Nestled in the secluded wilderness of the Catskill Forest Preserve, Peekamoose Blue Hole is a once secret, now famous swimming hole. It’s refreshing crystalline water draws thousands of visitors a week, and it’s no surprise why.
While it may be a exciting place to visit, there are certain things you need to know before going. I’ve put together a brief list of the most important information, and hopefully it’ll help you plan and make the most of your trip.
1. General Information
The Blue Hole is an internet famous, free to visit swimming hole, known for its beautiful, freezing cold water. It’s smack in the middle of Sundown Wild Forest and is the ideal summer getaway for over 1,800 people a week. And while summer is the most popular time of year to visit, it’s home to scenic views all year round.
Over the past few years, Peekamoose Blue Hole has suffered from this high visitor count. At its worst, it was disfigured by mountains of trash, but thanks to some new rules, things are starting to look up.
The east coast of the U.S. is well known for its hot and muggy summers, so it’s no wonder why Peekamoose Blue Hole pulls in so many visitors. Swimming in its clear, cold water is a great way to get a little reprieve from the ugly summer weather.
The Blue Hole is a naturally formed section of Rondout Creek that was carved out by an ancient whirlpool. There’s plenty of space to swim in the area, and if you consider yourself somewhat brave, there are a few ledges to jump from and a rope swing in the deepest portion of the swimming hole.
That being said, the Blue Hole has no on-duty lifeguard, so always be careful, and watch your kiddos if you have any.
Due to the overwhelming environmental abuse Peekamoose Blue Hole was facing, the NYSDEC now makes permits mandatory on weekends and holidays between May 15th and October 15th of each year. They created (and are enforcing) this rule to curb littering, and so far, it seems to be working.
Permits are free and reservable online. If you show up without one, you won’t be allowed entry, as walk-ins are prohibited. You must reserve your permit at least 24 hours in advance, but no more than a week in advance. Each permit allows entry for up to 6 people, so you don’t need to make separate reservations for each person in your group.
You can get your permit at Reserve America.
4. What to Bring
Since you don’t have to hike into Peekamoose Blue Hole, you don’t have to bring a whole lotta supplies with you. I’ve put together a brief list of basic items you might want to bring with you.
These items include:
- Water/Drinks (NO glass containers)
- Bug Spray
- Change of clothes
5. What to Wear
Peekamoose Blue Hole is not a clothing optional swim spot, so wear a bathing suit. You won’t need hiking gear, so feel free to wear standard clothes suited for whatever season you’re visiting in. One thing I’d recommend you wear are water shoes, because of the rocky creek bed and the possibility of stepping on broken glass.
6. When to Go
The Blue Hole is a popular getaway, so it’s best to go on weekdays to avoid the crowds, rather than on weekends. By noon, the area is packed with visitors, so it’s better to go very early or late.
As mentioned previously, the Blue Hole was once subjected to daunting environmental abuse. At one point, littering was so bad that the area was in danger of being shut down. Things are looking much better thanks to the CCCD and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, but we’ve still got a long way to go before this beautiful area is restored to its former pristine condition.
If you visit, please don’t litter.
Don’t turn this newly restored natural gem back into the dirty, trash covered area it was two years ago. Instead of being a part of the problem, be part of the solution. Take a trash bag with you, pick up some litter, and have a great day knowing you made a difference. And if you don’t wanna pick up someone else’s trash, that’s okay – just don’t make someone pick up yours.
Portable toilets and a dumpster are provided between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You know what that means?
Don’t relieve yourself in the creek. Peekamoose Blue Hole is a crowded and heavily visited spot, and I can assure you, no one wants to swim in your bodily waste.
Peekamoose Blue Hole has a short list of rules in place to protect the area and minimize our human footprint.
Here’s the list: (you can also find it here)
- Except for the nearby designated camping area, the Blue Hole is only open to the public from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
- Visitors are required to use portable restroom facilities for human waste disposal and the dumpster for all other waste.
- Camping is prohibited
- All fires are prohibited (including charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves or other portable stoves)
- Use of portable generators are prohibited
- Glass containers prohibited
- Radios and other audio devices are prohibited
- Parking is limited to designated parking areas only. Parking along the shoulder of the road is prohibited by the Town and is a Tow-Away Zone.
Parking can be a nightmare at the Blue Hole.
Designated parking is very limited and parking along the shoulder of the road is strictly prohibited. Forest Rangers do a great job of enforcing this too, so if you park along the roadway, expect a ticket or a towed vehicle. Your best bet at finding a parking spot is to get there early, and to look at the parking map before your visit. You can find it here.
You’re allowed to bring your pet, but only with proof of a valid rabies vaccination in the form of a tag or certificate issued by a veterinarian. For the safety of your pet and other visitors, your animal must never be left unattended.
12. Handicap Accessibility
The short walk to Peekamoose Blue Hole is not handicap accessible, so take this into account if you or anyone you are visiting with has impaired mobility.
You’re free to take as many photos as you’d like, as long as you respect others’ privacy. Don’t include others who don’t want to be photographed and use common sense.
Peekamoose Blue Hole is a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind swimming hole, that you won’t regret visiting.
Hopefully this list answered some of your questions and helped you prepare for your visit to the Blue Hole. Now that you know what you’re getting yourself into, I have no doubt you’ll have an exciting, memorable trip.
Hi, I'm Ash!
I’m a travel blogger who loves experiencing new things and deeply connecting with people. My missions are to help others around the world realize their travel dreams, and to spread the word about sustainable travel. Feel free to send me a message here.