Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

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Minnewaska-- Trail Closure

Hamilton Point Carriage Road is closed to all users until further notice due to storm damage

Address
5281 Route 44-55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
Latitude 41.735149
Longitude -74.239037


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:  There are no trash cans at this park preserve, please carry in and carry out everything you bring to the park. Amplified Music and drones are NOT permitted.  

Lake Minnewaska and Sam's Point are experiencing extensive congestion on good-weather days and both sites are subject to intermittent closures as parking lots reach capacity. Please respect our neighbors and surrounding communities: DO NOT park on adjacent roadway shoulders.

Trail Closures: Stony Kill Carriage Road

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 24,000 acres of wild and scenic land located on Route 44/55, five miles west of the intersection with Route 299 in Gardiner, New York.

Water Quality -Beach Results

 

 

Pet Policy: 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 beaches or on the cross-country ski trails when they are groomed and open for cross-country skiing only.  Please clean up after your dog and dispose of properly.

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 893 New Paltz, NY 12561

Hours of Operation

  • Park Preserve Hours: The current operating hours are 9 AM to 7 PM (gates lock at 7 PM - you must be out of the park by this time)

    Swimming Hours (June 19 - Labor Day) Pets are not permitted on Beaches

    Minnewaska Beach: 11:15am to 6:45pm

    Awosting Beach: 11:00am to 5:30pm

    *Swimming is permitted at designated lifeguarded beaches only

Fees & Rates

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 easy-to-use Empire Pass card is $80- and 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. Purchase online or contact your favorite park for more information. Learn more about our Admission Programs including the Empire Pass.

  • Vehicle Entry Fee
  • $10 per vehicle

    Collected Beginning:

    3/14/21 – 4/4/21: 9am – 7pm
    4/5/21 – 6/6/21: 9am – 8pm
    6/7/21 – 8/1/21: 9am – 9pm
    8/2/21 – 9/6/21: 9am – 8pm
    9/7/21 – 10/11/21: 9am – 7pm
    10/12/21 – 11/6/21: 9am – 6pm
    11/7/21 – 3/13/22: 9am - 5pm

    Bus Permits:
    Bus permits (non-profit): $60
    Bus permits (commercial): $100
    Bus permits Not Scheduled in Advance: $150
  • Permits
  • Boat Permits:
    Seasonal Boat Permit: $30
    Daily Boat Permit: $5

    Horseback Riding:
    Horseback Riding Day Permit: $5
    Horseback Riding Season Permit: $20

    Scuba Diving Permit:
    Scuba Diving Season Permit: $20
  • Picnicking
  • Tent Rental: $200
    Site Fee: $200
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rock Climbing Day Pass:  $10
    Rock Climbing Season Pass:  $90
  • Tent Rental
  • 20x20 Tent Rental:  $200
  • Winter Fees
  • Ski fees:
    $10 - Adult, $9 - Senior, $7 - Junior (17 and under)

    Snowshoe rental:
    $15/day - Adult, $14/day - 17 and under

Highlights of Minnewaska State Park Preserve:

  • All along the trails and cliff edges of Minnewaska, visitors may encounter a globally rare forest of pitch pines. These evergreen trees, most often found in sand dunes along coastal areas, are uniquely adapted to survive and thrive from forest fires. Mountain laurel bushes, whose gorgeous pink and white flowers are abundant along trails in mid-June are often found in these same forests.
  • The Shawangunk Ridge, a 500 foot tall, prominent cliff that rises from the Hudson Valley, west of New Paltz, is comprised of extremely hard quartz rock. This white rock, which survived the erosive forces of glaciation, is covered with clues to that past. Look for numerous parallel scratches called glacial striations, patches of glossy, smooth rock called glacial polish, half-circle gouges called chatter marks and oddly-placed boulders called glacial erratics.
  • Minnewaska's striking geological formations also make it a world-class rock climbing site.
  • Minnewaska State Park Preserve is home to three sky lakes, with life guarded swimming areas in Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting during the summer swimming season. A sky lake is a pristine and often unusually clear lake that is fed only from rain water.
  • The Shawangunk Ridge is an important corridor for migrating raptors. A well-timed fall visit to Minnewaska may yield sightings of kettles of raptors, which are large congregations of these predacious birds travelling south together. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is home to a Bird Conservation Area (BCA). Bring your binoculars and see what you can find!
  • The Education Department at Minnewaska offers environmental education and recreation programming for all ages, year-round. We will gladly design and lead an education program specifically to fit the needs of your club, school group or other organization and you pay only the parking fee. Call or write today at 845-255-0752 or laura.conner@parks.ny.gov.

