Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

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Be advised, to encourage social distancing and help stop the spread of COVID-19, many parks have reduced parking by 50% and local roads may have closures in effect. Many popular parks will fill to capacity by noon and close early to incoming visitors and traffic. Closures will be posted here and on our homepage. For real-time traffic updates visit: https://www.511ny.org/#:Alerts.

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. Alternative destinations can be searched at https://parks.ny.gov/parks/ and https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/82098.html 

Park Opens at 9 am and closes at 7 pm. Gates lock so you must be out of the park by 7 pm

Minnewaska's parking capacity is reduced due to construction, all visitors must be out of the park by 7pm so night project can start daily.

The Stony Kill Area and Foordmore Area are closed until further notice, access and parking are NOT permitted in these areas.

Minnewaska is closed to buses and equestrian use until further notice. Groups over 25 must obtain a Group Permit from the park office before they visit Minnewaska

 Please remember that while visiting any park, it should be for solitary recreation.

Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others and where crowds are forming, choose a different park.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve has adopted a new ebike policy effective April 1, 2020. Class 2 and Class 3 Ebikes are not permitted at Minnewaska.

The transformation of our visitor experience is underway.  Phase 2 will be ongoing through the 2020 season and will include formalized parking, better vehicular and visitor circulation, pedestrian access paths, improve ADA accessibility, and the construction of Minnewaska's Visitor Center. The park IS open during construction, we have a dramatically reduced parking capacity, please plan to arrive early to the park.

Visitor Center Construction

Trail Stewards Wanted: We are seeking volunteers to help protect the fragile footpaths in the Park Preserve. Learn more

Type 2 and Type 3 Ebikes are not permitted. Barbequing/Cooking is not permitted at any location within Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The use of drones is prohibited at Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Amplified music is prohibited throughout the park preserve.

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

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.

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 the cross-country ski trails when they are groomed and open for cross-country skiing only.

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

Hours of Operation

  • Park Preserve Hours: The hours of operation at this facility have been changed, temporarily. The current operating hours are 9am to 7pm (gates lock at 7PM you must be out of the park by this time)

    Swimming Hours

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

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

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:

    3/8/20: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
    4/6/20: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
    6/1/20: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
    7/27/20: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
    9/8/20: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
    10/5/20: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
    11/1/20: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Bus Permits:
    Bus permits (non-profit): $60
    Bus permits (commercial): $100
  • 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 and camp on established, durable trails and campsites.
  • Do not throw rocks over the edge.
  • Be careful with your fire.
  • 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 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.

Tue 04 Aug
Minnewaska Junior Naturalists Hiking Preparedness for Families
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 09:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Have you ever wondered how you might survive a challenging situation while hiking? Do you know what tools to put in your backpack to help you in case you get lost, run out of water or have an injury? Join Gary Natalie, Licensed New York State Guide and Leave No Trace Master Educator for a lesson on how to be prepared for any situation you may encounter while on the trail. You'll see first-hand the tools to put in your backpack and how to use them, plus, you'll get to ask Gary for his expert advice. This informative presentation will be followed by a scenic hike down to the cool Peter's Kill stream. This program is geared towards children over the age of ten years old, but younger children who are interested may attend. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian over the age of 18 years old. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to ten individuals. All participants must wear face coverings or keep a minimum six foot distance away from others who are not part of your immediate household. Meet at the Peter's Kill Area. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required
Wed 05 Aug
Junior Naturalists at Minnewaska Blueberry Bonanza Hike
Wednesday, August 5, 2020 09:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Join Park Educators for a fun and delicious hike to pick wild blueberries. We'll lead you to all the best spots for picking these summer time treats on a two-mile loop hike that includes views of the Catskill Mountains. Participants may bring a one quart container in which to collect berries, which can be washed and eaten safely at home. Interested participants can also take a short detour, on their own, to view the nearby ponds. These small pools are teeming with life, including frogs, whirligig beetles, dragonflies and more. Space near the ponds is limited and social distancing would not be possible with a group, but those bringing their own nets can take turns exploring them on their own. This program is recommended for six to ten-year-old children, accompanied by a parent or legal guardian over the age of 18. Well behaved younger siblings are always welcome. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to ten individuals. All participants must wear face coverings or keep a minimum six foot distance away from others who are not part of your immediate household. Meet at the Minnewaska Nature Center. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required
Sat 08 Aug
Jenny Lane Loop Hike
Saturday, August 8, 2020 09:30 AM - 02:30 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Join Sarah LaLumiere, SCA/AmeriCorp Member for a hike along the Jenny Lane section of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail and the Blueberry Run Footpaths, through a section of forest that was burned during the 2008 forest fire. This route brings hikers to the verdant Mossy Glen Footpath, which follows along the edge of the Peter's Kill stream. This loop hike will finish up with a one-mile hike on the Wawarsing Turnpike Footpath, a section of the toll road built in the 1850s that crossed the Shawangunk Ridge. This five-mile long hike includes some hilly sections, two stream crossings and lots of walking on exposed bedrock. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to nine individuals. All participants must wear face coverings or keep a minimum six foot distance away from others who are not part of your immediate household. This outing meets at the Awosting Parking Area. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required
Sun 09 Aug
Hike through the Cool Forest on the Mossy Glen Footpath at Minnewaska
Sunday, August 9, 2020 09:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
(845) 255-0752

Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator, for this approximately four-mile hike along the Peter's Kill stream, through mixed forests and across exposed, quartz conglomerate rock. The first part of this hike will take participants on the easy-to-walk Lower Awosting Carriage Road. The return trip will follow along the full length of the beautiful Mossy Glen Footpath, which is just under two miles. The footpath may include challenging conditions for some, including slippery rocks and tree roots. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to ten individuals. All participants must wear face coverings or keep a minimum six foot distance away from others who are not part of your immediate household. Meet in the Awosting Parking Area Information Kiosk. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required
Tue 11 Aug
Tuesday Trek: Stroll along the Gorgeous Hamilton Point Carriage Road at Minnewaska
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 09:30 AM - 01:00 PM
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
(845) 255-0752

One of our favorite routes in the Park Preserve is Hamilton Point Carriage Road, site of numerous porcupine and raptor sightings and stunning, cliff-edge views of the Palmaghatt Ravine. Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator, for a walk along the west side of Lake Minnewaska and out past the start of the Palmaghatt Ravine to reach Echo Rock. If time allows, we'll also take a peak at two other scenic vistas. This easy walk will be approximately five miles roundtrip. Due to COVID protocols, the total number of participants for this program is limited to twelve individuals. All participants must wear face coverings or keep a minimum six foot distance away from others who are not part of your immediate household. Meet at the Minnewaska Nature Center. Pre-registration is required by calling Minnewaska at 845-255-0752.
Registration: Required

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Did You Know? Minnewaska State Park was home to Ski Minne, a unique ski resort, from approx. 1964 to 1978.

Amenities Information