Exploring Fall Folliage in Catskills. Recently, I posted about a few scenic getaway ideas from the NYC area in 10 Best Fall Activities. In this post, you can read about our family trip to The Winter Clove Inn during the fall of Foliage in Catskills, NY.
Fall Foliage in Catskills: Where to Stay
If you are looking for a quick getaway from the NYC area and your goal is to surround yourself with beautiful foliage colors, consider staying at the Winter Clove Inn. This historic, single-family-owned resort is located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains and is situated on over 300 private acres of land. That is 226 football fields of nature put together, and it is all yours to explore.
First and foremost, I would like to say a big thank you to Winter Clove Inn and its owners. They were very kind to host my family and me for a few nights while exploring fall foliage in the Catskills. Regardless of the sponsored stay, all opinions about the hotel experience and hospitality are mine.
Winterclove inn is not your typical hotel. It is one of the oldest single-family-owned resorts in New York State. The hotel welcomed its first guest in 1838. It is mindblowing to think that the US population has since grown by over 300 million people. Much has changed since then. What has not changed is that the Whitcomb family continues to welcome its guests to the resort to offer the best hospitality.
You will find guests of all ages in this hotel. Young couples, families with kids, and retired seniors enjoyed the hotel as much as we did. We were also pleased to meet with the current owners, who were often present at the property, to ensure their guests’ needs were fully satisfied.
When you reserve your stay at the Winter Clove Inn, you also get three meals a day that is included with your stay.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at a specific hour for all guests. The menu consists of an appetizer, two choices of the main dish, and dessert. It is updated every day. If you are traveling with kids and picky eaters, consider having a backup plan or letting the hotel know your specific needs. If you have dietary restrictions, they will also assume that.
The food itself is reminiscent of homemade food. My favorite dishes were creamy soups, meatballs, turkey sandwiches, and garden salads. And, of course, the bakery! There is a dessert after every meal. Three times a day! They taste so good that you will not be able to skip them.
If you have some activities scheduled during a meal hour or plan to explore fall Foliage in Catskills, they will wrap you your meal and have it picnic ready! We took our food to go a few times while exploring or when Matthew was napping. It is a very convenient and considerate option.
If you want to eat elsewhere, check out Trotwood Restaurant or Log Cabin Cafe near the resort. For an upscale atmosphere, you can also visit Silvia.
Things To Do at The Winter Clove Inn
Winter Clove Inn is equipped with amenities to make your stay enjoyable. There is something for everyone to do, from the golf course, bowling alley, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, and a game room to a kid’s playground, bonfires, and more. Call the hotel before your check-in to inquire what amenities are open during your visit. It is also very conveniently located close to Windham and Hunter mountains, making it an excellent location for winter getaways to satisfy your skiing needs.
We most enjoyed the bonfire-filled evenings, hotel trails on their property (there are plenty!), and relaxing on the front porch while Matthew ran around. In addition to many on-site activities, the Winter Clove Inn is conveniently located near some of the most popular tourist attractions. Check out the hotel website to find more activities to do in Catskills.
Staying at the Winter Clove means experiencing nature and outdoor activities at their best. Bonfire evenings were one of our favorites.
If you live in a city like us, you probably do not see star-studded skies often. We do not. Spending time by bonfires while making smores (provided by the hotel to all guests, free of charge!) felt more remarkable when we could see countless stars and the milky way stretched across the sky. Truly special.
The bonfire gets set up on the hotel land. However, it is a few steps away from the hotel building. There is a short walk in a dark field. If you are alone, the walk can feel spooky. However, it sets the mood for a beautiful evening once you get to the fire. You feel surrounded by nature and warmed by the fire. It is peaceful, and it is lovely.
I am so glad we experienced this beautiful evening together with Matthew (who was much less worried about the walk and super excited about the real-life bonfire, which he always loves to see in his books).
Hotel Hiking Trails
If you are staying at the Winter Clove Inn, be aware that you have access to many hiking and cross country trails on their property which lead to incredible views of the Catskills Mountains. You can get to the Artist Falls about five minutes away from the main lodge (walking distance). A conveniently located hidden gem that can be all yours to enjoy.
Nearby Attractions to See Fall Foliage in Catskills
Before I say anything else, I will point out that it is worth visiting Kaaterskill falls every season. However, popping leaves and the colorful trail leading to it add to the Foliage theme getaway.
Kaaterskill Falls is the tallest two-drop waterfall in New York State, measuring 321′. It is located in Green County’s town of Hunter (Eastern of Catskills Mountains). Kaaterskill Falls exceeded my expectations. Perhaps, this is all I should say to highlight how spectacular it truly is.
Trails to The Falls
There are three ways to view the waterfall, depending on your hiking abilities and goals.
- The upper overlook (0.3 Miles from the Parking lot)
- Lower Falls (1.4 miles roundtrip)
We skipped the overlook. Not because we did not think it was worthy enough to see but because we were hiking with Matthew and wanted to make it to the very bottom first. Since walking down and up took us quite a bit of time, we ended up heading straight back to the resort afterward. If you have more flexibility regarding time and don’t have 30+ pounds to carry, you should check the overlook.
The hike that takes you to lower falls is considered “easy to moderate.” There are many rocky steps before you can get to the bottom of the falls. The steps are pretty stiff, so you need to be careful. However, the trail is pretty clean and easy to follow. It is coming back up that we found a lot harder, especially with extra weight to carry. Once you make your way down, the lower falls and midpoint are very close to each other.
The middle part of the falls was my personal favorite. Although it was nearly impossible to take a good picture due to water sprays, I have no regrets; I got sprinkled a bit to view the falls from that close! The big rocks down there make a comfy rest stop to sit and enjoy the view. From lower falls, you are going to see the complete two drops of the falls.
Finally, remember to get there early in the day. You get more parking space and “alone time” at the falls if you beat the crowd. By the time we left, there were already people waiting for parking, which was not an issue we had to deal with when we arrived.
Mountain Top Arboretum
This is the outdoor living museum for trees and flowers located in the Catskill Mountains. It is a unique and beautiful mountain top environment that aims to create a sanctuary for native and exotic trees, flowers, and shrubs. The cozy atmosphere also makes for a lovely place to spend a few hours and enjoy nature. There were not many other visitors; just enough to not feel completely alone. We enjoyed the quiet time, and Matthew wanted plenty of space to satisfy his need to run around.
Other Things To Do in Catskills During Fall
- Skiing. Windham and Hunter’s mountains are located in the heart of the Catskills and make for excellent skiing locations.
- Ziplining. Catskills region is the home to the highest and fastest Zipline in North America.
- Horseback Riding. While there are plenty of options, K&K Equestrian Center is conveniently located near the Winter Clove Inn.
- Kayaking and Whitewater Rafting. If you are looking for water activities, the Catskills region has you covered in this regard as well.
When is the best time to See Fall Foliage in the Catskills?
Before getting to the best potential dates, let me note that these are all estimates based on the past and current foliage metrics. Since we cannot control mother nature, it is somewhat challenging to plan for the peak dates way in advance. For the general rule of thumb, aim for the dates in October.
However, if you want to make sure you are visiting during the absolute peak, it is best not to book your stay way in advance. You may run the risk of finding many sold-out properties if you wait too long. Instead, you can keep checking foliage maps that you can find on Google or contact the hotels directly to get information from them. While it may be tricky, it is not an impossible task, and it is definitely worth the hustle since we only get these beautiful colors once a year for a short period.