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!

  • Know the rules and concerns for the area you'll be visiting.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Respect other visitors and their experience. Avoid excessive noise.
  • Share the trail. Keep to the right except to pass. When in doubt, give the other user the right of way. Warn people when you are planning to pass.
  • Respect wildlife and observe from a distance
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Use extra caution when using headphones. You may not be able to hear warnings.
  • Don't litter.
  • Hike on established designated trails.
  • Do not throw rocks over the edge.
  • Do not move firewood between parks or transport it over large distances

For more information, please read our Trail Tips!

When you enter or leave Lake Minnewaska or Lake Awosting:

  • Clean and remove all visible plants, animals, fish and mud from your boat, trailer and other equipment and dispose of it in a suitable trash container or on dry land.
  • Drain water from bilge, live wells, ballast tanks and any other locations with water before leaving the launch. Disinfect when possible.
  • Dry your boat, trailer and all equipment completely. At least 5 days of drying time is recommended. Drying times vary depending on weather and material.

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?

  • Minnewaska was originally built as a resort by Alfred Smiley in the 1870s, complete with two hotels and many amenities. However, Minnewaska was also designed to be a nature preserve. Its carriage roads and trails offered visitors the chance to enjoy and appreciate nature, setting the stage for its current incarnation as New York's largest state Park Preserve at 22,000 acres.
  • Rock climbing on the Shawangunk Mountains began in 1935, when Fritz Wiessner established the "Old Route," the first rock-climbing route on the Ridge on Millbrook Mountain.
  • Lake Minnewaska historically supported a population of sphagnum moss that lived underwater. The moss was estimated to grow as deep as 36 feet.
  • The forests of Minnewaska have been intentionally burned by humans for hundreds of years, dating back to the Native Americans. Fire eliminates forest understory plants, such as shrubs and low growing trees, creating a more open forest which is better for hunting and travelling. More recently, up until the 1960s, fires were set by local residents referred to as the huckleberry pickers, in order to promote the growth of blueberry bushes, which were then harvested and sold in markets as far away as New York City.
  • A five foot tall pitch pine tree can be over 300 years old!

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 areas of the park preserve during hunting season.  Minnewaska's hunting dates coincide with the NYS DEC hunting dates. Bow, rifle/shotgun/pistol, crossbow and muzzleloader hunting is permitted. Anyone interested in hunting on Minnewaska State Park Preserve lands must get a free hunting permit.  Permits for Minnewaska and the Sam's Point Area can be obtained by completing the application under the attachments tab and emailing over to Terri.McNeil@parks.ny.gov.  If you complete your application this way your permit will be sent back to you electronically or you can mail your completed application to one of the addresses listed below. 

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, PO Box 893, New Paltz, NY 12561   Attn:  Terri McNeil

Sam's Point Preserve, PO Box 86, Cragsmoor, NY 12486

All hunters must have their current hunting license first because we require your NYS Hunting License ID # on the application.  Your license ID # is shown directly under your printed name on your carcass tags or at a 90° angle on the right side of your license.  It is not your DOC #.  Failure to provide the correct number will void your permit.  After hunting season ends, all hunters are required to complete and send back the park questionnaire by 1/15/22.  

In-person permits will not be issued this year due to COVID.

