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Spring Farm to Mohonk Mountain House
This hike, suitable for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, leads to several beautiful viewpoints and passes the landmark Mohonk Mountain House.
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, bear left onto Mountain Rest Road. Continue on Mountain Rest Road for 3.4 miles until you reach the entrance to the Mohonk Mountain House at the top of the hill. Continue downhill for another mile and turn right onto Upper 27 Knolls Road. The Spring Farm parking area of the Mohonk Preserve is just ahead on the left. A ranger is usually stationed at a trailhead kiosk to collect day-use fees and distribute maps.
BusBus 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 Mohonk is available from New Paltz Taxi, www.npztaxi.com (845) 255-1550.
DescriptionFrom the parking area, proceed ahead on Spring Farm Road. As the road reaches the top of a rise, a broad panorama appears to the left. In about 0.2 mile, the road bends sharply to the right, with a farmhouse at the bend, and a red barn on the left. In the winter, the road is plowed up to this point. Proceed ahead on the road, now heading south. If you are skiing, you'll want to put on your skis here. The section of the road leading up from Spring Farm is not groomed for cross-country skiing, so you'll have to make your own tracks or follow those made by others. But once you reach the first intersection, all of the trails you'll be skiing on are groomed. At the first intersection you'll encounter, Cedar Drive comes in from the left and soon leaves to the right. (This intersection, as well as most others along the route, is marked by wooden signs.) Continue ahead on Spring Farm Road, taking the left fork. In another third of a mile, Bonticou Road comes in from the left and leaves to the right. Again, take the left fork, continuing on Spring Farm Road. You'll now enter the property of the Mohonk Mountain House (your pass from Mohonk Preserve also entitles you to traverse the grounds of the Mountain House). After passing a trail that leads left to Guyot Hill, Spring Farm Road begins to run along the Mohonk Golf Course. Soon, you'll notice a long garage below to your right. Just ahead, where the access road from this maintenance area joins Spring Farm Road, the road will be plowed, and you may wish to take off your skis. Continue ahead on the road, which bears right and crosses Mountain Rest Road on a bridge. At the next junction, turn right onto the access road leading to the Mohonk Mountain House and pass the gatehouse, then turn right into the day-use parking area. The groomed trail resumes behind a restroom building on the left side of the parking area. You're now following the Huguenot Trail, a relatively new route, with somewhat steeper grades than the older carriage roads. Soon, the Whitney Road joins from the left. After a descent, you'll bear left onto the North Lookout Road, which makes a hairpin bend to the right and soon begins to run along cliffs to the left. About a mile from the parking area, you'll reach the North Lookout -- an expansive north-facing viewpoint, marked by a picturesque gazebo. Just ahead, Hemlock Lane, which will be your return route, joins from the left. Continue ahead on North Lookout Road for about another half a mile. Just before reaching a section of the road that is plowed in the winter, you'll see a sign on the left directing walkers to Sky Top. Turn left here and proceed rather steeply uphill. (You may wish to remove your skis here; otherwise, you'll have to take them off at the top of the hill.) Just beyond a private residence at the top of the hill, bear right on a paved road which passes below the Barn Museum (a large yellow building). Soon, the imposing Mohonk Mountain House may be seen on the left. Built from 1879 to 1912, this landmark structure is still owned and operated by the same family that first opened a resort on the property in 1869. (Day visitors are not permitted to enter the Mountain House.) Just beyond the Mountain House, the road bends sharply to the left. Two ski trails begin here. Take the right fork, Copes Lookout Road, which reaches a junction in about 0.4 mile. Here, you should bear right, immediately reaching Laurel Ledge Road. Turn left and pass Copes Lookout, a south-facing overlook marked by a gazebo. The imposing ridge directly ahead is known as The Trapps. Just beyond, turn left onto Humpty Dumpty Road. This road -- which passes some more viewpoints -- has several sharp turns that require you to exercise caution when cross-country skiing. At the next intersection, bear left onto Short Woodland Drive, then turn left at the following intersection with Old Minnewaska Road. Continue ahead as Old Minnewaska Road becomes Lake Shore Drive. Soon, Mohonk Lake and the Mountain House come into view on the left. After passing some cliffs to the right, Lake Shore Drive ends behind the Mountain House. Continue ahead on Huguenot Drive, which offers more views to the north. About a third of a mile beyond a junction with Sky Top Road, which leaves to the right, Huguenot Drive makes a sharp bend to the right. A short distance beyond this bend, bear very sharply left onto Hemlock Lane, which descends to cross the paved Garden Road (you'll have to remove your skis to cross this road). On the other side, Hemlock Lane continues to descend to its end at North Lookout Road. Turn sharply right here, pass the North Lookout, and retrace your steps, following North Lookout Road, Whitney Road and Huguenot Trail back to the entrance to the Mohonk Mountain House. Cross the bridge over Mountain Rest Road and follow Spring Farm Road back to the start of the hike. Spring Farm Road - which proceeds steadily downhill - is an enjoyable conclusion to your hike, but use care if you are skiing!