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Mossy Glen/Jenny Lane/Wawarsing Turnpike Loop
Directions to trailhead
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (New Paltz). Turn left onto Route 299 and continue through the Village of New Paltz and across a bridge over the Wallkill River. In 5.6 miles (from the bridge), Route 299 ends at a T-intersection with Route 44/55. Turn right onto Route 44/55, which negotiates a hairpin turn and climbs to pass under the Trapps Bridge (a steel overpass). Continue for three miles past Trapps Bridge to the entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, on the left. After passing the entrance booth (a $10 parking fee is charged), continue straight ahead to the Awosting parking area.
From the kiosk at the rear of the parking area, continue past the gate onto the Lower Awosting Carriage Road. Almost immediately, turn left onto the yellow-blazed Mossy Glen Trail, which passes through an attractive forest of hemlock and mountain laurel. In half a mile, the trail approaches the carriage road, then turns left and descends to the Peters Kill, crossing it 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, at times coming out on slanted rock slabs. It crosses a number of wet areas and tributary streams on wooden bridges or on rocks, passing through a forest of hemlock, pine, mountain laurel and rhododendron.
The Mossy Glen Trail ends in an open area, with stunted pitch pines and an understory of blueberries. Here you should turn right onto the blue-blazed Blueberry Run Trail, which descends to recross the Peters Kill on another one-log footbridge, just below an attractive cascade. The trail climbs rock steps to cross the Lower Awosting Carriage Road, reenters the woods, and continues through dense thickets of mountain laurel. Just ahead, it climbs steeply to the crest of the ridge. After a slight descent, the Blueberry Run Trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Jenny Lane Trail (also the route of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail).
Turn right onto the Jenny Lane Trail, which proceeds across slabs of Shawangunk conglomerate rock through an attractive forest of pitch pine, with south-facing views through the trees on the right. Soon, the trail moves away from the ridge and begins a very gradual descent through a young deciduous forest, with a dense understory of mountain laurel. This area was burned during a 2008 forest fire, which covered 3,000 acres, and is now starting to regenerate. As you continue to descend, the footpath becomes more rocky, and some large pine trees (which survived the fire) appear.
After following the Jenny Lane Trail downhill for nearly two miles, you’ll cross the Sanders Kill on a wooden footbridge and a wet area on puncheons. Just beyond, there is a seasonal north-facing view over the Catskill Mountains. The trail now descends rather steeply, then levels off. It soon crosses a tributary stream on stepping stones, with a beautiful cascade on the left.
A short distance beyond, the Jenny Lane Trail crosses the busy Route 44/55 (use extreme care crossing this road) and reenters the woods. In a quarter mile, after passing through a gap in an old stone wall, the Jenny Lane Trail ends at a junction with the pink-blazed Wawarsing Turnpike Trail.
Turn right onto the Wawarsing Turnpike Trail, a woods road, which descends to cross the Sanders Kill on stepping stones. To the left, you can see the stone abutments of the original bridge that crossed the stream. Built in 1856, the Wawarsing Turnpike (the route of this trail) was the first official road to cross the Shawangunk Ridge in this area. It was replaced in 1929 by the parallel Route 44/55.
The trail now begins a steady climb. The road it follows has not been maintained for nearly 90 years, and it is rocky and eroded in places. As it proceeds uphill, the trail gradually comes closer to the busy Route 44/55, which can be heard and seen through the trees on the right.
At the crest of the rise, the pink-blazed trail reaches Route 44/55. It turns left, follows the paved road for 100 feet, and ends at a junction with the blue-blazed High Peters Kill Trail. Turn right, cross the highway, and follow the blue blazes for a short distance to the parking area where the hike began.