A hidden gem within the Catskills region, Peekamoose Blue Hole is known for being a stunning oasis of crystal clear water surrounded by lush greenery.
Located in the middle of the Sundown Wild Forest, Peekamoose is a depression in Rondout Creek, a unique formation created by sand and gravel swirling together in an ancient whirlpool. The creek is part of the New York City drinking water watershed. Unfortunately in recent years, this watering hole has been affected negatively by the presence of large crowds on summer weekends.
Beautiful during all four seasons, the water at Peekamoose actually changes color depending on the temperature. In the winter you'll find the water to be a turquoise hue. In the warmer months, the water here changes to more of an emerald green. The water reaches a depth of up to 20 feet and cliff jumping is very popular here. But before you decide to take a swim be aware that the water is almost always very cold even in the peak summer heat. Wearing water shoes is also highly recommended because of rocks and slippery conditions.
Due in part to social media, Peekamoose has seen an enormous uptick in visitation over recent years. As more and more people visit the park and post about it, Peekamoose is no longer the tranquil hidden gem it once was. Trash and plastic debris began to overflow from garbage cans, cars were double-parked illegally on the street, and crowds of people overwhelmed the small area. This posed a huge threat to public safety and the natural ecosystem of the park.
Because of this, the state of New York has made it a requirement to obtain a $10 permit to visit the swimming hole. Permits must be requested at least 24 hours but no farther than 7 days in advance and are limited to groups as large as 6. Alcohol, audio devices, and coolers larger than 12 inches are strictly prohibited. It's been noted that park rangers issue fines of up to $250 for violations.
If you are planning a trip to Peekamoose, the best time to go is in the off-season from September to April. This helps reduce crowding and lessens the strain on natural resources. This also gives you a chance to see the breathtaking turquoise blue waters and incredible Fall foliage of the surrounding forest.