Directions to trailhead
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 19 (Kingston) and proceed west on N.Y. Route 28 for 22 miles. Take the exit for Phoenicia and continue on Bridge Street across the bridge over the Esopus Creek. After crossing Main Street, the road becomes Mt. Ava Maria Road. Continue for one block and turn right onto St. Ursula Place (there is no street sign at this intersection). Park along the shoulder of this street.
Trailways provides bus service to Phoenicia from New York City.
In the nineteenth century, the forests surrounding Phoenicia were the center of two industries – harvesting hemlock bark for tanning hides, and quarrying bluestone for sidewalks. This hike follows woods roads that were built for these industries, climbing to two viewpoints over Phoenicia and the surrounding mountains. Most of the hike is not exceptionally difficult, but there are several very steep sections, including the initial climb from the field.
To reach the trailhead, walk to the end of St. Ursula Place and continue across a large grassy field, known as Parish Field. A yellow sign marking the trailhead is at the edge of the woods, behind a blue rope-net play structure. The trail is marked with blue blazes, although the start of the trail is currently not blazed.
After crossing a short wooden bridge over a stream, the trail climbs very steeply over large rocks and loose gravel. Extreme care should be exercised when traversing this trail section, especially when descending at the end of the hike.
At the top of this very steep climb, the trail emerges at the base of cliffs. Paths go both left and right, but you should turn right and continue along the base of the cliffs, passing an overhanging rock on the left. Beyond the cliffs, the trail follows an old road, then bears left and climbs to a junction, where the loop begins. A sign indicates that it is preferable to follow the loop in the clockwise direction, which is how this hike proceeds.
Turn left and follow an old road to an interpretive sign “Phoenicia and the Tanbark Business.” Just beyond, the trail bears right and begins to climb on a footpath. Pay very careful attention to the blazes, as just ahead, the marked trail turns sharply right at a switchback. This turn is easily missed, as an obvious unmarked trail continues straight ahead.
Follow the marked trail uphill on switchbacks, passing an interpretive sign “Bluestone Quarrying in Phoenicia” along the way. At the top, the trail bears left onto an old road and soon reaches the Phoenicia Overlook. The hamlet of Phoenicia is visible below, with Romer Mountain straight ahead and Panther Mountain on the right.
After taking in the view, continue ahead on the old road, which soon descends a little, then bears right and begins to climb steadily. After bearing right again, the trail levels off. Be alert for a sharp left turn, after which the trail continues on a relatively level route, with some minor ups and downs.
After traversing the first three-quarters of the loop, the trail begins a steady descent, steeply in places. As it bears right, the trail passes Grandview Ledge, with views over Phoenicia and the surrounding mountains. The descent now steepens. Soon, the trail joins an old road, which it follows downhill to reach the start of the loop just beyond a stream crossing. Turn left and retrace your steps to the trailhead, paying particular care during the final very steep descent.