Monday, October 8, 2012

Catskill Forest Preserve, NY: Platte Clove - Codfish Point - Echo Lake - Overlook Mountain

Platte Clove Preserve - The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development
Overlook Mountain Wild Forest - NY Department of Environmental Conservation
Overlook Mountain Fire Tower - Catskill Center

GPS Coordinates 42.133827, -74.081967

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Platte Clove Road from West Saugherties is seasonal.  When closed you would need to approach Platte Clove Road from the other direction through Tannersville.  This site gives the alternate directions.
The seasonal part of Platte Clove Road is often referred to as "steep, scary, no guardrails, narrow, not for those afraid of heights."  I am very afraid of heights but I gave it a try and found that it was not scary at all.  In fact, I took pictures while driving up.  There are guardrails in places, you do have to scoot over as far as you can for oncoming cars, but it is doable and I drove down heading home, too, with no problems. This picture was taken in the horseshoe bend of the clove - very scenic, not at all scary.  (The horseshoe bend is sometimes referred to as a hairpin turn, which it is not.)
Shortly after this bridge turn right (or turn left coming from Tannersville before the bridge) on a short gravel drive that leads to the parking lot.

Northern Catskills Trail Map #141 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference

Overlook Mountain -

Platte Clove to Codfish Point:  4.5 miles total out-and-back
Platte Clove - Codfish Point - Echo Lake:  8.8 miles total out-and-back
Platte Clove - Codfish Point - Echo Lake - Overlook Mountain: 13 miles total out-and-back

There are a few things to do before starting on the hike.  First, walk from the lot out the drive to Platte Clove Road and turn left to the bridge.
Cross Platte Clove Road on the bridge and look down into the wild and scenic gorge.
Back on the other side of the bridge some small waterfalls.  Walk across the bridge and look for a footpath on the left...
... which leads a short distance in to pretty falls not clearly visible from the bridge.
Head back towards the parking lot on Platte Clove Road but keep going another 250 yards following the aqua blazes of the Long Path.  Leave the Long Path and turn left just past this red cottage on the left.  This the Platte Clove Artists-in-Residence cottage in the Platte Clove Preserve.
Keep to the left of the cottage and split rail fence.
This trail is blazed with blue diamonds and leads to Plattekill Falls.
Signs along the way provide interesting information about the area and trees.
The trail follows a ledge in the side of the gorge.
Plattekill Falls - 70'
Retrace back to the cottage, turn left on Platte Clove Road briefly, then left on the Long Path.
Sign the trail register...
Then cross the bridge over Plattekill Creek.
Plattekill Creek
The Long Path, also blazed with green diamonds of the Platte Clove Preserve, follows historic Overlook Road.  As the trail leaves Platte Clove Preserve, Long Path and preserve markers are replaced by round blue DEC markers.
An old quarry off to the left with some stone furniture.
The trails runs directly in front of the Devil's Kitchen Lean-To.
A bridge just after Devil's Kitchen Lean-To.
A short yellow-blazed side trail leads to an old quarry on the right ...
... and views at Codfish Point on the left.  Unfortunately, a cloud was hanging over the views in the morning but in the afternoon on the way back...
Hudson Valley views from Codfish Point!
Farther along the blue trail, a yellow trail to the right leads downhill to...
Echo Lake
About in the center of this picture you can barely make out the communications tower on the ridge - that is where the Overlook House ruins are and the trail to the Overlook Mountain Fire Tower.
Ascending from Echo Lake back up to the blue trail to Overlook Mountain.
Some mountain views to the right off of the blue trail heading towards Overlook Mountain but the clouds were too low to see much of anything.
Arriving at the base of that communications tower and ...
Overlook Mountain House ruins
The red-blazed trail to the Overlook Mountain Fire Tower.
Overlook Mountain Fire Tower
Literally in a cloud at Overlook Mountain.  To see what the views should be when you can see them, see Dan and Laura Balogh's pictures from their hike almost exactly 5 years ago.
Heading back down the red trail, I was able to catch a peek of the Hudson Valley under the clouds at a lower elevation via an unmarked side path that came out at a lovely open ledge.
Retracing along the blue trail/Long Path through stunning fall foliage.
Back at Codfish Point, a couple told me they had been trying to see Overlook Mountain, about 2.5 miles to the right, but it was concealed by a cloud.  (That would be the cloud I was in.)  But then the cloud suddenly lifted and Overlook Mountain was now visible.  Sure enough, I zoomed in and got the fire tower with people descending.
I took that couple's picture at the Codfish Point overlook and they kindly took our picture.
The not-so-scary but scenic drive back down Platte Clove Road.

