Old Mill Falls
Old Mill Falls, located on the Plattekill Creek, is a charming 15-foot waterfall located just upstream from the top of Plattekill Falls. The stone wall remnants of an old mill, thus the name of the falls, are located on both sides of the creek just below the falls. The Long Path crosses the Plattekill Creek just upstream from Old Mill Falls as the 358-mile trail makes its way south to Indian Head Mountain, Twin Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain and beyond.
Old Mill Falls are located on the Platte Clove Preserve, which is owned by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (CCCD), a regional conservation and advocacy group founded in 1969. The 280-acre area was donated in 1975 by the Griswold family. The CCCD maintains an artist retreat at the Preserve, which you pass at the beginning of the hike to Plattekill Falls. Artists, painters, writers, composers and, yes, photographers can apply for short-term summer residencies here, surrounded by the beauty that is Platte Clove.
Platte Clove, also known as Platte Kill Clove, is a deep, dark, heavily wooded, historic, wildly rugged and wonderfully scenic mountain pass through the northern Catskills. Charles Lanman, a noted American writer and artist who spent much time in the clove, described his impressions in 1844: “Plauterkill Clove is an eddy of the great and tumultuous world, and in itself a world of unwritten poetry, whose primitive loveliness has not yet been disfigured by the influences of mammon, and God grant that it may continue so forever. It is endeared to my heart for being a favourite haunt for solitude, and for having been consecrated by a brotherhood of friends to the pure religion of nature; and they always enter there as into a holy sanctuary.”
With Plattekill Mountain encroaching from the south and Kaaterskill High Peak looming to the north, a narrow and winding two-lane road precipitously crosses the eastern portion of the clove, rising over 1,400 feet from West Saugerties in only 2.1 miles. There are no guardrails despite the nearly vertical cliffs along much of the drive. The climb is so dangerously steep that it is closed in the winter from November 15th to April 15th as the town provides no maintenance.
Platte Clove is home to, depending on who’s counting, over 18 waterfalls, many of which are only reachable with extreme caution and effort and is not recommended. There are fatalities in the clove area just about every year. Old Mill Falls and the clove’s showpiece waterfall, the beautiful Plattekill Falls, are easily and safely accessible.