Mossy Glen/Blueberry Run/Castle Point Carriage Road Loop
Directions to trailhead
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (New Paltz). After paying the toll, turn left onto Route 299 and continue west through the Village of New Paltz. When you cross the bridge over the Wallkill River at the west end of the village, continue ahead on Route 299 (do not turn right towards the Mohonk Mountain House). In another 5.6 miles (from the Wallkill River bridge), Route 299 ends at a T intersection with Route 44/55. Turn right here and follow Route 44/55 as it negotiates a very sharp hairpin turn and climbs to pass under the Trapps Bridge (a steel truss overpass). Continue for 3.0 miles past the Trapps Bridge to the entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, on the left side of the road. After passing the entrance booth (a $10 parking fee is charged), continue straight ahead to the Awosting parking area.
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 Minnewaska is available from New Paltz Taxi, www.npztaxi.com (845) 255-1550.
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.