[  0.00]  Exit parking lot, turn right on Platte Clove Road
[  0.20]  Turn left just past the red cabin, keep to the left of cabin and split rail fence on blue diamond trail
[  0.35]  Plattekill Falls; retrace 
[  0.50]  Back at the red cabin, turn left on Platte Clove Road briefly then left on aqua-blazed Long Path to trail register and bridge; blazes will be Long Path markers and green diamond preserve markers
[  1.30]  Leave Platte Clove Preserve and enter Catskill Forest at camping sign (blazes change from green diamond and teal Long Path to blue circles)
[  1.45]  Old quarry on left then a short distance later keep straight on blue/red when the red Devil's Path comes in from the right
[  1.55]  Keep straight on blue when red leaves to the right
[  1.75]  Devil's Kitchen lean-to then cross bridge
[  2.45]  Left on yellow to Codfish Point when blue goes straight
[  2.50]  Codfish Point; retrace
                 *** Turn right on blue for 4.5 mile hike***
[  2.55]  Left on blue
[  3.85]  Right on yellow to Echo Lake
[  4.50]  Echo Lake lean-to, woods road continues partially around lake; retrace
[  4.75]  Back at lean-to, retrace yellow trail
[  5.45]  Right on blue
                 *** Turn left on blue for 8.8 mile hike***
[  6.80]  Continue straight at stop sign on open yellow gate
[  6.85]  Communications tower on right at intersection; continue straight to Overlook House ruins; retrace
[  7.10]  Back at communications tower intersection, keep right on red to Overlook Mountain Fire Tower
[  7.20]  Walk around gate
[  7.50]  Overlook Mountain Fire Tower; retrace
[  7.70]  Unmarked side trail on left to open view at ledge; retrace
[  8.10]  Turn right on blue at communications tower intersection
[  8.15]  Continue straight at stop sign on open yellow gate
[  9.50]  Straight on blue when yellow trail to Echo Lake goes left
[10.75]  Keep straight on blue when yellow trail to Codfish Point goes right
[11.50]  Cross bridge then pass Devil's Kitchen lean-to
[11.75]  Straight on blue/red when red comes in from the left
[11.80]  Straight on blue when red leaves to the left; old quarry on right
[12.00]  Enter Platte Clove Preserve (blazes change from blue circles to Long Path and green diamond)
[12.75]  Cross bridge and sign out at trail register
[12.80]  Right on Platte Clove Road
[12.95]  Left on gravel road to parking lot
[13.00]  Back at parking lot


  1. do you have to pay to enter?

  2. Every hike I see online is starting at Platte Clove and going TO Overlook. Not entirely sure if theres a reason for that, But tomorrow Im going to Start at the base of overlook and hike over to Platte Clove, turn around, and possibly spend the night at Echo lake before heading all the way back down the far side of Overlook. Should be interesting...

    1. Starting at the base of Overlook Mountain is actually the more popular way because it is the shortest distance to the overlook. Droves of people come that way where virtually nobody starts at Platte Clove and I prefer the path less traveled, which is why I started at Platte Clove. You'll see how busy it is at the Overlook! But overall same route, just personal preference.


  3. This is great! Very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos!