Main Entrance Project: Throughout the Fall season, access detours and trail closures may be in place. Please check back for updates or call the park office: 845-255-0752. 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.
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, from Lake Awosting to the Fly Brook, for the duration of the project. Future closures of the area will be announced as necessary. 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.
Visitors may wish to consider alternate travel routes to get to the Shawangunk Ridge Region during the busy fall season 10/1 through 10/30. Please click here for a list of options.
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.
Your key to all season enjoyment of state parks is our season's pass. For $65, the Empire Passport provides you unlimited day use vehicle entry into most of our parks. Apply on-line or call your favorite park for more information.
$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.
Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator, for a day spent outside admiring the views from the cliffs of Castle Point Carriage Road and Rainbow Falls Footpath. This approximately eight mile long hike offers bird's eye views of Lake Awosting and panoramic views of Sam's Point Preserve and the Wallkill Valley. The carriage roads are modest walking, but the footpath component of this hike does include tricky footing, rocky surfaces and hills. If the fall leaves are still colorful, this will be a particularly beautiful route.
Designed for birding enthusiasts or those just looking to learn the basics, this series will offer various outings led by experienced birding volunteers and park naturalists. Participants will meet at the Minnewaska main entrance and should come prepared with binoculars. Outing destinations will be determined the day of the program.
Come explore most of the High Peter's Kill Footpath on this approximately five mile hike. We'll start by walking downhill on the High Peter's Kill Footpath, which features a variety of terrain, along a cliff escarpment with numerous, scenic viewpoints. For our return trip, we'll walk along the easy-going Awosting Falls Carriage Road, past the beautiful and iconic Awosting Falls. This hike does include rocky, narrow sections of trail that may be challenging for some. Please note: This outing location may need to change if road construction restricts access to the trails. Meet in the Awosting Parking Area.
Join park educators for an exciting excursion on an assortment of historic carriage roads and footpaths to explore some of the lesser-traversed sections of the Park Preserve. For this approximately eight mile hike, participants will hike Mossy Glen Footpath, Lower Awosting Carriage Road, Rainbow Falls Footpath, Scenic Trail Footpath and Lake Awosting Carriage Road. We'll begin our hike on Mossy Glen Footpath and make our way over to Rainbow Falls Footpath via Blueberry Run Footpath, Jenny Lane Footpath and Lower Awosting Carriage Road. Rainbow Falls features interesting backcountry terrain and has a spectacular view of the Catskill Mountains. At the intersection of Castle Point, we'll wander down to the Scenic Trail, walking past Margaret Cliff and Murray Hill on the way to the southwest end of Lake Awosting. From here, we'll continue around Lake Awosting on the Lake Awosting Carriage Road and return on Lower Awosting Carriage Road, which is an easy stroll back to the parking area. This outing includes some hiking over rock slabs, tree roots, a stream crossing and a rock scrambling section, which some hikers may find challenging. Participants must come with appropriate footwear and enough food and water to sustain themselves for the day. Meet in the Awosting Parking Area.
The first part of this approximately five mile hike, is on the Mossy Glen Footpath, which follows along the edges of the Peter's Kill, a cool mountain stream that cuts through white, quartz conglomerate rock. We'll walk through a richly varied forest until the trail intersects the Blueberry Run Footpath, which we'll follow until we reach the Upper Awosting Carriage Road. We'll walk this to reach Scenic Sunset Carriage Road and return to our starting point. The footpath does include some tricky footing, including potentially slippery rocks and tree roots. Meet at the Awosting Parking Area.