|Park Description:|| |
West of Black Rock Forest in the northern Hudson Highlands, a land formation rises that has several unique and striking features. Usually pronounced skun-uh-munk, the name means excellent fireplace in the Algonquin tongue. Schunemunk Mountain features a number of unusual geologic features. Soaring well above the surrounding region, its summit reaches an elevation of nearly 1,700 feet above sea level. A striking feature of the mountain is its double crest. For nearly three miles, there are two ridges running parallel to each other, separated by the valley of Baby Brook. Each ridge consists of layers of the same conglomerate sloping inward towards each other, thus forming a geologic downfold or syncline. The caprock of the ridges is a reddish-purple matrix, studded with pebbles of white quartz and pink sandstone, some of which reach diameters of eight inches.
|Trails Overview:|| |
With over 25 miles of trails, Schunemunk Mountain offers hikers opportunities to walk along ridges, view cascading streams, and investigate megaliths. The hiker should be alert to different ways of trail blazing- painted blazes on trees and rocks, cairns [rock piles], and plastic rectangles nailed to the twisted trunks of the pines and to sudden changes in the trail's direction, especially as there are so many distracting views along the ridge.
Use extreme caution when crossing the active Metro-North railroad tracks. Passenger trains traveling at high speeds regularly use these tracks, and the trail crossings are at curves in the tracks, making it very diffcult to see approaching trains. Make sure to Stop, Look and Listen before crossing these tracks!
- Because the Barton Swamp Trail [2.1 miles, red dot on white] follows the wooded trough that separates the central and western ridges of Schunemunk, it provides a sheltered exit to Taylor Hollow.
- The Dark Hollow Trail [2.2 miles, black on white] begins at the southern end of the Otterkill Trail [red], 2.2 miles from the parking area on Otterkill Road. After passing views of the Hudson River and Storm King, it ends at the Jessup Trail [yellow].
- The Jessup Trail [8.6 miles, yellow] is the main north-south trail on the mountain and traverses its full length. Parking is available on Taylor Road in Mountainville and at its terminus on Seven Springs Road in Monroe. From NY 32 in Mountainville, hikers can walk or drive one-third of a mile west on Taylor Road to the parking area on the right. Along its route the unique conglomerate bedrock that makes Schunemunk so fascinating is displayed along with a series of panoramic views. Highlights include the Megaliths, a group of huge blocks that have split off from the bedrock and the highest elevation in the area at 1,664 feet. The Highlands Trail [teal diamond] is co-aligned with the Jessup Trail for its entire length.
- The Long Path [5.2 miles, aqua] leaves NY 32 at the railroad trestle about 1.6 miles north of the Highland Mills bus station. Parking is available on the west side of NY 32 about 0.2 mile south of the trestle. After climbing High Knob the Long Path ultimately reaches the Jessup Trail [yellow] near the top of the ridge. This is also the route of the Highlands Trail [teal diamond], which heads northeast to Storm King Mountain and southwest through Sterling Forest State Park to the Delaware River in Riegelsville, NJ. The orange-blazed trail straight ahead is the Western Ridge Trail, the former route of the Long Path. The Long Path turns left (south) and is co-aligned with the Jessup Trail to its end. Follow the yellow Jessup Trail blazes, as the Long Path and Highlands Trail are marked with their trail logos only at occasional intervals and at junctions. Click for a detailed trail description of this segment of the Long Path.
- The Western Ridge Trail [4.4 miles, orange] begins at an intersection with the Jessup Trail, the Highlands Trail and the Long Path on the ridge of Schunemunk Mountain. It descends the western slope of the mountain, first gently, then steeply down a series of ledges overlooking the western ridge. The last ledge is particularly steep. For most of its length, as befits its name, the trail traverses the western ridge of Schunemunk Mountain offering multiple scenic viewpoints. It can also be accessed at its northeastern trailhead from a parking area near Hil-Mar Lodge on Clove Road (County Route 27).
- To reach the Otterkill Trail [2.2 miles, red], take NY 32 to Orrs Mills Road. After crossing the New York State Thruway, turn left on Otterkill Road and proceed under the railroad trestle. The trailhead parking area is 0.2 mile west of the trestle. This trail provides access... to the Trestle Trail [white], the Jessup Trail [yellow], the Sweet Clover Trail [white] and the Dark Hollow Trail [black on white].
- The Sweet Clover Trail [2.8 miles, white] is a good approach to the east and west ridges of Schunemunk. It begins at the hikers' parking area on Taylor Road. After reaching the Barton Swamp Trail [red on white] at 2.7 miles, it climbs steeply to terminate at the Long Path [aqua] 0.1 mile beyond.
- The Trestle Trail [1.4 miles, white] begins at a parking area on Otterkill Road, 0.2 mile west of the railroad trestle. At 1.2 miles, there is a panoramic view to the north and east, with the northern Hudson Highlands visible in the distance. It ends at the Barton Swamp Trail [red].
- The short Ridge-to-Ridge Trail [0.6 mile, blue dot on white] serves as a crossover for the eastern/western ridges of Schunemunk Mountain.
Click for detailed descriptions of hikes (all strenuous) in the park -- includes GPS for trailheads.
Car access is by NY 17 or the New York State Thruway to Exit 16 [Harriman], then north on NY 32 to Highland Mills, Woodbury, or Mountainville. Parking areas for specific trails are mentioned in the trails overview.
GPS coordinates for parking area at 250 Otterkill Road: 41.42693, -74.09705
Public Transport: Short Line [Coach USA] buses, from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, stop at these towns.