Fri 24 Sep
Birding at the Gardiner Library
Friday, September 24, 2021 08:00 AM - 09:30 AM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Are you interested in birds or birdwatching? Join Nick Martin, Park Educator, for bird walks starting at the Gardiner Library every Friday during September. During this program, we will take an approximately one-mile walk on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and wander through Majestic Park, which can be muddy and wet. Participants are encouraged to wear waterproof boots or shoes, and bring binoculars and a birding field guide, or a smart device with a field guide installed. Interested participants are welcome to attend one or all Friday programs. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to nine individuals. All unvaccinated participants are encouraged to wear face coverings and keep a minimum six-foot distance away from others who are not part of your immediate household. Meet at the Gardiner Library parking area. For more information and to pre-register, please contact the Gardiner Library directly at 845-255-1255.
Tue 28 Sep
Early Morning Birders at Minnewaska
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 08:00 AM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
2021 marks the return of this ever-popular program, led by Scott Baldinger, well-known Hudson Valley birder. Designed for both birding enthusiasts and those just looking to learn the basics, this series will offer various outings led by Scott or other experienced birding volunteers. Participants should bring binoculars and water and wear hiking shoes. Outing destinations will be determined the day of the program. Poor weather conditions will trigger a program cancellation. Participants MUST arrive 15 minutes PRIOR to the start of the program. The Park Preserve gates will be locked at 8:00 am. Late arrivals will NOT be allowed in the Park Preserve. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to 25 individuals. All unvaccinated participants are encouraged to wear face coverings and keep a minimum six-foot distance away from others who are not part of their immediate household. Additionally, all unvaccinated visitors should wear a mask when inside buildings. Meet at the Main Entrance. For questions, please call Scott Baldinger at 845-888-2333. This program is set up on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tue 28 Sep
Tuesday Trek: Out and Back to Gertrude’s Nose at Minnewaska
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 09:30 AM - 02:30 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator and Vanessa Pagano, Student Conservation Association/AmeriCorps Member, for an adventurous, six-mile hike to Gertrude's Nose and back on the same route. This footpath, which traverses an escarpment edge, offers one of the most expansive views in Minnewaska. From our start at Lake Minnewaska, this route will follow Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road to Gertrude's Nose Footpath, which offers broad views of the Wallkill Valley, Taconic Mountains and beyond. This modestly challenging hike includes a steep rock scramble, a few hills and some tricky footing. Participants must bring water, snacks and lunch and wear appropriate hiking shoes. All unvaccinated participants are encouraged to wear face coverings and keep a minimum six-foot distance away from others who are not part of their immediate household. Additionally, all unvaccinated visitors should wear a mask when inside buildings. Meet at the Lake Minnewaska Visitor Center. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required
Thu 07 Oct
Minnewaska Homeschoolers: Autumn Leaves Identification and Craft
Thursday, October 7, 2021 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
(845) 255-0752

Join other homeschoolers on a two-mile hike around Lake Minnewaska to collect colorful, fallen leaves, learning about the trees they've come from along the way. Back at the Nature Center, we'll demonstrate two simple methods to preserve leaves that can be done at home: pressing and using polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. We'll try our hand at these methods with the leaves we collected earlier. These colorful, preserved leaves are perfect for use in scrapbooks and as fall decorations! This program is recommended for children over the age of seven, accompanied by a parent or legal guardian over the age of 18. Well-behaved younger siblings are always welcome to join the program. The total number of participants for this program is limited to twelve individuals. Meet at the Minnewaska Visitor Center. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required
Thu 04 Nov
Minnewaska Homeschoolers: The Story of the Wild Turkey
Thursday, November 4, 2021 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
(845) 255-0752

Join other homeschoolers to learn about the importance of the American wild turkey throughout human history. From its significance to native people, to its role as the symbol of Thanksgiving, to the success of conservation efforts over the past decades. We will make pinecone turkeys to take home! The program will end with a short hike to look for signs of turkeys and other birds. This program is recommended for children over the age of nine, accompanied by a parent or legal guardian over the age of 18. Well-behaved younger siblings are always welcome to join the program. The total number of participants for this program is limited to fifteen individuals. Meet at the Minnewaska Visitors Center. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required

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Did You Know? Native Americans used to use the valleys east of the Shawangunk Ridge to grow maize.

Amenities Information