Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska State Park

Spring is in full swing, and we’re getting out to explore the outdoors this season with some exciting Hudson Valley hiking!  With so many unique opportunities for outdoor adventure just minutes from the Hudson Valley Resort, it’s the perfect place to experience hiking in the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains.

You’ll find five exceptional forest preserves within easy reach of the Resort which offer hundreds of miles of scenic trails for hiking and biking through some of the most unique natural landscapes in the Northeast.

Visitors to Minnewaska State Park, the Mohonk Preserve, Sundown Wild Forest, Sam’s Point Preserve, and the Catskills Forest Preserve will find a myriad of exciting trails to explore, each with its own allure.  Here’s one of our favorite Hudson Valley hiking trail, which brings the hiker through some of the most interesting and beautiful features of Minnewaska State Park.

Mossy Glen/Blueberry Run/Castle Point Carriageway Loop
(9 mile loop hike, Moderate Difficulty.  Allow 5.5 Hours)

The Shawangunks are known for their varying terrain and unique micro-habitats, so it can be difficult to experience all they have to offer in just one visit.  The little known Mossy Glen / Blueberry Run / Castle Point Carriageway loop takes hikers on an exhilarating tour of the park.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska
The hike begins on the Mossy Glen footpath, accessable via the Awosting parking lot.  You’ll walk along the cool Glen through a silent forest of hemlock and mountain laurel, cossing and then following the golden Peter’s Kill brook.  Be sure to enjoy the secluded wading pools as you continue through the shady glades.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska Resort
With little warning, you’ll emerge from the forest and find yourself crossing a brilliant white exposure of bedrock.  This is an extraordinary example of the famous Minnewaska barrens: a stark, alien landscape punctuated with scrub pine and blueberries.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Mohonk Resort
Now the Peter’s Kill cuts it’s way gently across the exposed bedrock, babbling softly as it flows.  Continue along the trail, past small waterfalls and inviting wading pools before entering a dense and shady rhododendron  thicket.  The Minnewaska blueberry run trail is just ahead.

Hudson Valley Hiking: Minnewaska
You'll emerge from the thicket suddenly to find yourself standing in another slab barren.  Turn left and follow the Blueberry Run footpath.  This moderate ascent will lead you steadily up the ridge through endless wild blueberry bushes, dwarf pitch pine, and stands of mature mountain laurel.

Hudson Valley Hikers
As you gain elevation, you begin to catch glimpses of the park’s famous ridgeline cliffs, standing in stark contrast to the blue sky.  Now you emerge on a massive rock slab offering a stunning northern view of the Catskills which will leave you breathless.  Don’t be fooled: the best is yet to come.

Minnewaska Ridge Resort
Continue along the Blueberry Run to an open rock ledge at the highest point on the trail, and the Castle Point Carriageway is just ahead.  Turn left onto the Carriageway, and you’ll find yourself emerging at Castle Point, a steep promitory with astonishing panoramic views.

Hiker on Minnewaska Ridge
From here you can see the majesty of the Shawangunks and the Hudson Valley:  Lake Awosting is below, Sam's Point may be seen looking to the southwest, Hamilton Point is ahead, and the sheer cliffs of Gertrude’s Nose may be seen to the east across the dramatic Palmaghatt Ravine.

Hiking Minnewaska Park
Turning right back onto the carriageway, you’ll descend gradually along the ridge, with intermittent viewpoints from along the ledge with gorgeous views of the ravine and the face of Gertrude’s Nose.  Continue to Kempton Ledge and enjoy the view.

Lake Minnewaska with Hiking
Soon, you’ll reach Sky Lake Minnewaska, a crystal clear high-altitude glacier carved lake with dramatic white cliffs rising in sharp contrast to the brilliant sapphire water.  Swimming is allowed in season, and you’ll be thankful for the opportunity to refresh yourself after the long hike.

Hiking at Minnewaska in Hudson Valley
From here, you’ll follow the scenic Sunset Carriageway a short distance back to the gatehouse.  If you have time for a short side excursion before departing, turn right before the gatehouse for a short walk to Awosting Falls, one of the most impressive and iconic images in the park.

The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is just minutes from Minnewaska State park and other popular Hudson Valley hiking areas.  The Mononk Preserve, Sundown Wild Forest, Sam's Point Preserve and the Catskill Forest Preserve are all within easy reach, and each offers visitors exciting opportunities for outdoor adventure.

After a long day on the trail, there's nothing better than a relaxing visit to the spa, and our guests enjoy the use of our Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms as well as our beautiful indoor and outdoor pools!  With a fitness center, tennis and basketball, and a gorgeous 18-hole golf course on site, the Hudson Valley Resort is the perfect place to stay while exploring the Hudson Valley.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing. I had no idea places like this exisited so close to the bronx.

    Will definately be up there for a weekend soon.

    ReplyDelete