Main Entrance Project: This project is scheduled to be completed during the Spring of 2017. The new main entrance is now open and all visitors enter the park via this entrance. For the duration of the project, equestrian use will only be permitted on non-holiday weekdays. Bus groups and horse trailers are limited to non-holiday weekday visitation. BUSES AND HORSE TRAILERS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ON WEEKENDS UNTIL THE PROJECT IS COMPLETED.
Stony Kill Area Trail Project: The Stony Kill Area will be closed to all users seven days a week effective April 1, 2017 through the completion of this trail project. Please adhere to all posted closures. Trail Closure Map
Sam's Point Closures & Restrictions: Due to a 2000 acre wildfire earlier this year certain areas and trails of the Sam's Point Area of Minnewaska are closed. Please visit the Sam's Point webpage for more information and an list of the current closures and restrictions.
Active Carriage Road Restoration Projects: Restoration of the Smiley Carriage Road is underway and CLOSED to all users, work is currently underway from Lake Awosting to the Stony Kill, The Smiley Carriage Road is CLOSED TO ALL USERS for the duration of the project. Lower Awosting Carriage Road and short section of Lake Awosting Carriage Road from Dam to Ranger Cabin are the access routes for this project. Please yield to construction equipment in these areas, thank you for your cooperation
Located in Ulster County, NY Minnewaska State Park Preserve is situated on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain. The park features numerous waterfalls, three crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, incising sheer cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful views, clear streams cut into valleys, 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths on which to bike, walk, hike and simply enjoy. And, all this within an hour and a half drive from New York City.
Visitors can also enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, picnicking, scuba-diving, rock-climbing, bouldering, boating and marveling at the scenery. Horseback riding and cross-country ski trails are available as well. Technical Rock Climbing permitted.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve: Sam's Point Area: Sam’s Point Preserve is located on the highest section of the Shawangunk Mountains, is the most southerly section of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. To further explore Sam's Point, visit their calendar of events.
The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground provides a high quality, minimalist camping experience for visitors to the breathtaking Shawangunk Mountains. The tent-only campground includes a pavilion and cooking area, bathhouse and restroom facilities, and circulation trails. There are 24 drive-in spots (one vehicle per site) and 26 walk-in spots. All sites accommodate up to two tents (and four people) per pad. Recreational vehicles are not permitted. Camping is open mid-May through mid-November, weather permitting.
The campground, managed cooperatively by the American Alpine Club and Mohonk Preserve, is located at 953 State Route 299 Gardiner, NY 12525, within a five minute drive of the main entrances of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Campground office hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For additional information, please contact the campground at: (845) 255-0032, or visit the American Alpine Club lodging page at http://lodging.americanalpineclub.org/ and click on the Samuel Pryor Shawangunk Gateway Campground.
For more information and to register for programs, please call the Park Preserve Office at 845-255-0752. The Park Preserve opens daily at 9:00 AM and closing times vary throughout the year. The fee for parking at Minnewaska is $10 per car. There are no additional fees for public programs, unless noted otherwise. Minnewaska State Park Preserve consists of more than 23,000 acres of wild and scenic land located on Route 44/55, five miles west of the intersection with Route 299 in Gardiner, New York.
2015-2016 School Group Environmental Education Programs
Water Quality - Beach Results
Dogs only, must be on a leash not more than 6 feet. Not allowed in buildings, camping, picnic or bathing areas or on walkways. PLEASE NOTE: Pets are NOT permitted on the cross-country ski trails when they are groomed and open for cross-country skiing only.
2016 Swimming Season: Open 6/18 - 9/5, daily 11:15am - 6:45pm
Lake Awosting swimming area:
6/25 -9/5, daily 11:00am - 5:30pm
Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.
