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Mossy Glen/Blueberry Run/Castle Point Carriageway Loop
This loop hike follows the cascading Peters Kill and climbs through interesting vegetation to panoramic viewpoints from dramatic cliffs.
Allowed on leash
Views, Waterfall, Fees, Cliffs
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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. When you cross the bridge over the Wallkill River at the west end of the village, continue ahead on Route 299 (do not turn right towards the Mohonk Mountain House). In another 5.6 miles (from the Wallkill River bridge), Route 299 ends at a T intersection with Route 44/55. Turn right here and follow Route 44/55 as it negotiates a very sharp hairpin turn and climbs to pass under the Trapps Bridge (a steel overpass). Continue for about three miles past the Trapps Bridge to the entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, on the left side of the road (a parking fee is charged at the gatehouse). Immediately turn right and proceed for 0.2 mile to the Awosting parking area.
Bus service to New Paltz from New York City, Nanuet, Newburgh and Kingston is available via Adirondack Trailways, www.trailwaysny.com (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, www.co.ulster.ny.us/ucat (888) 827-8228. Ulster County Area Transit also offers bus service from the Metro-North station in Poughkeepsie to New Paltz via their Ulster-Poughkeepsie Link. Taxi service from New Paltz to Minnewaska is available from New Paltz Taxi, www.npztaxi.com (845) 255-1550.
Find the kiosk at the rear of the parking area, and continue past the gate onto the Lower Awosting Carriageway (also known as the Peters Kill Road). Almost immediately, you’ll see a sign on the left that marks the start of the yellow-blazed Mossy Glen Path. Turn left and follow this trail, which passes through an attractive forest of hemlock and mountain laurel. In about half a mile, the trail approaches the carriageway, then turns sharply left and descends to the Peters Kill, which it crosses on a footbridge. This spot is particularly beautiful, with a large pool in the stream just downstream. NOTE: This footbridge was washed away by Hurricane Irene in August 2011. The Park hopes to replace it in spring 2013. In the meantime, it is possible to cross the stream on rocks if the water is low, but the crossing may not be possible if the water is high.
Follow the yellow-blazed trail as it turns right a short distance beyond the bridge and begins to parallel the stream. For the next mile, the trail remains close to the stream, at times coming out on open rock slabs which slope towards the stream. Rhododendron and white pine may be found along the trail, together with hemlock and mountain laurel.
After passing through a relatively open area, with stunted pitch pines and an understory of blueberries, the Mossy Glen Path ends at the blue-blazed Blueberry Run Path. Turn left and follow this blue-blazed trail, which climbs steadily through mountain laurel and blueberries. After a while, the grade moderates, and the trail crosses the Upper Awosting Carriageway.
The Blueberry Run Path heads into the woods for a short distance, then turns right and begins to parallel the carriageway on a level route. For the next half mile, the trail proceeds through dense mountain laurel thickets (in full bloom in late June). After crossing under a power line, the trail bears left and begins a gradual climb.
For the next mile, the trail alternates between level stretches and climbs, gaining about 300 feet in elevation. It proceeds through mountain laurel, hemlock, blueberries and pitch pines, with a short stretch through a dark hemlock forest. Along the way, the trail traverses a number of rock slabs, with cairns indicating the route. Towards the end of this section, the Blueberry Run Path emerges onto two expansive conglomerate rock slabs, both covered with stunted pitch pines and blueberries. The first of these rock slabs offers a north-facing view over the Catskill Mountains.
After reaching an open rock ledge at the highest point on the trail, the Blueberry Run Path descends slightly to end at the Castle Point Carriageway. Turn left onto the carriageway, and almost immediately you’ll reach Castle Point, a steep promontory with panoramic views. Lake Awosting is below to the west, and Sam's Point may be seen to the southwest (near the communications towers visible in the distance). Directly ahead (south) you can see Hamilton Point, another rock promontory, and the cliffs of Gertrude’s Nose may be seen across Palmaghatt Ravine to the east. This is a good place to take a break and enjoy the views.
When you’re ready to continue, walk back from the viewpoint to the Castle Point Carriageway and turn right (east) onto the carriageway, which is marked with blue diamond blazes. This carriageway is open to bicyclists, as well as hikers, and you should be alert for approaching bicycles. The road is wide enough to accommodate both hikers and bicyclists, but hikers should move to the side to permit bicycles to pass.
The carriageway runs close to edge of the cliffs, descending gradually. It passes a series of open ledges that afford broad views over the Palmaghatt Ravine towards the rocky face of Gertrude’s Nose. After about a mile, the carriageway goes under a power line and moves a little further from the cliffs. In another mile, after descending on a switchback, you’ll reach Kempton Ledge (marked by a sign), with excellent views across the ravine and over the Wallkill Valley beyond. The large triangular-shaped boulder visible near the cliff edge on the other side of the ravine is known as Patterson’s Pellet.
In another quarter of a mile, the yellow-blazed Hamilton Point Carriageway leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the blue-blazed Castle Point Carriageway. The carriageway climbs slightly and then begins a steady descent. In about half a mile, you’ll come to an open area (the site of a former golf course), with views of the Catskills to the left. Soon afterwards, the Castle Point Carriageway ends at a junction with the Minnewaska Carriageway, near the shore of Lake Minnewaska.
Turn left onto the Minnewaska Carriageway, which soon makes a sharp switchback turn (do not follow the road that heads west from the point of the switchback) and descends to reach the swimming area on Lake Minnewaska. There are broad views across the lake here, and you might want to avail yourself of the opportunity to take a swim (changing rooms are provided, and restrooms are also located here).
Continue ahead and climb to an intersection with the Scenic Sunset Carriageway. Turn sharply left and follow the Scenic Sunset Carriageway, which descends on switchbacks, passing a north-facing viewpoint. When the carriageway ends at the base of the descent, turn right, cross the bridge over the Peters Kill, then turn left at the gatehouse and follow the park access road back to the Awosting parking area where the hike began.