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snowshoe
03-12-2004, 05:25 PM
I am heading up to Minnewaska (Gunks) this weekend and was wondering were the free parking lots are. I know the Jenny Lane is free parking but was wondering if the parking by the Old Ski Area on 44/55 is free as well. Are there any other spots along rt44/55 or off of, to park without paying. Thanks

Mark Schaefer
03-12-2004, 09:15 PM
I believe the Jenny Lane parking lot is the only free parking lot in the Minnewaska State Park. All of the other lots including the old ski area (rock climbing center) charge admission on weekends. During the off-season some of the parking lots are not staffed midweek and you can park free. During the summer and peak autumn foliage seasons the parking lots are staffed everyday and a fee is charged. I believe all of route 44/55 through the Park is now marked no-parking as are the side roads.

John Graham
03-14-2004, 07:21 AM
One other free parking I know of is to park on the side of the Firehouse in Ellenville and come up the Smiley Road.

Mark Schaefer
03-15-2004, 10:39 AM
Similar to John's suggestion another backdoor free parking area is near Kerhonkson. From route 44/55 take Rock Haven Road and then Shaft Road. The OSI recently acquired property for a trail to Stony Kill Falls and for a trailhead parking lot near the end of Shaft Road. The NY/NJ Trail Conference crews are building the trail. I do not think the trail is officially open yet, but it should be open later this summer. Stony Kill Falls is very similar in appearance to Awosting Falls and Verkeerder Kill Falls. There is an old path that leads to the top of the falls and to the Stony Kill carriageway. That joins up with the Smiley Road on the way to Lake Awosting.

snowshoe
03-15-2004, 12:40 PM
Mark That area you mentioned should have a trail to the falls now. I know the TC was working on it but not sure if it is finished. I also know on Berme rd well past the Smiley path there is free parking. There is no lots but once you hit the OCI property there is a spot for 2 cars to pull into. I have done that area. Although there is only flagged trails as well as woods roads and someone had marked trails in the area but no one knows who. It is one of the most scenic areas to explore. From there you can get to Naponach point, Jacobs Ladder, stonykill falls, Hanging Valey and many other neat features. I was lucky enough to get a Topo map with the trail proposals for that area. If you look on the TC maps it is the area stretching from Naponach point north to Stoney kill falls and then west to Berme rd.

I new about the Stonykill falls and the Smiley path parking. I was mainly looking for a spot that gives free parking acess to the Getrudes nose area. I ended up going to Sam's Point with Jay H. Thanks for info it is always greatly appreciated

Mark Schaefer
03-17-2004, 11:14 PM
The Minnewaska State Park lots have a $5 (may be $6 now) per car fee. During non peak hours you may find the Minnewaska gates not staffed in which you can park free. When you enter notice the closing time - the gates are locked at night. The nearest parking to Gertrude's Nose is the Lake Minneswaska parking lot. Those lots are less expensive than the Mohonk Preserve (http://www.mohonkpreserve.org/comvisit.htm) Trapps parking area on Route 44/55 where there is an $8 per person day use fee (or free with a Preserve membership). FYI Mohonk's Coxing Parking lot is closed for the winter. The free DOT parking areas at the scenic overlooks on Route 44/55 have a 1 hour limit - not practical for hiking.

Despite the extra cost of the Mohonk Preserve the hike over the Near Trapps and Bayards to Millbrook Mt. on the way to Gertrude's is well worth it. There are some impressive rock overhangs with about a 500' vertical drop at Millbrook Mt. A nice photo op. You can also reach these overhangs from Lake Minnewaska. The inside edge of Gertrude's Nose overlooking the Palmaghatt Ravine is probably the most impressive part of the Gertrude's Nose trail IMHO.

FYI I am 99.9% certain that the Stony Kill trail is not officially open yet. According to the Sept/Oct 2003 trail conference newsletter the trail was only half completed. It ends within sight of the falls so you can probably bushwhack the remaining distance. Apparently it is a sensitive area with rattlesnakes (see note 13), (http://www.nynjtc.org/committees/trailscouncil/meetings/min0308.html) and there was some concern on the final routing of the trail. In January 2004 the OSI purchased 18 additional acres on the west side of the Stony Kill. (http://www.nynjtc.org/externalnews/2004/stonykill.html) I believe this includes the traditional path through the old gravel quarry that is shown on the trail conference maps. Perhaps that route will be used as the final trail. That would avoid the stream crossing and the sensitive area. Whenever the trail opens there will be a well publicized ceremony.

Sean, thanks for mentioning the OSI lands on Berme Road. I assume this is near the Witch's Hole (Louis Ravine). I have never hiked in that particular area, and I will need to check it out this spring. According to the new guidebook "Shawangunks Trail Companion" by Jeffrey Perls, published by BackCountry, 2003 - the Long Path will likely be rerouted from Verkeerderkill Falls, over High Point, through Napanoch Point, down the Louis Ravine, and then over to and up through the recently acquired Lundy Estate along the Vernooy Kill up to the Vernooy Kill Falls. That reroute will take some significant time to build. BTW that new guidebook is the most comprehensive trail guide yet for the Shawangunks. It is a welcome companion to the "Scenes and Walks in the Northern Shawangunks" by Jack Fagan, published by the NY/NJ Trail Conference - which has excellent drawings describing the origins of the Greater Ice Caves and other rock features of the Gunks. Having said all that, both books need more detailed descriptions for this western side of the Shawangunk Ridge. As the new trails are built the descriptions should follow. I really believe this area is the most scenically unique area in the northeastern USA.

snowshoe
03-18-2004, 07:14 AM
Mark, Thats the area around the Witches hole I mentioned. If you have not hiked in their, it is a must. There are some great views and neat fetures.

Also thanks for the great info on Gertrudes Nose and Mohonk. It really is a neat place to explore. There is something around every corner, you can never get bored in the Gunks. I live in the Kittatinny's and it is amazing how the Kittatinny's and Gunks are so diiferent in many ways but yet they are the same ridge. Thanks again