Kaaterskill Clove is a deep gorge that cuts through the northern Catskills Mountains, with the village of Palenville located at the base of the Clove and the village of Haines Falls located at its head. The clove is formed by Kaaterskill and Lake Creeks, with the gorge cutting as deep as 2,500 feet in places.
South Mountain forms the north wall of the clove. Prospect Mountain, located west of Lake Creek, looms over the upper part of the Clove near Bastion Falls. Kaaterskill High Peak and Round Top Mountain form the south wall of the clove, with the Long Path traversing much of its length. The south wall is home to the Wildcat Ravine, Buttermilk Ravine and Santa Cruz Ravine. The south wall, at its head, culminates at Twilight Park, a private residential community that offers magnificent views of the entire clove. The entire length of the Clove is traversed by Route 23A.
Numerous hiking trails in Kaaterskill Clove offer access to overlooks with outstanding views. Notable examples include the Escarpment trail that takes the hiker along the north wall to viewpoints such as Inspiration Point and Sunset Rock, the viewpoints at Palenville Overlook and Indian Head near the entrance of the clove, as well as Poet’s Ledge on the south wall. The clove is also home to countless other scenic wonders such as Moore’s Bridge Falls, Fawn’s Leap, Bastion Falls, the Five Cascades and Kaaterskill Falls.
Although I would estimate that Kaaterskill Clove is most popular with visitors in the summer and fall, springtime is also a great time to visit. Spring is a season of change, often equated with the ideas of rebirth and renewal. It brings warmer temperatures and melting snow that creates high volume runoff in the rivers and waterfalls. Visitors are few, as skiers have finished for the season but the hikers have yet to arrive in large numbers. The hiking trails begin to thaw and it marks the beginning of fishing season. There is a cleansing scent of newness in the air. The days grow daily in length. Flowers begin to bloom. As the old adage goes “April showers bring May flowers.” Although trees are often still bare in the early spring, flourishing vegetation and lush greens begin to mark the landscape by the late spring.