There is a ton to do at this park, with its numerous carriage roads and footpaths for hikes, horseback riding, biking, and trail runs. The beautiful and picturesque Lake Minnewaska is prime for swimming and summer day camp excursions.
Minnewaska State Park is located in Ulster County along the Shawangunk Mountain range. The drive out from Manhattan is about two hours, so plan to make at least a day of it when you go.
There is a ton to do at this park, with its numerous carriage roads and footpaths for hikes, horseback riding, biking, and trail runs. The beautiful and picturesque Lake Minnewaska is prime for swimming and summer day camp excursions. And there are countless areas for picnicking and relaxing, or even rock climbing for the day trip adventurer (a permit is needed to climb).
The park itself is quite big and rather developed, so definitely expect to see a good amount of people around if you plan on making the road trip. The fee to enter and park is $10, and you should be mindful that there are permit required areas of the park. But, a trip to the park office near Peterskill will sort you out.
What Makes It Great
The setting along the Shawangunk Mountains, or the Gunks as the locals refer to it, is unbeatable. On any given trail, expect to see turn offs for gorgeous overlooks and vista points. The running and hiking options here are vast and offer many of the aforementioned spectacular views.
If you are looking for a nice, moderate-to-easy 3.5 mile loop for either a trail run or downhill rocky hike/bouldering there is a great one here. Start at the base of the Lake Minnewaska (LM) carriage road (near the Nature Center) and follow that along the cliff range surrounding the lake. LM will eventually join up with the Millbrook Mountain footpath (MM), and loop around to join up with the Millbrook Mountain Carriage road (MC). This will take you back to the LM carriage road you started and back to the parking lot.
For longer, more strenuous routes, try the nine-mile Mossy Glen (MG) to Blueberry Run to Castle Point (CP), or check out the eight-mile Gertrude's Nose Loop to Millbrook Mountain (MM). The park is very well mapped out, with many signs and markers to help you plot the best route to suit your day’s desires.
Who is Going to Love It
Families looking for a relaxing day in the outdoors to picnic or play a pick-up game of kickball. The park is also perfect for people in any sort of fitness training regimen, as they’ll be able to access several swimming and trail running options. The carriage roads are easy on the knees because most of them are gravel paved and well-maintained.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The address listed online for the park is 5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446, but the main entrance is actually about 3-4 miles up the road from this. Just follow Route 44 up until you see the big sign for the park entrance. There is a group of Porta Potties near the parking lot/Nature Center.