Travel the Kaaterskill Clove Experience

The Kaaterskill Clove Experience is a mountain ravine of picture-postcard beauty and bound by the gateway communities of Palenville to the east and Haines Falls to the west.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Kaaterskill Clove Experience is recognized for its contribution to art, literature, history and the environmentalist movement in New York and the Catskill Region. A great number of literary giants, painters and noted American leaders have lived in, visited, or been inspired by the Clove. The icons on the map below represent more than just stops on a trail - they represent an entire experience for people of all ages to enjoy the same views and vantage points as those notable figures. 

Click on stop #1* below to start your trip - or, choose one of the itineraries for a condensed yet equally fulfilling trip through history.

* Be sure to check listings for seasons and hours of operation.

Map Legend
Greene County Visitor Center

Start the Kaaterskill Clove Experience at stop #1 - the Greene County Visitor Center.  Located just off exit 21 on I-87, you'll find a pleasant, knowledgeable and helpful staff ready to give you insider tips on where to go, what to expect, and what to see - both on and off the trail - for a complete and inspiring trip through the beautiful Great Northern Catskills of Greene County.

Olana State Historic Site

The next stop is Olana, located just over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in neighboring Columbia County and the former home of Thomas Cole's star pupil Frederic Edwin Church. Designed in the Persian architectural style, the 250-acre estate is just as picturesque inside as out. See the paintings, sculptures and furnishings of Church and his wife Isabel, tour the grounds, and participate in an array of art programs offered throughout the summer months. 

Rip Van Winkle Skywalk

Next, visit the Rip Van Winkle Skywalk. One of two pedestrian crossings over the Hudson River, the Skywalk is a leisurely walk across the bridge and provides panoramic views over the lush landscape of the Catskill Region. Capture the view with your camera or smartphone and share on our social media channels.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is located on Spring Street in picturesque Catskill. The former home of Thomas Cole, renowned as the father of American art, is open from May - October offering special exhibits, tours, guided hikes and events. The home, studio and grounds overlook the Hudson River and are also the first stop on the Hudson River Art Trail, a series of hiking trails that lead to vistas made famous by painters on the Hudson River School.

Historic Catskill Point and Freightmasters Building

Next, stop at the Historic Catskill Point. Located where the Hudson River meets the Catskill Creek, you can enjoy picturesque views of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. This open-air cobblestone plaza and waterfront park is an ideal spot to enjoy a quiet stroll along the Catskill Creek. Visit the on-location interpretive site to learn more about the history of the mighty Hudson River and the Village of Catskill. 

Dutchman's Landing Park

Located next to the Historic Catskill Point and the next attraction on the Kaaterskill Clove Experience, is Dutchman's Landing - an open area and pubic park with picnic area and playground. Bring your boat or kayak to the public boat launch and explore the Hudson River on your own. If you're visiting during the summer months, Dutchman's Landing hosts a weekly "Music in the Park" concert series.

Kaaterskill Clove Lookout

Just past the colorful streets of Palenville is a parking area where you can take a 1.8 mile hike to the next stop - Kaaterskill Clove Lookout - and enjoy the same views of the Clove that inspired the famed Hudson River School painters. This hike is part of the New York New Jersey Long Path, the same trails of the horse trails bringing travelers of days gone by to the mountaintop for their summer vacation.

Kaaterskill Falls

Continue on Route 23A through the winding mountains to Kaaterskill Falls, the highest cascading waterfall in New York State and the setting for several Hudson River School paintings. The parking lot is on Route 23A just north of the trailhead entrance and Bastion Falls. Once you park, carefully walk down Route 23A behind the guardrail, over the Spruce Creek Bridge (just below Bastion Falls) to the trailhead.  Enjoy a moderate, 1.47 mile round-trip trek to the base of Kaaterskill Falls for a breathtaking view up the falls.

Be cautious when hiking along the path as erosion and water can create slick conditions.
Be sure to wear proper shoes and exercise caution when hiking near the waterfall. 

PLEASE NOTE:  In an effort to keep the public safe, the DEC is starting the safety upgrades on Kaaterskill Falls. The parking lot and trail head at the top of the falls on Laurel Lane will be closed for the summer of 2015 to make all the upgrades. Access on Rte. 23A will remain open with no access past the base of the falls. Read more here.

Mountain Top Historical Society

Continue on to Haines Falls and park at the Mountain Top Historical Society to discover the unique history of the Catskills’ High Peaks, and to get maps of the Escarpment Trail and Hunter Mountain. These were America’s first hiking trails and the beautiful views were immortalized by celebrated novelist James Fenimore Cooper and poet William Cullen Bryant.

Guided hikes around the Historic Society are available throughout the summer and fall. 

