Northeast Crags/Bonticou Crag Loop from Spring Farm


This loop hike climbs to the top of the Northeast Crags, with expansive views over the surrounding countryside, passes the rugged Bonticou Crag, and returns via the bucolic Spring Farm Carriage Road.

4 hours
7 miles
Route Type:
No Dogs
Views, Fees, Cliffs
First Published:

Daniel Chazin



View Spring Farm in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
Driving Directions

Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (New Paltz). After paying the toll, turn left onto Route 299 and continue west through the Village of New Paltz. After crossing the bridge over the Wallkill River at the west end of the village, turn right onto Springtown Road, following signs for the Mohonk Mountain House. At the next intersection, turn left onto Mountain Rest Road. Continue on Mountain Rest Road for 3.3 miles to the entrance to the Mohonk Mountain House at the top of the hill. Continue ahead downhill for 0.9 mile and turn right onto Upper 27 Knolls Road at a sign for the “Spring Farm Trailhead.” The Spring Farm parking area of the Mohonk Preserve is just ahead on the right.  A ranger is usually stationed at a trailhead kiosk to collect day-use fees ($12 per person; $55 annual pass) and distribute maps.

Bus service to New Paltz from New York City, Nanuet, Newburgh and Kingston is available via Adirondack Trailways, (800) 776-7548. Limited weekday bus service to New Paltz from Kingston and Highland is available via Routes R and H of Ulster County Area Transit, (888) 827-8228. Taxi service from New Paltz to Mohonk is available from New Paltz Taxi, (845) 255-1550.

From the exit at the northern end of the parking area, climb wooden steps and turn left onto the blue-blazed Table Rocks Trail, which parallels Spring Farm Road. As the trail reaches the top of a rise, the red-blazed Crag Trail begins on the right. Continue ahead on the Table Rocks Trail. Just beyond, a broad panoramic view of the Catskill Mountains -- known as the “Million Dollar View” -- appears on the left.

Grassy path through open fields near the start of the Northeast Crags-Bonticou Crag Loop hike. Photo by Daniel Chazin.Continue across open fields on a wide grassy path. At the end of the field, turn left, briefly follow along the edge of the field, then cross a boardwalk. The Table Rocks Trail turns right onto a gravel road, crosses a short footbridge, and reenters the woods, following a footpath on a contour along the side of a hill. After passing the Slingerland Pavilion, below on the left, the trail begins to climb, reaching a T-intersection at the top of the rise. Here, the red-blazed Cedar Trail begins on the right, but you should turn left to continue on the blue-blazed Table Rocks Trail, which now begins to descend.

At the base of the descent, the Table Rocks Trail turns right onto a gravel road, but almost immediately bears left and continues on a grassy woods road, with a row of cedars on the left and open fields on the right. At the end of the fields, the trail bears left, goes through a gap in a stone wall and reenters the woods. Soon, Farm Road joins from the right and, a short distance beyond, the trail reaches Clearwater Road.

Turn right, leaving the Table Rocks Trail, and follow Clearwater Road uphill, with a stone wall on the right. After reaching the crest of the rise, the trail descends gradually, passing the interesting ruins of a stone building on the hillside to the left. A short distance beyond, after crossing a stream, the Northeast Trail begins on the right.

Turn right and follow the blue-blazed Northeast Trail, which climbs steadily through mountain laurel and pitch pines, with an understory of blueberries. Near the top, the trail emerges onto a rock outcrop studded with pitch pines, with a panoramic view of the Catskill Mountains to the north. 

Continuing along the ridge, the trail climbs gradually, with more views to the right. Soon, the trail emerges on an outcrop of fractured conglomerate rock, known as the Northeast Crags, which offers a spectacular unobstructed view over the entire Catskill range.

The trail soon moves to the south side of the ridge and continues along the crest. After a short descent through mountain laurel, you’ll reach a T-intersection. Here, the yellow-blazed Bonticou Ascent Path begins on the left, but you should turn right to continue on the blue-blazed Northeast Trail.

North-facing view over the Catskills from the Northeast Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.After a short, steep descent, the trail passes under an overhanging ledge and reaches a fork, marked by a large boulder covered with small cairns. Turn left to continue along the Northeast Trail (the right fork is the red-blazed Cedar Trail). Soon, the trail begins a steady climb. As you approach the top of the climb, you’ll notice a huge jumble of fallen conglomerate rock on the left, with cliffs towering above. Soon, you’ll cross the Bonticou Ascent Path, which climbs precipitously over these boulders to reach the summit, known as Bonticou Crag. 

You might want to attempt this challenging climb another day, but for now, continue ahead on the Northeast Trail, which begins a gradual descent. It briefly parallels the cliffs on the left, then bends to the right, away from Bonticou Crag. After crossing a stream, the trail begins to climb, soon crossing a woods road (to the right, the route of the red-blazed Bonticou Path). Here, the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (marked by blue logo blazes) begins to run concurrently with the Northeast Trail.

The trail now traverses undulating terrain, with several steep ups and downs. Just beyond an intersection with an overgrown woods road that comes in from the right, the trail enters lands of the Mohonk Mountain House and levels off. Soon, the paved Mountain Rest Road (on which you drove to Mohonk) may be seen below to the left.

After descending a little, the trail turns right onto a gravel road which climbs towards the Mohonk Golf Course. Near the crest of the rise, the road curves to the right, but you should bear left, following a sign to the “gatehouse,” and continue along the left side of a field. After crossing another woods road, the trail descends to Mountain Rest Road.

Cross the paved road and continue along the blue-blazed Northeast Trail. After passing a stone foundation on the right, the trail descends to cross a stream. It soon begins a gradual climb, following the boundary of lands of the Village of New Paltz. After paralleling an old stone wall, the trail becomes relatively level and crosses two more streams. 

Just beyond another stone ruin on the right, you’ll reach an intersection with a signpost. The sign indicates that the Northeast Trail (now blazed white) continues ahead, but you should turn right and continue to follow the blue blazes. Just ahead, the blue-blazed trail turns right again and climbs gradually along a woods road to end at Lenape Lane (here, a sign indicates that you have been following the Woodside Trail). Turn right and follow this wide road (which once served as the main access road to the Mohonk Mountain House) on a gentle uphill grade to the gatehouse at the entrance to the Mountain House.

Bear right at the gatehouse, then – before reaching Mountain Rest Road – turn left onto a paved road that leads up to an overpass across the road. At the end of the overpass, take the left fork, then bear right at the next intersection to continue along Spring Farm Road. This pleasant carriage road soon begins to run along the golf course. 

At the end of the golf course, a branch of the road curves to the right, but you should continue straight ahead on Spring Farm Road, which begins a gentle descent, with views to the left through the trees (in leaf-off season). Continue ahead across an X-intersection with Bonticou Road, and turn left at the next junction onto the red-blazed Crag Trail.

Follow the Crag Trail as it heads downhill on a grassy road through fields (this section is not blazed), bears right into another field, then bears left at a fork. When the Crag Trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Table Rocks Trail, turn left and retrace your steps to the parking area where the hike began.