze. I ran across the bridge and back twice, for a total of 4.5 miles. I also stopped to take a picture of the “safe selfie zone,” which is both intriguing and confusing to me.
Why do people need to be told where to take a selfie? Did someone already wander into traffic there?
I suppose these are questions to ponder at a later time.
Anyway, sites like this showcase upstate New York at its finest. Awesome views, history, nature – what more can you ask for? I will definitely be back.
I believe I found the path that leads up into Olana from the Skywalk, so that is next on the list, to do a run that completely connects Olana to Thomas Cole, and thus doing what the people who dreamed up the Skywalk no doubt had in mind.