Explore the Kaaterskill Clove This Fall in the Great Northern Catskills
Autumn visitors to the Great Northern Catskills encounter sheer gorges, crashing waterfalls, and towering ridgelines alight with brilliant colors that herald changing seasons. Here's your guide to a fall tour at Kaaterskill Clove that celebrates the season with scenic overlooks, forest walks, local heritage, and harvest bounty.
Follow a forest trail through a kaleidoscope of fall colors to Kaaterskill Falls. Kaaterskill Creek plummets 260 feet over shale and sandstone ledges and demonstrates how water eroded rock to create the deep ravine of Kaaterskill Clove. Bonus: autumn visits frame New York State's highest waterfall in trees aflame with rioting hues. Park at the Molly Smith Parking Area on Route 23A and hike 1.5 miles round-trip.
Visit a scenic overlook made famous by a Thomas Cole painting and the pages of a James Fenimore Cooper novel. Enter North-South Lake Campground from Route 23A and park at North Lake Beach. Follow blue blazes for a five-minute walk along the Escarpment Trail. This brings you to the former site of the Catskill Mountain House, a grand hotel torn down in 1963, and admire what inspired these artists: views across the Catskill foothills and Hudson River to distant peaks across state lines in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut, all made better by changing leaves.
Follow Route 23A along Schoharie Creek to arrive at Prattsville, a country village of less than 1,000 people perched at water's edge. Stroll Main Street, framed by towering trees blazing with shades of autumn, to a shady porch supported by tall white columns that marks the Zadock Pratt Museum. Pratt was a 19th century businessman and politician who started a tannery—the world's largest at the time—in the Catskills, and then built Prattsville to house his workers. Today, his homestead is a museum focused on area history.
Okay, this stop is technically on the Catskill Beverage Trail - whole different experience - but we figured you'd be thirsty after all your hiking and scenic fall explorations. Why not savor the fall season with a farmstead beer? Retrace your route to Lexington and head south on Route 42. Turn onto Spruceton Road, and follow this country road to the 127-acre farm at the end. Welcome to West Kill Brewing, where Michael Barcode and Colleen Kortendick pour craft ales on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Sample a saison brewed with maple sap, an IPA that uses spruce tree tips for flavor, and sour ales made with wild yeasts found on the farm. And raise your glass to the stunning fall scenery on display.