Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ice Caves to Lake Martanza

Sam's Point Area,
Minnewaska State Park,
Ulster Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Loop Road: Unblazed
Long Path: Green blaze
Ice Caves Road Path: Unblazed
Ice Caves Trail: White Trail

Total Time: 2:00 hours
Estimated Distance: 4.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Excellent views, Ice Caves, and Ice Caves Scrambles
Cons: Entrance fee, lots of people on weekends, and lack of shade

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This is one of my favorite hikes in the area. The views are outstanding and the Ice Caves are spectacular. I had not been here the previous year and this was my first time here since the state acquired management of this area as Minnewaska State Park (prior to 2015 it had been part of the Open Space Institute.) I was surprised to find out that it is now managed by the state park system. Not sure what the ramifications to this are, but hopefully they'll build some more trails in this area.

We parked at the Sam's Point parking area (parking is $8.) We took the loop road for a shor distance until the unmarked shortcut which cuts out the curve. We then took the next shortcut right up to Sam's Point. Sam's Point creates a great view looking south, east, and west. The park system had removed the rock fences blocking access to the edge of the cliff so the cliffs are now in a more natural state.

We continued along the Loop Road, and veered off to the Ice Caves Road. We then took the Ice Caves loop, went back to the Ice Caves Road, and then took the Loop Road around Lake Martanza. We encountered an abundance of blueberries on the eastern side of the lake. We continued along the Loop Road all the way down to the parking area.

Map of the Route.
Shawangunk Mountains Western Map

People Atop Sam's Point, Taken from the Visitor Center

The Climb up to Sam's Point

Cave at Sam's Point

Ascending to Sam's Point

Continuing the Ascent

Shimmy in a Notch by Sam's Point

Me Atop Sam's Point

From Sam's Point, Looking West

Me Atop Sam's Point

Shimmy Atop Sam's Point

New Information Tablet About the Ice Caves Trail

View from the Entrance to the Ice Caves

Me Descending into the Ice Caves

Large Crevice in the Ice Caves

Me in a Cave

Ice in the Cave. Yes, its August!

The Path Snaking Inside the Caves

View at the Exit of the Ice Caves

Lake Martanza

Lake Martanaza

Abandoned Blueberry Picker's Hut

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