Kaaterskill Rail Trail

Also located at the Mountain Top Historical Society is the Kaaterskill Rail Trail. A 1.5 mile section of the now-abandoned Ulster & Delaware Railroad, this is the first completed section of a multi-phase, ongoing restorative project organized by the Town of Hunter and partner organizations. Prior to becoming a railroad in the late 1880's, the trail was a connecting footpath from the Catskill Mountain House and other hotels to Haines Falls. Feel free to bike or simply walk along this scenic woodland path before heading to the next stop on the Kaaterskill Clove Experience. 

North-South Lake Campground

Further along the Kaaterskill Clove Experience on Route 23A is North-South Lake State Campground. Here you can partake in many day-use facilities including beaches, boating/fishing, hiking paths, and playgrounds - the perfect stopping point for lunch or a snack. Here you will find entrances to the Escarpment Trail and and the historic Catskill Mountain House site.

Catskill Mountain House Site

The next stop on the Kaaterskill Clove Experience is the site of the famed Catskill Mountain House - one of the oldest hotels in the Catskills, opening in 1824. Immortalized by famed American author James Fenimore Cooper, the vista from this summit offers views across the Hudson River Valley, the river winding like "a curled shaving," and the hills of New Hampshire beyond.


Escarpment Trail at North-South Lake

While in North-South Lake State Park, explore the Escarpment Trail. Part of the larger Long Path, the 23.9 mile Escarpment Trail as a whole is suited for more experienced hikers - but you won't be disappointed in the views you encounter while traversing along a trail of stone that meanders above the Hudson River Valley. Sections of the trail are suitable for day hikers, but as with any off-road excursions, be sure to wear proper foot gear and be prepared with plenty of water and provisions.

The Huckleberry Trail

The trail is designed to reuse railroad right-of-ways originally owned by the Ulster & Delaware and Canajoharie & Catskill Lines. These railroads were historically used to transport tourists from new York City to the Catskill Mountain Resorts. Residents and visitors use the trail for...

Mountain Top Arboretum

Continue on 23A and turn onto 23C to explore the Mountain Top Arboretum located in Tannersville. The Arboretum is one of Greene County's coolest sanctuaries of native trees and shrubs. Open dawn to dusk, year-round, the Arboretum features three main areas: East and West Meadow, Woodland Walk and the Black Spruce Glen. Known as a "living museum" the Arboretum is an excellent introduction to the flora and fauna of the Catskills, offering peaceful activities amid breathtaking surroundings.


Hunter Mountain Resort

Take the Hunter Mountain Skyride to the top of the next stop - Hunter Mountain Resort - and enjoy unparalleled views across the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County. The summit also boasts the highest fire tower in New York State at 4,040 feet, as well as a larger-than-life stone carving of Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving's beloved fictional character who made his home in the northern Catskill Mountains.

Feeling adventurous? While here, experience New York Zipline Adventure Tour - the highest, fastest and longest zipline canopy tour in North America and the second largest zipline in the world!

Pratt Rock - "New York's Mount Rushmore"

Head further west on Route 23 toward Prattsville - home of Pratt Rock, also known as "New York's Mount Rushmore".  This stop on the Kaaterskill Clove experience boasts several carvings into the side of the cliff located near the 350-acre homestead of Zadock Pratt (who ran the biggest shoe leather tannery in the world) that represent Pratt's life and took over 28 years to finish.

Zadock Pratt Museum

After viewing the carvings at Pratt Rock, pay a visit to the Zadock Pratt Museum, which depicts the life of the Prattsville founder, congressman, and entrepreneur. Explore cultural and historical exhibits offering a glimpse into early American life through the lens of the tanning industry and railroad expansion.

John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge

The final stop on the Kaaterskill Clove Experience is the summer home of renowned naturalist and Catskill Mountains native John Burroughs. The John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge, is located in nearby Roxbury and is a National Historic Landmark.  Woodchuck Lodge is the place where Burroughs honed his essays on the natural world as well as entertained notable people such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone. Step inside the author's sanctuary and enjoy one of the many events offered throughout the summer and fall.

Explore the Kaaterskill Clove Experience and create your own self-guided tour or choose from one of four itinerary options.
About the Experience
Learn more about the writers, naturalists, artists and others whose love for Greene County lives on through their works, as well as their choice of traveling to America’s First Vacationland.
Vacation Packages
We invite you to experience Greene County’s welcoming hospitality by checking out our special package deals while completing the self-guided tour of the Kaaterskill Clove Experience.
Palenville The Hamlet
Hunter Foundation
Town of Hunter
Village of Tannersville
NY-NJ Trail Conference
Mountain Clove Scenic Byway
Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District
I Love NY
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Greene County Tourism
700 Rte 23B, Leeds, NY 12451
800-355-CATS | 518-943-3223
The Kaaterskill Clove Experience is comprised of several attractions, each require varying levels of physical exertion. Please follow all safety rules posted at each location and mentioned on this site.