Catskill Mountains, dissected plateau of the Appalachian Mt. system, SE N.Y., W of the Hudson River. This glaciated region, wooded and rolling, with deep gorges and many waterfalls, is drained by the headstreams of the Delaware River and by Esopus, Schoharie, Rondout, and Catskill creeks. Most of the summits are c.3,000 ft (910 m) above sea level; Slide Mt. (4,180 ft/1,274 m) is the highest. Bluestone, a form of sandstone, is quarried in the Catskills. Close to New York City, the area is popular with summer and winter vacationers; the famed "Borscht Belt," a string of Jewish family resorts, is now in decline, but outdoor centers are multiplying. The area is also notable for its concentration of Buddhist centers. Ashokan Reservoir is a source of the New York metropolitan area's water supply. Catskill Park embraces much of the Catskills, including the region of the Rip Van Winkle legend.
See A. Evers, The Catskills (1984).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.