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Upper Platte Clove

plattekill falls in platte clove

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 1 mile from Rt 16 (platte clove road).
Time: Average 1.0 hours round trip
Elevation Loss: 114 feet from parking lot to lowest point in hike.
Best Time to Hike: Anytime.
Difficulty: Easy but dangerous.
VO Map No: N/A
Catskill Highest: N/A
Peak Elevation: 1,844' (parking lot)
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Several very beautiful water falls.
Attractions: Easy short hike.
Dangers: Streams have algae and can be very slippery
Dangers: Falling off trail or a cliff.
Dangers: Falling off a waterfall or ledge.
Common Animals: snakes, but rarely seen.
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes and Copperheads (none known)
Access Methods: Foot.
WARNING: This hike can only be done in the summer. It should only be accessed at low water. Trying to access the region at elevated water levels can easily cause you to be sweep over the Falls and you will be killed! I cannot emphasize how important the water level is. Do NOT attempt to do this hike after a rain storm or in the Spring or in the Winter. Be very careful with stream bed. They are often lined with algae, which is very slippery. Do not approach the edge of cliffs or waterfalls. Many people have been killed after falling and sliding off the edge. Especially in areas where there are pine needles. Dangerous conditions exist in many locations. The number of deaths over the years is staggering. Be overly cautious when in this region, and do not take un-necessary risk.



Maps and GPS files

upper platte clove water falls old mill falls plattekill falls bridal veil falls map
Click here to download the GPS file in GDB format




Directions to Trail Head from New York State Thruway (Easist, not the shortest):

  • GPS Coordinates to Parking on Platte Clove Road: GPS N42 07.996 W74 05.159 - Elevation 1,844'
  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 21 (Catskill).
  • Take a left out of the NYS Thruway entrance road.
  • Go approximately 1/4 mile
  • Take a right onto Route 23 West
  • Go approximately 6.6 miles to Cairo, NY
  • Take a LEFT onto Rt 32. McDonalds Rest. on corner.
  • Go approximately 7.7 miles on Rt 32
  • Take a RIGHT onto Rt 23A
  • Go roughly 10 miles on Rt 23A .
  • When you come into Tannersville, take LEFT at the red light onto RailRoad Ave (Rt 16), which will turn into Spruce Street, which will turn into Platt Clove Road. Follow this road approximately 7-8 miles
  • The parking lot is on the RIGHT side of the road. You will actually be parking on the side of the road
  • It is approximately 1/4 mile past Josh Road (on right side of the road). GPS N42 07.996 W74 05.159 - Elevation 1,844'
  • If you start to go down the hill to the valley, then you have gone too far. The downhill section of the road is closed in the winter.



  • Notes about this Hike

    This hike is probably the shortest hike we list. While the hike is fairly easy, it does have some significant dangers. Venture off in the wrong direction, and you can get yourself into life-threatening danger within seconds. One of the quarks about Devil's Kitchen is that some of the dangers are very evident. While others dangers are very hard to see. It is not hard to get killed in this region. Use care when hiking here. Don't go wondering off. Never ever take this hike at high water levels. Only do this hike when the water is low, and there is NO ice or snow.

    The upper part of Platte Clove has three water falls. Two of the Falls are the two highest in the clove. the clove has 14 waterfalls that are 20 feet or higher, and 18 water falls all together. This hike will cover three of those falls. The series of waterfalls starts at Overlook Bridge. The first water fall can easily be seen from Overlook Bridge. This first water fall is called Old Mill Falls. It is 15-16 feet high. About 100' below Old Mill Falls is the top of Plattekill Falls. Plattekill Falls are around 65-70' high. To get to the bottom of Plattekill Falls you need to hike a substantial amount of distance. Trying to take a short-cut can be very dangerous. About 500' below Plattekill Falls is Bridal Veil Falls. Bridal Veil Falls is approximately 90' high. Getting to the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls is very dangerous and NOT recommended. The bottom of Bridal Veil Falls is the beginning of Hell's Hole. The Falls below Bridal Veil Falls are the two Rainbow Falls. This section is the middle section and is also very difficult.

    If you look around the top of Bridal Veil Falls, you can also see some first growth trees.



    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.001,844 DEC Parking Lot. GPS: N42 07.996 W74 05.159
    0.051,805 Bottom of Old Mill Falls. GPS: N42 07.978 W74 05.157
    0.071,803' Top of Plattekill Falls
    0.391,741' Bottom of Plattekill Falls. GPS: N42 07.944 W74 05.124
    0.501,741 Top of Bridal Veil Falls. GPS: N42 07.885 W74 05.034
    0.601,730 Top of South Access Route into Hell's Hole. GPS: N42 07.840 W74 05.012
    0.991,844 Return to Parking Lot

    Hike to Upper Waterfalls in Platte Clove

    parking on platte clove road to water falls
    The picture on the LEFT is the parking on the side of Platte Clove Road. If the spaces are full, you can park at the DEC parking lot further down the road (less then 1/4 mile). This parking lot can probably hold 6 cars. The spaces are filled up most of the year.

