I took a ton of pictures a couple weeks ago when I camped/hiked/swam with my two sons in the Sundown Wild Forrest area in the Catskills. I wrote a blog post about it but of course we only used a couple pics for it. Here's a bunch more in case anybody's interested. I have a others showing how the place is being trashed as well. If anybody's interested (they're kinda depressing) I'll throw them up (there's one that I'll probably never post anywhere- it was that bad).
You should give cornell-wittenberg a try. plenty of options to swim after and it is a tough hike that your kids might appreciate. Slide is easier and a loop, but Cornell has a sweet scrambling spot with a fixed rope.
Yeah, it's definitely beautiful. Unfortunately too many people are showing up there on weekends and, instead of just jumping in the water and hanging out for a while, they're using it like a big picnic ground. I described some of it on the blog. I could post just as many pics of garbage that was left behind. Some people are literally treating the area like a toilet. There are also some other folks trying to fix things and clean up though. A buddy of mine stopped by on Friday and said it looked like it had been cleaned up; there were only about 20 people around. Of course it wasn't a Saturday or Sunday and it was raining so I don't know if that indicates a trend.
We were in the area hiking over the weekend so I squeezed in a quick stop at the Blue Hole. It’s in much better shape now that there’s a permit required for weekend days (thanks to ML for alerting us to the permit requirement in a comment on the blog post from 2 years ago)
We brought a couple plastic bags to fill with garbage but this is all we got..
It’s impossible to describe how cold the water is. I think my body must forget how it feels cause it’s still a shock to the system each time you jump in. Very invigorating.