Chasing Waterfalls of the Hudson Valley – Part 2
by Donna McCabe
When you last heard from me, I was standing on the viewing platform overlooking the upper portion of Kaaterskill Falls and just reached #50 in the #NYSWaterfallchallenge. My husband & I were in the Catskills for the weekend and had a plan to visit seven waterfalls. On Saturday, we were able to visit five of them and reach my fiftieth waterfall. Sunday’s plans include two more locations but the weather forecast is not looking too good. We decide to see how the skies look on Sunday morning and then make the decision to either go to the last locations or head home.
When we get up for the day, we can tell that it had rained but wasn’t currently raining so off we go! Our first stop of Plattekill Falls is a 15-minute drive away. This waterfall is located on the grounds of the Catskill Center’s Platte Clove Preserve. We had no problem finding Platte Clove Road but it needs to be noted that the trail head is located on a portion that has seasonally limited use. You’ll be climbing in elevation and this road is somewhat narrow. On more than one occasion I was grabbing the door handle while looking down the side of the mountain without the security of a guardrail.
As you are driving, keep an eye out for a small red house that is near the trail head; you’ll probably see cars parked in the designated area as well. While we were getting our boots on, another vehicle was parking and the gentleman came over to chat with us. As it turns out, this man, Peter, is a docent with the Catskill Center and he typically spends his time here talking with hikers to share his knowledge of the area and encouraging safety on the trails. He was a great source of information and we were lucky enough to have him accompany us on the trail. On the way down, we stopped at one of the overlooks that was made known in a painting by Asher B. Durand. Unfortunately, the valley was obscured with fog and we were unable to take in the view ourselves.
We continued down the trail with a few reminders from Peter of the dangers of this particular area. The terrain is very steep and a slip would be more than a little dangerous. For your own safety, stay on the trail.
This isn’t the tallest or widest waterfall you’ll ever see, but with the surrounding walls covered in lush green foliage and some exposed gray rock, Plattekill Falls is nothing short of spectacular. We spent quite a bit of time just enjoying the sounds and also chatting with another visitor. That time allowed the fog we had seen earlier make its way up the valley and, before we knew it, completely engulf the falls. Such an amazing site and one not many are fortunate enough to see. We made our way back up the trail and noticed in spots that the fog was filing the area in so our timing was perfect.
Our final stop of the weekend was to see Artist Falls located on the grounds of Winter Clove Inn in Round Top. Built in the early 1800’s, this inn is a reminder of a grand era for the Catskill region. Step into the lobby to let them know you’d like to visit the falls and look around to take in the beauty of the inn.
There is a small parking area they’ll direct you to where you’ll also see signs pointing the way to the falls. One trail will take you up to the covered bridge and the other will take you down to the creek bed. We choose to head towards the bridge first and then made our way back along the trail to get down to the creek. The views from the creek bed were magical with just a hint of fog and some very light misty rain. I had seen pictures of this spot before and it was even better than I imagined.
For most of the day, we’d been lucky to avoid any of the foretasted rain but that time was coming to an end as it started to rain. I could have stayed at this spot longer absorbing the view but both of us were getting pretty wet at this point so it was time to head out.
Our Hudson Valley Road Trip was officially over and it was time to head home. We had a great two days traveling through the eastern part of New York seeing some small towns, traveling some remote roads and visiting beautiful waterfalls. We’re fortunate to live in a state that offers opportunities to see such diverse areas within reasonable driving distances. Plan your road trip to get out and see them!