    When you come to the bridge, take a LEFT and follow the trail NEXT to the creek. The image on the RIGHT shows the walking bridge over the Plattekill Creek. Just below the bridge is Old Mill Falls, which are two ledges that drop a total of 15-16 feet. About 2/10 of a mile below Old Mill Falls is Plattekill Falls, which is 70 feet high. There are 14 falls over 20 feet high down the Clove. Very dangerous place to hike. This bridge is called Overlook Bridge. The construction of the bridge is called "King Post" bridge construction. This was the beginning of Overlook Road. The old bridge (1880-1920) was larger then the existing bridge. The old bridge was used for wagons traffic from Woodstock to Platte Clove. Some of the wagons hauled blue stones from many of the quarries higher up on the mountain. The existing walking bridge in the picture was created to look like the old Overlook Bridge from 100 years agao.
    overlook bridge over plattekill creek
    catskill center boundry sign
    The land by Platte Clove Road is not New York State Land. It is called the Platte Clove Wilderness Preserve. The 208 acres is owned by the The Catskill Center for Conservation and Devlopment, Inc. The land was granted to the foundation by the Griswold Family. The land has rules that are different then New York State land. Their rules are fairly simple for hikers. You cannot ride your mountain bike, camp, or swim on this land.
    catskill center rules sign
    old king post bridge on overlook road over plattekill creek
    The picture on the LEFT show a picture of the Overlook Bridge from the top of Old Mill Falls. The Old Mill Falls is the first of 18 water falls that drop through the Plattekill Clove at an alarming rate. It is one of the most rugged cloves in America. It is also one of the most dangerous..
    old mill falls on plattekill creek
    This is a picture of the bottom of the Old Mill Falls. Based upon our measurements, the Old Mill Falls is approximately 15-16 feet high. It is a two-step Falls.
    old stone foundation to old mill above plattekill falls
    Just below the Old Mill Falls, you will see stone walls on both sides of Plattekill Creek. This is the foundation of the Old Mill. It is just above Plattekill Falls. Do NOT walk in the creek here. You can easily be sweep over the top of Plattekill Falls. It is unlikely you would survive if you were sweep over the top of Plattekill Falls. You should be on the RIGHT side of the creek. There is a small path that will take you to a view point above the top of the Falls.
    top of plattekill falls
    This is a picture just looking down on the top of Plattekill Falls. Do NOT try to get to the top ledge of Plattekill Falls. It is too dangerous, and the view are not that great. The view from the bottom of Plattekill Falls is spectacular, and that is where we are headed next.

    The stones under the tree on the right side of the screen are part of the old foundation to the Old Mill.
    top of plattekill falls
    You can get to a view point ABOVE the top ledge of Plattekill Falls. As the creek starts to cascade down to the top of Plattekill Falls, stay to the RIGHT. Again, be very careful that you do not slip off the ledge. Do NOT try to get to the top ledge of Plattekill Falls. It is too dangerous, and the view are not that great. The view from the bottom of Plattekill Falls is spectacular, and that is where we are headed next.

    After you are done here, go back to your car. Then walk down the road about 100' to the Little Red House.
    entrance to plattekill falls by red house
    Walk around the chained up entrance to the driveway. Stay on the path to the LEFT, which will pass the house.

    The Red house is owned by The Catskill Center. They allow Artist to stay here. Please do not bother them.

    There is a Safety Sign just beyond the house. Stop and read it. There are some very serious dangers in this region. I cannot over-emphasize the dangers, and the number of people who have been killed in this region. Please take the sign very seriously. It is very easy to get killed here.
    safety zone sign to plattekill falls
    trail down to plattekill falls
    This is a picture of the trail a little ways down. The trail does a 180 loop back to Plattekill Falls. Please stay on the trail. The edge of the cliff is very dangerous. When approaching Plattekill Falls the trail bank will get steep. Pay attention to your foot steps. If you tumble down the hill you could be injuried or killed.

    Plattekill Falls is approximately 65-70' high. It is very peaceful here.
    plattekill falls
    trail down to plattekill falls
    After you get done, start walking down the stream bed. After about 100-200' you will see a trail on the right side of the stream. Get up onto the trail. Follow the trail very carefully. There is a lot of moss and slippery leaves. Do NOT ever take this trail when the water level is higher. If you fall off the trail, you will be sweep off Bridal Veil Falls to your death!

    When you arrive at the top of Bridal Veil Falls, you will see a dead broken off conifer tree. This is the safest place to visit the top of Bridal Veil Falls. This is actually about 20' above the top of the falls. Do NOT attempt to climb down to the ledge at the top of the falls without ropes and a harness. It is extremely dangerous.
    plattekill falls
    top of bridal veil falls into devil's kitchen
    This is some fungus growing on the side of the conifer tree. If you walk further down the trail, you will see some first growth conifer trees. Some are 3' in diameter. There are very few first grown trees left in the Catskills.

    You will see that the trail continued further past Bridal Veil Falls. This is the trail to the South Access to Hell's Hole. The South Access is about 1,000' past the top of Bridal Veil Falls. The South Access Route has been used for hundreds of years by the Mohawk Indians. It is very steep and slippery and dangerous. We recommend that if you decide to go down the South Access, you should use a rope and harness. If you slip and fall, you will tumble off the 100' ledge below to your death.
    bridal veil falls into devil's kitchen
    This is a picture of the top of Bridal Veil Falls just before the conifer tree. Do NOT try climb down to the top ledge of Bridal Veil Falls. It is too dangerous to do without proper climbing gear.
    bridal veil falls in Hell's Hole
    This is a picture of Bridal Veil Falls from across Hell's Hole. Bridal Veil Falls are 90' high, and they are the highest waterfalls in the region.
    Links and References:
    CatskillMountain.com Forum - Ask questions or tell us about your experience with this hike

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