A large gap in the Catskill Mountains, Kaaterskill Clove follows the course of Kaaterskill Creek from west to east. It was a center of international leather trade in the early nineteenth century. The tanning industry, dependant on hemlocks, brought about extensive deforestation in the Catskills during Cole's lifetime. To facilitate this trade, a turnpike through the Clove was created, providing not only tanners, but also artists and tourists, access to one of the finest vistas in the Catskill area. 1 Kaaterskill Clove was another of Cole's favorite places. He wrote in his journal of a trip to the Clove in 1838:
It was resolved that we should sleep, the next night, on High Peak. It would be tedious, perhaps, to describe, although anything but tedious was the ride to the Clove. The party was in the highest spirits... We entered the fine pass, where, on both hands, the mountains rise thousands of feet. The sun shone with golden splendour, and the huge precipices, above the village of Palensville, frowned over the valley like towers and battlements of Cyclopean structure. 2
In this 1827 painting—a view looking east from the top of Haines Falls—Cole chose not to depict such "golden splendour," but typical of his romantic imagination, he included a stormy sky to evoke the sublime.