Current Park Notices:
A 2000 acre wildfire had forced the closure of Minnewaska State Park Preserve since Sunday April 24, 2016. Minnewaska will re-open to the public on Saturday April 30th, with the following RESTRICTIONS:
Closures are noted on the map. These restrictions are in place for your safety and the protection of sensitive resources; please stay out of closed areas. Map of Closures
Minnewaska's main entrance is undergoing a major capital improvement, starting Monday April 4, 2016, and will continue into the Fall season. Access detours and trail closures may be in place, at times, during the project. Please check here for updates to this project, or contact the park office with questions. For the duration of the project, equestrian use will only be permitted on non-holiday weekdays. Bus groups will also be limited to non-holiday weekday visitation. BUSES AND HORSE TRAILERS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ON WEEKENDS.
Work on the Upper Awosting Carriage Road is scheduled to be completed this April, from the Rainbow Falls Footpath to the Lake Awosting Carriage Road intersection. This carriage road will remain open while park staff complete this restoration. Patrons should exercise caution and yield to heavy equipment and trucks, as necessary.
Restoration of the Smiley Carriage Road has begun and it will be CLOSED to all users, from Lake Awosting to the Fly Brook, for the duration of the project. Future closures, of additional sections of the Smiley Carriage Road, will be announced as required during the remainder of the restoration project.
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.
NEW - Campground Opening at Minnewaska State Park May 15, 2015
The new 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 will be open May 15, 2015 through mid-November 2015, weather permitting.
The campground, managed cooperatively by the American Alpine Club and Mohonk Preserve, is located on Route 299 within a five minute drive of the main entrances of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. 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 https://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/gunks-campgroundCarriage Road restoration work continues throughout the park preserve. Thank you for your cooperation and support of restoring the historic carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve. If you would like to make a donation for the carriage road restoration work, please contact the Palisades Parks Conservancy
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.
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.
2015 Swimming Season: Open 8/17 - 9/7
*Lake Awosting swimming area closed 8/31-9/4
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.
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.
Join Nick Martin, Park Educator, in this first installment of a three-part series offered through the Ellenville Library on three consecutive Fridays. In this first segment, we will focus on habitat, visual identification and bird song. During the course of this series, we will talk about habitat, unique bird characteristics, methods of identifying birds, binoculars, tips on resources for continuing your birding education and take a local birding walk. Interested participants are welcomed to attend one or all three programs. Please call the Ellenville Public Library at 647-5530 for more information.
Join Annie Mardiney, wildlife rehabilitator for Wild Mountain Birds, for an up-close and personal look at some of the raptors common to the Shawangunk Ridge. Live education birds may include red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, barred owl, screech owl and great horned owl. Stop by the Nature Center to meet these amazing and beautiful animals in person!
Stop by the Minnewaska Nature Center to meet Annie Mardiney, wildlife rehabilitator for Wild Mountain Birds, for an up-close and personal look at some of the raptors common to the Shawangunk Ridge. Live education birds may include red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, American kestrel, barred owl, screech owl and great horned owl. No pre-registration is required for this unique opportunity to meet these amazing and beautiful animals in person! The Minnewaska Nature Center is located along the north end of the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road and is just a short walk from most of the upper parking lots.
The Beacon Hill Footpath follows along the top edge of an east–facing escarpment, which gets bathed in the warm, morning light of spring. This walk, which is over two miles long, will offer beautiful views of the Rondout and Wallkill valleys below and the Catskill Mountains to the north. This loop route follows along carriage roads as well as the Footpath, which does include some hills and tricky footing.