From the kiosk at the rear of the parking area, continue past the gate onto the Lower Awosting Carriage Road. Almost...
From the kiosk at the rear of the parking area, continue past the gate onto the Lower Awosting Carriage Road. Almost immediately, you’ll see a sign on the left that marks the start of the yellow-blazed Mossy Glen Trail. 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 carriage road, then turns left and descends to the Peters Kill, which it crosses on a one-log footbridge.
The trail turns right beyond the bridge and begins to parallel the stream. For the next mile, it remains close to the stream, crossing a number of wet areas and tributary streams on wooden bridges or on rocks. At times, the trail comes out on open rock slabs which slope into the stream. Rhododendron and white pine may be found along the trail, together with hemlock and mountain laurel. At one point, the trail passes through a tunnel under dense rhododendron. Although this trail section is not particularly difficult, you’ll want to take your time to enjoy the scenery.
In another mile, the Mossy Glen Trail ends in an open area, with stunted pitch pines and an understory of blueberries. Turn left here onto the blue-blazed Blueberry Run Trail, which climbs steadily through mountain laurel and blueberries. After a while, the grade moderates, and the trail crosses the Upper Awosting Carriage Road.
After heading into the woods for a short distance, the Blueberry Run Trail turns right and begins to parallel the carriage road 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.
During the next mile, the trail gains about 300 feet in elevation. It proceeds through rhododendron, mountain laurel, hemlock, blueberries and pitch pines, with a short stretch through a hemlock forest. Along the way, the trail traverses a number of open rock slabs, one with a limited view over the Catskill Mountains. Towards the end of this section, the Blueberry Run Trail emerges onto two expansive conglomerate rock slabs, both covered with stunted pitch pines and blueberries.
After reaching an open rock ledge at the highest point on the trail, the Blueberry Run Trail descends slightly to end at the Castle Point Carriage Road. Turn left onto the carriage road, 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 (to the left of 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 Carriage Road and turn right (east) onto the road, which is marked with blue diamond blazes. This carriage road 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 carriage road 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. In a mile and a half, the carriage road 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, 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 mile, the yellow-blazed Hamilton Point Carriage Road leaves to the right, but you should continue ahead on the blue-blazed Castle Point Carriage Road. The carriage road 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 Carriage Road ends at a junction with the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road, near the shore of Lake Minnewaska.
Turn left onto the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road, 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, in season, when lifeguards are on duty, you might want to avail yourself of the opportunity to take a swim (changing rooms are provided, and restrooms are also located here).
From the swimming area, continue ahead (following the sign to the “parking lot”) as the road climbs to an intersection with the Sunset Carriage Road. Turn sharply left and follow the Sunset Carriage Road, which descends on switchbacks, passing a broad viewpoint on the way. At the base of the descent, turn right, cross the bridge over the Peters Kill, then turn left and follow a wide gravel path parallel to the park access road back to the Awosting parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 07/06/2007 updated/verified on 05/26/2020
This loop hike follows the cascading Peters Kill and climbs through interesting vegetation to panoramic viewpoints from dramatic cliffs.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.