A Brief History of the Rip Van Winkle Hikers

The Rip Van Winkle Hikers Club was organized in February 1991 "to promote and foster interest in the sport of hiking. The Club will promote camaraderie, physical fitness, and an appreciation of the wilderness, nature, and local history" (quoting from the Constitution of the Club).

The Club has organized hikes throughout the Catskills, Hudson Valley, and Berkshires/Taconics region. Hikes range from the more challenging to the purely scenic or historical. The Club has sponsored hikes up all thirty five of the Catskill's 3,500'+ peaks. Many Club members have now earned membership in the Catskill 3,500 Club.

Hike Ability levels

The Club has three hiking ability groups: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced. NOVICE hikes are usually from three to five miles, and the vertical rise is kept to a minimum. ADVANCED hikes are a minimum of five hours (often longer), will range from five to ten miles or more, depending on the terrain, will generally involve a total vertical ascent of 1500 feet or more, and the climbing of peaks over 3,500 feet. INTERMEDIATE hikes are usually four hours or more, can range from four to ten miles depending on the terrain, and can vary from less challenging scenic walks to more advanced climbs of 1500 feet or more. The intermediate group acts as a bridge between the easier novice hikes and the more challenging advanced hikes. It is best to consult the Hike Schedule for further details on distance, duration, and vertical ascent.

Our hikes are scheduled year around on a schedule that is flexible as to location depending on prevailing weather conditions. In winter, snowshoes and/or cross country skis are sometimes necessary, as are ice crampons when conditions warrant. All members are invited to make their hiking desires known when the hike schedules are developed at the bi-monthly hike planning meetings.

Hiking Groups

There are three hiking groups for scheduling purposes: NOVICE has one Wednesday and one Saturday hike per month. INTERMEDIATE hikes every other Monday and some Saturdays (see current schedule). ADVANCED hikes every other Monday. The above dates may have to be altered at times due to holidays, hunting season, etc. Rain dates are the following Monday for Monday hikes, the following Saturday for Saturday hikes. See Club News for any changes in the schedule. Each of the hiking groups is headed by a Hike Group Coordinator, who is responsible for seeing that hikes are scheduled, and that they have proper leadership when carried out.

Bi-Monthly Business Meetings

The Club has bi-monthly HIKE PLANNING/BUSINESS MEETINGS, held the fourth Monday of January (Annual Meeting), March, May, July, September, and November. Meetings are held at the Atonement Lutheran Church, 100 Market Street, Saugerties, NY, at 7 PM.

The Annual Fall Trip

The Club sponsors an annual Weekend in the Adirondacks or Northern New England, usually during the peak foliage period of late September/October. This years trip is scheduled for Oct 14-16. See Club News for further details.


All members of the public may join in on hikes as a guest. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Rip Van Winkle Hikers, see Becoming a Member. Further information is provided about applying for membership.

Last updated: 07/27/05 Copyright 1996-2005, Rip Van Winkle Hikers