Platte Clove to Overlook Mountain via Codfish Point and Echo Lake

Overview

Visit a 70-foot waterfall then follow historic Old Overlook Road as it ascends gradually past abandoned bluestone quarries to Codfish Point with sweeping views of the Hudson Valley.  Descend to Echo Lake then continue on to the Overlook Mountain House ruins via a less traveled route before the final ascent to Overlook Mountain Fire Tower looming over the Hudson Valley.

Details
Time:
8 hours
Difficulty:
Moderate to Strenuous
Length:
13 miles
Route Type:
Out and back
Dogs:
Allowed off leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall, Historic feature
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Ulster
State:
NY
Maps/Books
Buy Trail Map:

Buy Book:
Publication
First Published:
10/15/2012

Updated/Verified:
07/23/2014
Submitter:
Daniela Wagstaff

Photo

View from Codfish Point. Photo by Daniella Wagstaff.

Parking


View Platte Clove Road Trail Head Parking in a larger maptarget="_blank"

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
42.133827, -74.081967
Driving Directions
I-87 (New York State Thruway) to Exit 20 (Saugerties). Turn left onto NY-212 and proceed for 2.3 miles.  Turn right on Blue Mountain Road/CR-35 and continue for 1.4 miles.  Bear left on CR-35, which becomes West Saugerties Road/CR-33 and continue 2 miles.  At the “Seasonal Limited Use” sign, the road becomes Platte Clove Road and continues another 2.3 miles uphill on a narrow road with an 18% grade.  At the top, cross a small bridge then turn right on a gravel drive at the “Trail Head Parking” sign.The steep part of Platte Clove Road is not maintained and is closed from November 1 through April 15.  During that time it is necessary to approach from the opposite direction.  Take Exit 20 from I-87, turn left on NY-212, then right on NY-32 at the first intersection.  Proceed for 6 miles then keep straight on NY-32A when NY-32 bears right.  In 1.9 miles turn left on NY-23A and proceed for 6.9 miles into Tannersville.  Turn left on Railroad Avenue, which becomes Spruce Street (CR-16) in .4 mile.  When Spruce Street ends at a T-intersection in .5 mile, turn left on CR-16/ Platte Clove Road, continue for 5.7 miles and turn left on the gravel drive at the “Trail Head Parking” sign before a small bridge.
Description

This hike can be done several ways – a 4.5-mile out-and-back to Codfish Point, an 8.8-mile out-and-back to Echo Lake, a 13-mile out-and-back to Overlook Mountain, a 10-mile shuttle hike by spotting a car at Meads Mountain Road (42.071036, -74.122464), or make an overnighter out of it with the availability of two shelters and campsites along the way.

From the parking lot, walk out the drive to Platte Clove Road.  Either before or after the hike, be sure to walk the short distance to the left for waterfall views from the small bridge.  Just the other side of the bridge, a short footpath on the left leads to pretty cascades a little farther into the woods.

Plattekill FallsTo begin the hike, exit the parking lot and turn right on Platte Clove Road following the aqua blazes of the Long Path.  In 250 yards arrive at a red cabin on the left in the Platte Clove Preserve, used for their Artists-in-Residence program.  Although the aqua blazes continue on along Platte Clove Road, turn left on the gravel drive and head downhill towards the red cabin, staying to the left of the cabin and the split rail fence.  Follow this trail, blazed with the blue diamond markers of the Platte Clove Preserve, as it follows a ledge cut into the canyon wall then descends, sometimes steeply and ends at the base of the scenic 70-foot Plattekill Falls.  Retrace your steps and arrive back at the red cabin having logged the first half-mile of your hike, as well as the steepest descent and climb.

Resume following the aqua blazes a few more steps along Platte Clove Road then turn left and proceed downhill.  Before crossing the replica kingpost bridge, be sure to sign in at the trail register.  The trail will be following historic Old Overlook Road, constructed in the early 1800’s to access the many bluestone quarries, remnants of which are still visible along the way.  The trail will be blazed with Long Path markers as well as the green diamond markers of Platte Clove Preserve as it ascends gradually and consistently.