The Empire Pass -- whether a card for $80 or a vehicle-affixed decal for $65 -- is your key to all-season enjoyment with unlimited day-use entry at most facilities operated by State Parks and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation including forests, beaches, trails and more. Apply online or contact your favorite park for more information. Learn more about our Admission Programs including the Empire Pass.
$15/day - Adult, $14/day - 17 and under
New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.
Highlights of Minnewaska State Park Preserve:
Look and listen for these birds at our Park:
What will you see? Plan your visit today!
Everyone is a Steward: Be a Minnewaska State Park Hero!
For more information, please read our Trail Tips!
When you enter or leave Lake Minnewaska or Lake Awosting:
Ask a Naturalist!
Q: What should I do if there is moss on my climbing route?
A: Leave it alone! Lichens, ferns and mosses are slow-growing. A palm-sized patch of smooth rock tripe, one of the largest lichen species, can be up to seventy-five years old.
Q: What kind of common snakes are found in the Park Preserve?
A: The northern water snake, often seen along the lake edge, and the black rat snake are the two most common, non-venomous snakes found at Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The timber rattlesnake (listed in New York as a threatened species) and the northern copperhead are the only venomous snakes here, but they are rarely seen. Like all snakes, they are unlikely to attack unless provoked. Please do not harass snakes and always keep your distance and respect any wildlife you may come across.
Q: I haven't been to Minnewaska State Park Preserve in 10 years or more and I noticed that Lake Minnewaska looks different. What has changed?
A: The pH of the lake has increased, making it less acidic and allowing the survival of an introduced bait fish, the golden shiner. These fish eat zooplankton (tiny aquatic animals), who in turn eat phytoplankton (microscopic aquatic plants). As the population of zooplankton has decreased, there has been an increase in the abundance of algae, which greatly reduces water clarity. NYS Parks staff have been working in coordination with SUNY New Paltz, DEC, and Mohonk Preserve scientists to study these changes and propose management activities to restore the quality of the lake. To see a scientific poster on Lake Minnewaska’s trophic changes, click here.
Please help us take care of the lake: don't dump fish or other animals in the lake and clean your boat prior to putting it in the water.
Q: I just saw a black bear on the trail, what should I do?
A: Be cautious when encountering any wildlife; do not harass wildlife and give them lots of space. Most bears will run away when they encounter a person. Be especially cautious if you come across a female bear with cubs, as she is more likely to be aggressive to protect her young. A general rule of thumb for bear encounters is to quietly back away, do not make eye contact and do not get between cubs and their mother. You can help to avoid potential contact with bears by carrying-out your empty food and beverage containers. Litter can attract bears and increase the likelihood of a negative interaction.
Q: How do I prepare for a visit to Minnewaska?
A: Minnewaska is essentially a wild land with few amenities for park visitors. A food vendor is here on weekends from May through October. The only public bathrooms with potable water are in the Peter’s Kill Climbing Area, one mile east of the main park entrance. Please come prepared with enough food and water to sustain yourself for your visit and wear good walking shoes. Also, to avoid getting lost, plan out your route using a trail map, allowing enough time to complete your outing. Bring the trail map, a compass, a flashlight and a first aid kit along with you.
DID YOU KNOW?
Key BCA Criteria:
- Migratory concentration site
- Diverse species concentration site
- Species at risk site
- Bird research site
The Minnewaska BCA is located within the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The Preserve is located on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The Minnewaska BCA has many spectacular rock formations, soaring precipices, windswept ledges with pine barrens, fast-flowing mountain streams, mountain lakes and several scenic waterfalls. The BCA is especially important for its unfragmented forest, which supports a high diversity of forest-dwelling bird species, and for its partnership with researches studying birds and their habitats. The Nature Conservancy has designated the entire ridge as one of the "Last Great Places." The Shawangunks, including Minnewaska, are one of the highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation in the northeastern United States. The Minnewaska BCA is part of the Northern Shawangunk Mountains Important Bird Area.
