|Park Description:|| |
All foot bridges in the park were washed away by floodwaters from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. As of Dec. 2012, they were not yet replaced.
The Lower Awosting carriage road over the Fly Brook was also completely washed away.
The 21,096-acre Minnewaska State Park Preserve was once the site of two mountaintop hotels. Many of the scenic trails and historic carriageways wind their way around two "sky lakes." Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting are the centerpieces of the park preserve, from which most other scenic attractions can be reached. These lakes are well known for the exceptional clarity of their water and their aquamarine color. Both lakes are set into white conglomerate cliffs and encircled with carriageways that provide ready access to many views.
The park is a good destination for hikers during hunting season; a large swath of Minnewaska is off limits to hunters (as of 2009). A hunting map provided by the park shows the hunting zones: 2010 Hunting Map and Permit
|Trails Overview:|| |
The numerous scenic overlooks in the park are destinations by themselves, with varied and sweeping views of the lakes, cliffs, expanses of pine barrens, and valleys below. They include Hamilton Point, Castle Point, Gertrude's Nose, Millbrook Mountain, Murray Hill, Margaret Cliff, Beacon Hill, and the High Peters Kill cliffs. Many are accessible by both trail and carriage roads.
Among the many trails are:
- The Beacon Hill Trail [0.8 mile; yellow] is one of the most scenic short hikes in the immediate area of Lake Minnewaska. It begins at Beacon Hill Carriageway, 0.7 mile from the Lake Minnewaska parking area. It can be combined with the Beacon Hill Carriageway and the Lake Minnewaska Carriageway for a two- or three-mile loop hike.
- The Blueberry Run Trail [2.2 miles; blue] begins at the crest of Castle Point, where the Long Path [aqua] joins the Castle Point Carriageway, 3.2 miles from the Lake Minnewaska parking lot.
- Castle Point Carriageway [4.3 miles; blue] is the highest within the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, skirting along the tops of the series of bluffs that define the western rim of the Palmaghatt Ravine, with lofty outward views. It is popular with mountain bicyclists. It begins from Lake Shore Drive on the west side of Lake Minnewaska, 0.4 mile from the parking area.
- The Gertrude's Nose Trail [3.4 miles; red] begins on Millbrook Drive, at a point 2.1 miles from the parking area at Lake Minnewaska.
- The Hamilton Point Carriageway [2.8 miles; yellow with black H] follows the northern rim of the Palmaghatt Ravine, an immense V-shaped ravine whose side walls consist of a double row of high, vertical cliffs. This is one of the most scenic routes between Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting.
- Rather than taking a direct route across Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the Long Path [9.5 miles from Jenny Lane to Mud Pond; aqua] meanders through the park on a winding course, passing ridge-top viewpoints and waterfalls, and scrambling up and down rocky cliffs. Since it crosses many of the park's trails and carriageways, the Long Path can be combined with them to make a variety of loop hikes. The Jenny Lane parking area is a convenient place to begin a hike.
To find detailed descriptions of specific hikes, click here and scroll down the "Parks" column to the name of this park.
- Take New York State Thruway [I-87] to NY Routes 44/55 west to the main entrance to the park. [Google Maps: "Minnewaska State Park, NY 12561"]
- Jenny Lane parking area is an obscure dirt road which leads north from US 44/55, 1.2 miles west of the entrance to Minnewaska State Preserve. [Google Maps: "Jenny Lane, Kerhonkson, NY"]
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.