Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Minnewaska State Park Preserve was once the site of two mountaintop hotels.  Many of the scenic trails and historic carriageways wind their way around two “sky lakes.”  Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting are the centerpieces of the park preserve, from which most other scenic attractions can be reached.  These lakes are well known for the exceptional clarity of their water and their aquamarine color.  Both lakes are set into white conglomerate cliffs and encircled with carriageways that provide ready access to many views.

The park is a good destination for hikers during hunting season; a large swath of Minnewaska is off limits to hunters. A hunting map provided by the park shows the hunting zones; use Contact Information below, follow “Maps” link.

Trails Overview: The numerous scenic overlooks in the park are destinations by themselves, with varied and sweeping views of the lakes, cliffs, expanses of pine barrens, and valleys below.  They include Hamilton Point, Castle Point, Gertrude’s Nose, Millbrook Mountain, Murray Hill, Margaret Cliff, Beacon Hill, and the High Peters Kill cliffs.  Many are accessible by both trail and carriage roads.

Among the many trails are:

  • The Beacon Hill Trail [0.8 mile; yellow] is one of the most scenic short hikes in the immediate area of Lake Minnewaska.  It begins at the Beacon Hill Carriage Road, 0.7 mile from the Lake Minnewaska parking area.  It can be combined with the Beacon Hill Carriage Road and the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road for a two- or three-mile loop hike.
  • The Blueberry Run Trail [2.2 miles; blue] begins at the crest of Castle Point, where the Shawangunk Ridge Trail [SRT blue] joins the Castle Point Carriage  Road, 3.2 miles from the Lake Minnewaska parking lot.
  • Castle Point Carriage Road [4.3 miles; blue] is the highest within the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, skirting along the tops of the series of bluffs that define the western rim of the Palmaghatt Ravine, with lofty outward views.  It is popular with mountain bicyclists.  It begins from Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road, on the west side of Lake Minnewaska, 0.4 mile from the parking area.
  • The Gertrude’s Nose Trail [3.4 miles; red] begins on Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road, 2.1 miles from the parking area at Lake Minnewaska.
  • The Hamilton Point Carriage Road [2.8 miles; yellow with black H] follows the northern rim of the Palmaghatt Ravine, an immense V-shaped ravine whose side walls consist of a double row of high, vertical cliffs.  This is one of the most scenic routes between Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting.
  • Rather than taking a direct route across Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the Shawangunk Ridge Trail [9.5 miles passing southwest from Jenny Lane to Mud Pond; SRT blue] meanders through the park on a winding course, passing ridge-top viewpoints and waterfalls, and scrambling up and down rocky cliffs.  Co-aligned with the Jenny Lane Trail [blue] at the start, the SRT crosses many of the park’s trails and carriage roads making it possible to plan a variety of loop hikes.  The Jenny Lane parking area is a convenient place to begin a hike.
    • From this parking location it is also possible to follow the SRT in the opposite direction, heading southeast along Wawarsing Turnpike Trail [pink] which becomes High Peters Kill Trail [blue] leading into Mohonk Preserve.
  • The Long Path [aqua] was re-routed to the northwest area of the park in 2012, away from the Lake Awosting network of trails.  It now follows Berrypicker and Upper Mine Hole trails heading towards Berme Road.  Click for a description of this trail segment beginning roughly at mile 3.20.  Trail maps older than 2012 may not show this re-route.

Click to view detailed descriptions of hikes in the Preserve; some include GPS coordinates.

Directions: Take New York State Thruway [I-87] to Route 44/55 west to the main entrance to the park.  [Google Maps:  “Minnewaska State Park, NY 12561”]

  • Jenny Lane parking area is an obscure dirt road which leads north from Route 44/55, 1.2 miles west of the entrance to Minnewaska State Preserve.  [Google Maps: “Jenny Lane, Kerhonkson, NY”]
  • 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.


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