Minnewaska is part of a migratory corridor that exists along the entire upland plateau of the Northern Shawangunks. It is an exceptional example of a characteristic higher elevation forest community with a high diversity of forest dwelling species. The BCA includes birds of forest habitat including breeding Northern Saw-whet Owl, Black-and-white Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Canada Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Northern Flicker and Scarlet Tanager; and breeding shrub/scrub species Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Gray Catbird, Indigo Bunting and Prairie Warbler. Species at risk include a pair of Peregrine Falcons (Endangered) that nest on the cliff face.
Download a copy of the BCA map.
Deer hunting is allowed in specific sections of the park during season. Minnewaska's hunting dates coincide with the NYS DEC hunting dates. Bow, rifle/shotgun/pistol and muzzleloader hunting is permitted. Anyone interested in hunting on Minnewaska State Park Preserve lands must get a free hunting permit, which can be obtained by either calling (845-255-0752) or by stopping by the park preserve office (between 9:00am and 4:30pm, 7 days a week) and completing the application. All hunters must have purchased their hunting licenses first because back tag numbers will be needed for the permit application. After hunting season ends, all hunters will be sent a questionnaire to complete and send back to the park by the 15th of January.
Are you interested in birds or birdwatching? Join Nick Martin, Park Educator, in this first installment of a two-part series. In this first segment, we will discuss some birding basics to get you started, including habitat, unique bird characteristics, methods of identifying birds, binoculars and tips on resources to continue your birding education. Interested participants are welcome to attend one or both programs. For more information, please contact the Gardiner Library directly at 845-255-1255.
Join Nick Martin, Park Educator, for this roughly eight mile journey mainly along Blueberry Run Footpath with a shorter section along Castle Point Carriage Road. Starting from the Awosting Parking Area, participants will hike along the easy-going Lower Awosting Carriage Road until the intersection with Blueberry Run Footpath. From there, we will hike most of Blueberry Run Footpath toward Castle Point Carriage Road, which ascends about 600 feet in elevation over the course of two miles. Castle Point is a scenic vista that offers amazing views of the surrounding Park Preserve land and the greater Hudson Valley. From Castle Point, we will walk towards Lake Minnewaska on the Castle Point Carriage Road, which offers many sweeping, scenic vistas along the way. Once at Lake Minnewaska, we will walk a short section of the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road until the intersection with Sunset Carriage Road, which will leave us a short distance from the parking area where we started. The footpath sections of this hike may include some challenging terrain, such as slippery rocks, exposed tree roots and a stream crossing. This outing will meet in the Awosting Parking Area.
Do you like to hike but wish you knew more about how to be safe and prepared in the woods? Do you want to learn how to read trail maps, figure out what to pack when you hike, and how to tread lightly on the land? Join Gary Natalie, volunteer at Minnewaska State Park Preserve and New York State Licensed Guide, to learn all this and more. For more information, please contact the Gardiner Library directly at 845-255-1255.
Volunteers will be repairing a section of the Millbrook Mountain Footpath. Our intention is to make the trail safer for all users, while preserving its rugged nature. Volunteers will begin at the southern end of Lake Minnewaska, where volunteers will hike to the work areas on this footpath. Trail work projects may include clipping overgrown vegetation, brushing in widened trails, filling in low areas using crushed rock, creating stepping stones, building water bars and more. Some tasks will be physically demanding and may involve lifting and bending as well as using hand tools, such as loppers, shovels, rock bars and sledge hammers. This volunteer opportunity is appropriate for adults and children who are at least twelve years old, accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 18. Meeting Location: Lake Minnewaska.
Volunteers will enhance sections of the Blueberry Run Footpath by clipping back overgrown vegetation along the sides of the trail with hand clippers. Starting at the intersection of Blueberry Run Footpath and Upper Awosting Carriage Road, volunteers will hike a half mile of this footpath, clipping back vegetation as needed. This volunteer opportunity is appropriate for adults and children who are at least seven years old, accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 18.