New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains provide access to what many consider some of the best hiking in the Northeastern United States. Though the surrounding Catskills boast peaks reaching over 3,500 feet, the ‘Gunks’ offer hundreds of additional hiking miles. Cliffs, rivers, and historic cabins line hiking trails that meander through the lush, rich forests of Shawangunk country. These top hikes in the area will surely keep any visitor or local busy once they lace up their hiking boots.
Mohonk’s Duck Pond
A gorgeous half-day walk brings hikers to Mohonk’s Duck Pond, where families and individuals alike can find escape from life’s daily routine. Many alternative trails break off from the main route, giving hikers options to explore the lush forest around them. The hike to the Duck Pond is particularly beautiful in the Autumn season, when the trees supply endless hues of yellow, red, and orange.
Undercliff/Overcliff Carriage Roads Loop
This easy/moderate hike brings adventurers under and over cliffs and vistas, offering spectacular views of the surrounding valley and forest. For those looking for an added thrill, many of the cliffs in the area attract rock climbers of varying skill levels. Hikers can observe these climbers as they make their way up the Mohonk Preserve cliffs.
The vista from Bonticou Crag is one of the most beautiful places in the Hudson Valley. A challenging rock scramble leads hikers to the crag, where their reward is a surrounding view unseen by hikers on lower trails. This is a difficult hike involving steep climbs and precarious boulder-hopping, but the end product is well worth the challenge of getting there.
From ponds to forests to rocky outcroppings, the ever-changing landscape of the Shawangunk Mountains offers hiking options unlike any other in the surrounding areas. Whether hiking with a family for an afternoon or on a solo rock climbing adventure, the region has something for everyone looking to get outside in upstate New York.