The Ashokan Reservoir is one of the many reservoirs that were built to guarantee New York City clean drinking water. A paved path known as the Ashokan Promenade stretches 2.8 miles along its southern shore, providing breathtaking views of the Catskill Mountains and wildlife viewing opportunities. The path is open to walking and cycling. Visitors are encouraged to park at "The Frying Pan" on the eastern terminus to ease traffic concerns on the west end.
The trail is flat, ADA-accessible, and has one road crossing at the southern end of the bridge connecting Route 28 with Route 28A. The western end is more secluded. It's common to see bald eagles nesting on a point about three-quarters of the way to the western terminus. Deer can often be seen grazing the grassy slope.
The Ashokan Reservoir was placed into service as a supplier for New York City's drinking water in 1915, after the Esopus Creek was dammed. The two basins hold over 122 billion gallons of water at maximum capacity. Because it is one of the sources of the sity's drinking water, absolutely no swimming or off-trail activity is allowed. Not everyone was thrilled by the development. Over 2,000 people were displaced when the reservoir was inundated, and some artifacts can still be found when the reservoir dips below its usual capacity.