Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks at Mohonk

Mohonk Preserve
Shawangunk Mountains
Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Crag Trail: Red blaze
Bonticou Road: Unblazed carriage road
Bonticou Ascent Path: Yellow blaze
Northeast Trail: Blue blaze
Table Rocks Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 5.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Very difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Great views and great scramble
Cons: Entrance Fee

Mohonk is one of my favorite hiking locations in the area. It has some of the best scrambles and most interesting rock formations. This was a bright and Sunday December day, a day before the official start of winter. The weather was warm for this time of year, though not quite as warm as the 60 degree weather we have been accustomed to for much of the fall.

The area was very quiet, despite it being Sunday. There was much room in the parking area and I hardly met anyone along the trails. I parked at the Spring Farm parking area at Mohonk, which is slightly past the main entrance. There is a $12 entrance fee to get in with a guard stationed at the parking lot. From the parking area, I walked up to the Million Dollar View, a northwestern-facing view of the Catskill Mountains with no obstructions in-between. I then headed up the Crag Trail to Bonticue Road, which I took to the Bonticou Ascent Path.

The Bonticou Ascent Path is a very steep and difficult trail, traversing large talus boulders in a very challenging scramble. Upon completing the ascent, you are afforded with an excellent view on both sides. From the top of Bonticou Crag, I took the Northeast Trail northeast along the ridge to its end. There are several good views along the way with a steep cliff along the western ridge flank. I then took the Table Rocks Trail northeast to the Table Rocks, which is another view with deep fissures in the rocks forming ice caves. The Table Rocks Trail is a dead-end, which I turned back around on, and continued along all the way back to the parking area.

Map of the Route.
Shawangunk Trails, Mohonk Preserve Map

Million Dollar View at the Beginning of the Hike, Facing the Catskills

Beginning of the Bonticou Ascent Path 

The Route of the Bonticou Ascent Path

Scrambling Up the Talus at Bonticou Crag

Looking Down While Ascending Bonticou Crag

Interesting Rock Formations While Ascending Bonticou Crag

Steep, Narrow Passage of the Trail Ascending Bonticou Crag

Nearing the Top of the Bonticou Scramble

At the top of the Scramble, Facing North

View from Bonticou Crag Facing North

View from Bonticou Crag Facing East Towards the Marlboro Mountains

Bonticou Crag, Facing South

The Straight Cliff Down from Bonticou Crag

Looking Northwest from the Bonticou Crag View

View Along the Northeast Trail, Facing East

View Along the Northeast Trail, Facing Northwest Towards the Catskills

Another View from the Northeast Trail, Facing Northwest

View at Table Rocks, Facing West

Table Rocks Exposed Shawangunk Quartz Conglomerate

Deep Fissure in the Rock At Table Rocks

A Very Deep Ice Cave at Table Rocks

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