Sunday, July 31, 2011

Minnewaska Biking

Minnewaska State Park,
Ulster County,
New York

Total Time: 2:45 hr (including many breaks)
Estimated Distance: 11.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Interest: Extremely Recommended
Points Of Interest: Amazing rock formations in the area, incredible views

Peters Kill Carriageway
Lake Awosting Carriageway
Castle Point Carriageway

Hiking Partner:
Rafael Koegel

Google Maps of Parking:

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Minnewaska is my favorite place that is driving distance from home. The dramatic cliffs and exceptional views make it one of the most outstanding mountain ranges on the East Coast. When I was a teenager I would go biking here all the time. There were times when I'd be biking in Minnewaska almost every Sunday in the summer. I have not gone mountain biking in years, and decided it was finally time to get out and go back to my roots. While this is officially a hiking blog, not a biking blog, I have included this here because everyone ought to get out and do a bike ride through Minnewaska.

The upper parking lot had just been closed up moments before we arrived (it fills up very quickly on Sundays), so we parked in the lower parking lot and took the Peters Kill Carriageway. This trail climbs very gradually and is not all that interesting until it makes the final tough ascent to Lake Awosting. Lake Awosting is an absolutely stunning lake, and you can just keep on snapping away at the camera here. We went around the lake using the Awosting Carriageway, passing buy the bluffs and busy beach area. I was disappointed to see that the Hamilton Point Carriageway has been closed to biking several years back, so instead we took the Castle Point Carriageway up the difficult climb past the cliff overhangs at Battlement Terrace to Castle Point. Castle Point affords the most scenic views in the area, with straight cliffs and a totally unobstructed view. From Castle Point its all downhill back to Lake Minnewaska, and you just keep on descending at amazing speeds all the way down, with amazing views all the time on the right.

From Lake Minnewaska we biked down the steep park entrance road, flying down the hill and then taking the spur to the lower parking area back to our car.

Map of the Route
At Lake Awosting
Lake Awosting at Southern End
Me and Rafael overlooking Lake Awosting
Lake Awosting from Viewpoint Near Eastern End.
Battlement Terrace. Note Rafael Underneath the Overhang.
Cliffs at Battlement Terrace
Rafi Atop Cliffside. Lake Awosting is Behind in the Distance.
Me Atop Cliffs on the way to Castle Point.
The Same Location Facing the Other Way
Rafael Standing Above Cliffs Near Castle Point
Me and Rafael at Castle Point. Lake Awosting in the Distance.
Me at Castle Point. Facing East.
Hamilton Point Below from Castle Point. Facing Northeast.
Gertrudes Nose. Facing East/Northeast.
Group of Campers we met at Castle Point.
If you guys see this post, shout out in the comments
which camp you're from since I forgot!

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