Mohonk Preserve

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Park Overview:

A preserve with over 100 miles of carriage roads and trails offering easy, scenic hikes and rugged rock scrambles requiring the use of hands as well as feet.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, Bridle path
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:100 miles
Park Acreage:6400 acres
City/County/
State:
Gardiner/Ulster/NY
Buy Trail Map:Shawangunk Trails Map
Buy Book:Scenes & Walks in the Northern Shawangunks

Park Description:

The Mohonk Preserve is New York State's largest not-for-profit privately owned nature sanctuary. Its 6,400 acres extend for nearly eight miles along the Shawangunk ridges, from Bonticou Crag to Millbrook Mountain, and includes cliffs, forests, fields, ponds, and streams.

Hiking on preserve lands is by day-use [or annual] permit, for which a fee is charged.  Preserve Permits, which may be obtained at the visitor center or from rangers on patrol, also allow one to hike on Mohonk Mountain House lands.

Trails Overview:

There are over 100 miles of carriage roads and trails.  Walking in the preserve ranges from easy, scenic strolls on carriage roads to rough scrambles over boulders, through crevasses, and across open ledges.   Only a brief indication of the possibilities can be suggested; hikers are encouraged to go maps in hand and make their own discoveries.

  • Millbrook Ridge Trail [3.0 miles; light blue]:  This trail, at the southern end of the preserve, is one of the loftiest in the Shawangunks, skirting along the crest atop some of the Shawangunks' taller cliffs:  the Near Trapps, Bayards, and Millbrook Mountain. 
    • The trail starts on the Trapps carriage road, accessible from the West Trapps parking area.
  • Overcliff and Undercliff Roads [5.4 miles; directional signs only]:   This easy, level walk on carriage roads loops around the dramatic scarp of the Trapps cliffs, the hub of the southern preserve.  Undercliff Road is especially remarkable, considering it was solely built to capture the scenic panoramas of the Wallkill Valley and the cliff above. 
    • Trailhead at West Trapps parking area.
  • Bonticou Crag:  The top of Bonticou Crag [1,194 feet], at the northern end of the preserve, is a far more rugged and dramatic viewpoint than its modest height would suggest.  The shortest route is to start on the Crag Trail [red], but a map may be needed to guide a hiker to the top.  The Bonticou Ascent Path [yellow] is a rock scramble that requires agility, confidence, and the use of hands as well as feet.  A longer but much easier ascent is along the Northeast Trail [blue].
    • Trailhead at Spring Farm Entrance.  

Wheelchair users will need a special overland wheelchair, as the trails are shale-surfaced. There is handicapped parking at most trailheads.

Find suggested "Best Hikes" by clicking on web in Contact Information and follow "hiking" link.

Directions:

To reach the Trapps Gateway Visitors Center of the Mohonk Preserve, take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 and proceed west on NY 299 through the Village of New Paltz.  Continue on NY 299 until it ends at US44/55 at the base of the mountain.  Turn right onto US 44/55 and continue for 0.2 mile to the driveway leading to the visitor's center on the right.

For directions to the parking areas for the West Trapps, Coxing, and Spring Farm trailheads use the park's web in Contact Information and follow the link to "Directions."  A map showing the four parking areas is also available.  On peak weekends, all three fill up early.

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 Mohonk is available from New Paltz Taxi, www.npztaxi.com (845) 255-1550.

Contact Information:Mohonk Preserve
845-255-0919
Region:Shawangunk Mountains
Fees:Yes, click on 'Contact Information' for further information