Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sams Point and Ice Caves Mountain

Sams Point Preserve
Shawangunk Mountains
Ulster County, NY

Sams Point Road Bypass Trail
Long Path: Blue Blaze
Ice Caves Trail: White Blaze
Lake Martanza Road Trail

Total Time: 2:30 min
Estimated Distance: 4.0 Miles

I was in Monticello for the weekend, so this was a good short hike not too far away. (The problem with the Catskills is that there are very few shorter trails and climbs; most trails are big commitments.) I parked at the Sam's Point Preserver parking area by Cragsmoor, and I actually arrived before 9:00 when the gate officially opens, so I had to park off in the woods, which I think they technically want you to do. Anyways, took the unofficial bypass trail from the parking area to the Sam's Point Road right below the cliff face. This is a convienent shortcut to avoid the crisscrossing boring old road. (The old road was actually used as a road for cars to go to the top of Sam's Point, as well as the Ice Caves, but was closed in the 1970's.) From there I cut across through the notch to the top of Sam's Point.

From Sam's Point, continued along the old road (and where it coincides with the Long Path) about .7 miles further to the Ice Caves. Took the Ice Caves Trail through the Ice Caves and steep cliff gulleys. The ice was already melted by now (although it sometimes lasts through June), but it was quite cold in the caves and my glasses got fogged up. After leaving the Ice Caves took the road back towards Lake Martanza, walked around the lake and back to my car on this path. Around the lake were excellent blueberry bushes, and I picked quite a bunch.

Map of the Route

Rock Face below Sam's Point

View from Above Sam's Point. Facing southwest.

Me at the top of Sam's Point

View from Long Path.
Facing north towards Minnewaska.
Mud Pond is at the left in the distance.

View from Ice Caves Mnt
right before entering the cave area.

Descending into the Ice Caves

Continuing the Descent

Walking along the Ice Caves Trail

The trail going thru a steep crevice

View Leaving the Ice Caves.
Looking North.

Communication Towers at Lake Martanza

Lake Martanza Shore


  1. Helped build those trails back in '69. Fred and Cliff started them. Mark and I helped finish them. It was the best. Eating wild blueberries and drinking mtn. water for lunch. worked at the gift shop putting bumper stickers on cars using metal wire instead of glue ?? Most of those crevices were solid ice that we had to chop open with axes to gain access by summer. Visit there every couple of years or so. Brings back fond memories. Jim P.

  2. Beautiful area, very rare and interesting ecosystem. I worked for The Nature Conservancy in 2009 and had the pleasure of working on the top of the mountain. I replaced sections of the railing (in the 6th picture) with red spruce trees I cut from the Roger Perry Preserve across the Hudson in Dover Plains (another very interesting area). Snowed a few inches up there in early October while I was working on the railing. Such an interesting place to explore, highly recommended!

  3. Hey! I really want to go on this hike (to the ice caves)!!! Does anyone know the address to GPS to get there?! Thanks : ]

  4. 41°40′09″N 74°21′19″W