Sunday, January 3, 2016

Monhonk Undercliff Overcliff Carriageways

Mohonk Preserve
Shawangunk Mountains
Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
East Trapps Connector Trail: Yellow blaze
Undercliff Carriage Road: Unblazed
Overcliff Carriage Road: Unblazed

Total Time: 1:50 Hours
Estimated Distance: 5.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended for an easy but highly scenic walk

Points of Interest: Great views, interesting cliffs
Cons: Entrance Fee

Except for the steep steps up the East Trapps Connector Trail, this is a very easy hike on a wide path. Its more like walking then hiking, but the scenery is very pretty. My goal in 2016 is to do more hikes in the Shawangunk Mountains, so I figured I would purchase a seasonal hikers pass for $55 for unlimited entry. This was my first hike with the new pass, and the payment from my previous hike was used and reimbursed towards the seasonal pass.

This was a one of the few seasonally normal days, with temperatures in the 30's. The sun was bright when I left and along the drive, but it unfortunately clouded up as soon as I started the hike. I parked at the parking trailhead at the end of the visitor center, and was surprised how quiet the area was. This area is usually full of mountain climbers scaling the Trapps cliffs by rope. Despite there being only a handful of cars here, there was a Mohonk Preserve ranger waiting in his car to inspect people for passes. That was quite surprising, considering the low volume of people.

I climbed up the steep East Trapps Connector Trail, which connects the parking lot with the Undercliff Carriage Road. I took the Undercliff Carriage Road southwest, and was surprised to see only two groups of rock climbers along the way. This area is usually full of rock climbers, and is one of the most famous rock climbing areas in the northeast. I continued along the carriage road to the Overcliff Trail, which I took in its entire length back to the Undercliff Trail. I then looped around back on the Undercliff Trail, under the steep cliff, back to the East Trapps Connector and back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route
Shawangunk Maps

The Hairpin Turn of Route 44/55 Climbing Up the Mountain

Undercliff Carriage Road

V\iew from the Undercliff Carriage Road

Rock Climbers at the Trapps, from the Undercliff Carriage Road

Rock Climber in Middle of his Climb

View Towards the Hudson Valley

View on the Overcliff Carriage Road Looking Across the Coxing Kill Valley 
Snow Cover Along the Overcliff Trail

View from the Overcliff Trail Looking Towards the Catskills.
I think that Mountain in the Distance is Ashokan High Point

The Above View, Zoomed Out

View Back at the Undercliff Trail, Looking Towards Storm King/Breakneck

Rock Formation Along the Undercliff Trail

A View Looking Towards New Paltz

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