We’re all craving the great outdoors a little bit more than usual lately. Hiking has become the latest big craze, which means that we’re all looking for new routes to explore and mountains to conquer!
If you’re thinking about hiking Mohonk in New York’s Hudson Valley, you’ve come to the right place.
There are 85 miles of winding hiking trails to experience, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced.
How to get to the Mohonk Preserve
Start by driving up the NY thruway to Exit 18 – New Paltz, stop for breakfast in this quaint college town, pack a picnic lunch and head up to the Mohonk Preserve.
You can’t miss it… aim for the tower set atop the alabaster cliffs of limestone.
The preserve is a world-renowned Mecca for rock climbers.
As you make your way up the winding Route 55, keep your eyes on the road. It is hard to resist the temptation to watch the colorful climbers on their precarious routes. Park at the West Trapps Trailhead Lot, our stepping off point for the Undercliff Carriage Road where our hike begins.
While hiking Mohonk, you’ll be up-close and personal with the rock rats – Men, women, and children weighted down heavily with a variety of packs, clinking climbing gear strapped to every part of their body, looking more like walking hardware stores than outdoorsmen. Coils of rope swung bandolier style across both shoulders complete the uniform.
However, we are here to hike. As you march further along Undercliff, you will soon lose sight and be out of earshot of the shouting … “On belay!”, “Climbing!”, “I can’t go any higher” (fearfully), “Bring your left foot up”.
Two miles from your start, you will come to a junction – Left takes you to the heavily travelled Overcliff Road.
The right leads you off to…somewhere.
Stay straight which leads you through the cool valley of Laurel Ledge a canyon that immerses you in a blanket of greenery…mountain laurel and rhododendron.
The cool damp air embraces and refreshes you. After some smaller cliffs on your left you will come to the road less travelled – the Old Minnewaska Trail. A gradual climb brings you to a middle level of the ridge. Invisibly above, The Overcliff Road parallels your trek.
The air is decidedly warmer as heat radiates off the rock slabs and the scent of pines float on the wind, like dragon’s breath. Two miles later, you reach Split Rock, a cleaved limestone that channels the —-creek—-. It was once used a sluice for a sawmill.
Turn left onto the Red Trail for a short, but steeper uphill hike back to your starting point at the parking lot.
This 5-mile hike is just one of the 70 miles of carriage roads and trails available at the preserve.
Don’t forget to bring your camera when hiking Mohonk!
About the Mohonk Preserve
Hours of Operation:
Open 365 days a year, sunrise to sunset. Hiking is permitted during daylight hours, from 7am to dusk.
Mohonk Hiking trail fees:
April – November
$29 – per adult (ages 13+)
$24 – per child (ages 4 – 12)
At this stage, all hikers MUST purchase their hiking passes online. Your hiking pass includes access to the hiking trails on Mohonk Mountain House property.
Upon arrival, you will have your temperature screened. All day hikers are required to wear masks while hiking Mohonk and hikers are required to physically distance themselves of at least 6 feet from other hikers.
Getting to the trail:
Take the New Paltz exit 18 off of the NYS Thruway. Go 7 miles west (through New Paltz) on Route 299 to the end: make right on Route 44-55.
To prepare for your day of hiking, we recommend that you bring a packed meal, bottled water, rain gear, and headlamp. You can also read our post on the best hiking gear.