I visited a number of waterfalls in eastern New York this past Saturday. I usually post about the first one that I visit on a trip, but I’ve decided to post on Plattekill Falls because I will forget something if I don’t write about it right now. Of all the waterfalls I visited, this one (and Old Mill Falls, which is a smaller fall just above this one) was the most difficult to find.
First, the road that leads to the trail head, Platte Clove Road, is closed during the winter months, so you’ll have to visit Plattekill Falls during the late spring and summer months. The road is moderately steep and narrow in places, so this is understandable. Second, it is not extremely obvious where the trail head to the falls starts, at least from the road. I drove by once and really had no clue if I was in the right place. I turned around, and on a hunch decided to park where a number of other cars were parked. I did find out it was the right place, but I initially started on a different trail that led to some mountain. I was able to see Old Mill Falls, and then noticed there was a much larger drop downstream.
I went back to the main road, and went toward the other main “path” I could see, and only after hiking it discovered it did lead to Plattekill Falls! I’ll mention in the directions below what to pay attention for in order to have an easier time finding the falls, though it’s still a bit confusing.
Once I was at the falls, it was really very beautiful. Since it was a sunny, amazing day, it did make photographing the waterfalls just a bit more difficult, though I had less difficulty here than with Kaaterskill Falls earlier in the day. It’s just over 50′ tall. After wandering around for a bit, you also discover there are even more waterfalls below, though they’re not easily accessed from the trail to Plattekill Falls. (There was an adventure company helping people rappel down the cliff near this other waterfall.) If you’re interested, there may be a way to see 14 falls along Plattekill Creek, as written here.
- In West Saugerties, head west (somewhat northwest) along West Saugerties Road. You’ll pass Manorville Road on your right as you start heading uphill. At some point this road will turn into Platte Clove Road. The one book I used said it was about 2.5 miles from West Saugerties. (You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction if you see a sign for “This is a seasonal road.”)
- As you’re heading along this road, look for a “long” dirt parking area on your left (at about the 2.5 mile mark, though I can’t guarantee the mileage). Right near the end of this parking area is a bridge that crosses over Plattekill Creek. If you start seeing houses to the right and left, then you’ve gone just a bit too far. If you reach Platte Cove Community (which has a very nice sign), turn around when possible, pass the houses, cross over the bridge, and pull over in the gravel parking area.
- The confusing piece of the directions that I had was the red cabin. The red cabin is not obvious from the road. You may see a sign for a number of trails and “parking” in a 100 yards, which means you’re in the right place.
- To get to the trail to the falls, head to the end of this gravel parking area, where there was a gate (maybe more like two metal posts) with chains blocking the path. If you start walking down this three-foot wide trail, you should now pass the red cabin, and then you’re definitely on the right path. (If you cross a wood bridge, you are not on the right trail, though you can see Old Mill Falls on this trail.)
- It follows a few switchbacks, and then you end up at the falls. It was a shorter hike than I had expected, though it is consistently downhill (and uphill on the return).
*There is another parking area, but I had an extremely difficult time seeing it. It was near a very sharp turn in the road, and it requires you walk along the narrow road to get to the trail.
Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Plattekill Falls?