With over 22,000 acres of natural beauty, Minnewaska State Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s delight. Tucked into the Shawangunk Mountains in New York’s Ulster County, the park offers a variety of hiking trails of varying lengths and from easy to moderate difficulty, but one of the most remarkable features is the natural beauty of its waterways.
Minnewaska State Park’s lakes are sky lakes, fed only from rainwater and known for their superior clarity. Lake Minnewaska is the largest and best known of the park’s lakes. Park guests can swim in the lake, and changing facilities and restrooms are available. During the summertime a lifeguard watches while park visitors swim. Additionally, there is a boat launch for non-motorized boats, and one of the park’s most popular hiking trails winds for about two miles around the perimeter of this picturesque lake.
A roughly three-mile hike from Lake Minnewaska will bring you to Lake Awosting. Lake Awosting is larger than Lake Minnewaska and also has a designated swimming area with a lifeguard. Swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty.
Pretty Lake Maratanza is just a short hike from the Sam’s Point parking area and close to ice caves and the Verkeerder Kill Falls. Swimming is not permitted at Lake Maratanza.
Minnewaska State Park is home to several spectacular waterfalls. Just a short hike from the main parking lot, Awosting Falls is one of the park’s most striking falls, with water plunging 60 feet over a rocky edge to the river below. A hike along the Rainbow Trail will bring you to Rainbow Falls, not far from Lake Awosting. The Verkerdeer Kill Falls are located near Lake Maratanza, but are on private land so should be admired from the trail.
Check out the park’s trail map to see the different paths available. If you’re heading to the park in winter, cross-country skiing is available if there’s snow on the ground and the icy falls and ice caves are not to be missed.