Bridge at Devil's Kitchen Lean-ToAt the “camping prohibited” sign 1.3 miles into the hike, you will be leaving Platte Clove Preserve and the aqua and green trail markers will be replaced by round blue markers.  Start watching for a clearing on the left, an old bluestone quarry where a seating arrangement as been constructed out of stone slabs.  Shortly after this quarry, the red-blazed Devil’s Path joins in from the right for a short distance then leaves to the right.  Continue straight following the circular blue blazes.

The trail will pass directly in front of the Devil’s Kitchen lean-to 1.75 miles into the hike then cross a footbridge over a creek with pretty cascades.  In another .7 mile, watch for a yellow-blazed side trail to the left for a short walk to Codfish Point with sweeping Hudson Valley views on the left and an abandoned bluestone quarry on the right.  Retrace back to the blue trail and turn left to continue the hike, or turn right to return the way you came for the 4.5-mile hike.

Echo LakeContinuing on, arrive at an intersection in 1.3 miles and turn right on the yellow-blazed trail, which will descend about 450 feet before reaching Echo Lake in .6 mile.  At Echo Lake a lean-to and campsites are available for an overnight stay.  Notice the mountain ridge on the opposite side of the lake with a communications tower to the right – the blue trail follows this ridge to the communications tower, also the site of the Overlook Mountain House ruins.  After visiting Echo Lake, retrace your way back up the yellow trail and turn right on the blue trail to continue to Overlook Mountain.  Alternatively, turn left on blue and retrace for the 8.8-mile hike.

Overlook Mountain House RuinsHeading towards Overlook Mountain on the blue trail, notice interesting rock formations as the elevation increases, in particular, a balancing boulder on the right.  Pass through an open gate with a stop sign at the 6.8-mile point just before arriving at an intersection with the communications tower that was visible from Echo Lake.  To visit the Overlook Mountain House ruins, continue straight a short distance on the red-blazed trail then return to this intersection and stay right on the red-blazed to finish your ascent of Overlook Mountain.  Along the way several unmarked side trail to the right lead to an open rock outcrop with amazing Hudson Valley views.  Arrive at the fire tower on Overlook Mountain 7.5 miles into the hike.  At this elevation of 3,140 feet there are views all around on a clear day and if you happen to be there when volunteers are manning the fire tower (generally weekends and holidays 11 am – 4 pm, June 1 through October 13), a climb up the tower will provide breathtaking views of the entire Mid-Hudson region.

Hudson Valley View Courtesy of Dan Balogh at danbalogh.comFrom this point, return to the communications tower intersection on the red trail and turn right on blue and follow all the way back as it becomes the aqua-blazed Long Path in Platte Clove Preserve, which will take you directly to the parking lot where you parked off of Platte Clove Road.  If you have a car spotted on Mead Mountain Road for a shuttle hike, keep left on red at the communications tower and continue downhill for 2 miles to finish the hike.

Click here for more pictures of this hike.

Turn by turn description
[  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                *** Keep left on red if car spotted on Meads Mountain Road for 10-mile shuttle hike ***[  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

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

nice thru-hike late August

did this as a thru-hike from platte clove to meads mountain road. we skipped the waterfall at the start, having done that before. very hazy at codfish point but it's spectacular anyway. Echo lake is the highlight, we circumnavigated the lake with spectacular views all around. lots of descructive beaver activity with the sawkill exit dammed and 5' extra flooding the lake area. spent an extra hour exploring the side trails around overlook and there are some spectacular vistas to be found in addition to the fire tower. found a rattler right next to the DEC building at the top ... there's a den up here i'm told and so snakes won't be uncommon. had no problems with following the trail, directions and descrition. be prepared for incline trails over loose tailings, although the trails are packed dirt and easy going for much of the route. we took 4.5 hours, and the GPS was shy of 10 miles... good times!