This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V
Length 2 Miles
Flow Range 300 - 800 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 hours ago 17 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/21/2016 6:00 pm

River Description

The Plattekill drains a pristine corner of the Catskill Mountains. It is worth exploring even if you have no intention of ever paddling this gem of a creek. The first time I ever saw the Plattekill was on a fall day after a hurricane had dropped several inches of rain in the area. Finding the Kaaterskill too high, we decided to explore this tiny drainage and I was blown away by the beauty of the area. Rising out of the lower Hudson valley, the Catskills lurch precariously upward in an improbable feat of nature. Falling off the eastern side of these mountains near West Saugerties is the Plattekill, which makes an impressive and sudden descent to the valley floor. The topography of this drainage is quite remarkable. There are numerous tiny creeks that feed into a giant bowl or cove, so to speak, and each falls precipitously several hundred feet before joining together to become the Plattekill proper. After a major rain event, you will be hard pressed to find so many large waterfalls in a relatively small area.

It is very probable that there are some runnable drops upstream of the major gradient (ie; 800fpm or more), but the run is best approached by hiking up from the base of the access road which winds its way to the top of the mountain, rather than parking at the top and hiking down. This has been attempted and is decidedly not recommended. Rope work is required and the gradient is too steep until you get closer to the valley floor. (Note: see below for an update, with access issues.)

Hiking upstream for about one mile, you will encounter several rapids of a pool-drop variety ranging in difficulty from Class III-V. They are almost all waterfalls. The gradient for this mile is 360 feet, but the first half mile is less steep than the second half. As the trail begins to disappear, the gradient will increase even more. You have now entered exploratory terrain. Good luck. If there is anything runnable from this point upstream, it will certainly be steep and require quite a bit of creativity. There is also a mile or so of whitewater below the hike-in drops. It is roadside for the most part and not as steep as up above, but has a couple of waterfalls and is good class IV boating.

I will work on getting some pictures up, as well as some more detailed shuttle descriptions and information on gradient. In the meantime, if you're looking to do some exploration, this is a great place to start, with boat or without. Enjoy.

Note: the following description, containing an access warning, is copied from a comment:

I grew up about 20 mins up the road from this amazing canyon and used it as a swimming hole for the 15 years I lived there. I remember jumping off of 10-20 foot waterfalls into clean deep pools. Last year I went back to NY for a short trip and thought I would go for a hike now that I boated. Damn I wish I had a boat. 360 fpm and almost all of that gradient is well-defined falls with clean, deep landings.

Anyway, the first D as far as anyone can tell was in '08. As of 2010 the Platteclove Rd. putin, recommended by the author, is now completely off-limits. A few squatters from Saugerties ruined the parking access for the very few people who know about this place. This is Deliverance territory (for real, yes, in NY), and I have heard that the landowners of the old parking area have lately popped a few shots off at hikers and swimmers.

The best way to access this now is by parking at the bridge IMMEDIATELY upstream of the junction of West Saugerties Road and Platte Clove Road. This adds a half mile to the run. To set shuttle, continue upstream on Platteclove Rd., past all the "no parking, no trespassing" signs. Don't even think of stopping here.

The road becomes narrow and steep for a few miles and there is no parking until the top of the hill. Walk back down this steep road until you are safely around the 800fpm section and bushwhack your way to the creek. Once by the water I recommend scouting all the way down to the first bridge you come to. Don't get seen here.
Go back to the boats, run some drops, don't get out at the bridge you scouted either. A quick 1/2 mile of much less gradient returns you to the second bridge and a legally parked rig. I hiked this whole section in spring 2010 in black clothes and knowing the area. I saw very few wood problems but they can happen fast and some of the drops are gorged. This makes the hike about three times as far and you essentially have to hike the whole thing now, but it's the best way.

Thanks a bunch, Charlie.

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, based on online maps and the above description.




Catskills Area Reaches

Basic Creek                               Batavia Kill                                    Bear Kill 

Beaver Kill (Delaware Trib)       Beaver Kill (Hudson Trib)              Beer Kill 

Beer Kill, W. Branch                  Bowery Creek                                Bush Kill 

Callicoon Creek, E. Branch       Callicoon Creek, N. Branch           Catskill Creek (1.) 

Catskill Creek (2.)                     Catskill Creek (4.)                          Claverack Creek 

Coxing Kill                                 Delaware                                       Delaware, E. Branch 

Delaware, W. Branch                Little Delaware                               Dry Brook 

East Kill                                     Esopus Creek (1)                           Esopus Creek (2) 

Esopus Creek (3)                      Esopus Creek (4)                           Esopus Creek (5) 

Hannacrois Creek                     Kaaterskill Creek (1.)                     Kaaterskill Creek (2.) 

Kinderhook Creek  (3.)              Kiskatom Creek                             Mombaccus Creek 

Mill Brook                                   Neversink (1.)                               Neversink, E. Branch 

Neversink, W. Branch                 Peters Kill                                     Platte Kill 

Plattekill Creek                            Potic Creek                                  Roeliff Jansen Kill (1) 

Roeliff Jansen Kill (2)                  Rochester Creek                          Rondout Creek (1) 

Rondout Creek (2)                     Rondout Creek (3)                        Sandburg Creek 

Saw Kill (1)                                 Saw Kill (2)                                    Saw Kill (3) 

Schoharie Creek (1.)                  Schoharie Creek (2.)                    Shingle Kill Creek 

Squirmer Creek                          Stony Clove Creek                        Ten Mile Creek 

Thorp Creek                               Tremper Kill                                   Wallkill 

West Kill                                      Woodland Creek                            Vly Creek 


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

Visual. If the Esopus at Stony Clove is over 300 cfs, Plattekill might be running. Your best bet is to just head to the Kaaterskill and if you find it too high, the Plattekill is the next drainage over and it should be running.

This run is extremely flashy. If it is too high and it is no longer raining, it will drop to boatable levels pretty quickly.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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Moose River Video

Mark Singleton

2010 marked the 25th anniversary of protecting the Black and Moose rivers!  View an online video documentary on the Moose River and the early role that American Whitewater played in protecting this amazing river.


Matt Muir


Alex Barham


Jeff Sharpe


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1199721 03/28/11 Matt Muir Changed coordinates, added abstract, added warning text from comment.
1206341 04/21/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1194094 04/06/08 Jeff Sharpe n/a