Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sam's Point and Ice Caves

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 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.5 Miles

Pros: Excellent views, fasicnating ice caves
Cons: Entrance fee, difficulty parking, lots of people on weekends, and lack of shade

Hiking Partners:
Josef Friedman
Shalom Ziskind
Chezky Fishbane

The Ice Caves are an incredible formation and are a fascinating hike. The problem is that this area has become very busy recently and parking is very challenging, and the route to the Ice Caves is not a scenic hiking path but a road trail full of people and exposed in the sun. However, the Ice Caves are still well worthwhile despite this.

We arrived at the parking area late morning, and the area was very busy and they were turning cars away because the parking lot was full. On a nice summer weekend, it's very important to get here early otherwise they will turn you away! The park system really needs to expand the parking situation as well as build some more trails in the area. We were lucky because a car was pulling out when we arrived and they let us in.

Parking is $10, and can be paid with the parking machines. We took the Sam's Point Road, a wide path full of people, towards Sam's Point. The switchback that I usually take had a sign in front of it discouraging foot use. I don't know why they care if people use this shortcut and was annoyed about this.

We took Sam's Point Road until the shortcut scramble right up to Sam's Point. Sam's Point has great views with excellent photo opportunities. We continued along Road, and veered off to at Ice Caves Road. The sun was very strong and there was very little shade, but we did take some shade breaks off the path and pick blueberries and huckleberries, which were all over the place. We noticed much of the brush and trees were burned from a forest fire from the previous season.

At the end of Ice Caves Road, we took the Ice Caves loop trail, through the ice caves and crevices. There was alot of water from all the rains and trail was very wet. There was still some ice present in the deepest cave. We then took took the Ice Caves Road back to the Loop Road past Sam's Point. At the curve in the road we took an unmarked connection trail to the other side of the Loop Road back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

At the top of Sam's Point

Me on Sam's Point

Rock Cliffs at Sam's Point

Sam' s Point Cliff Face

Me on the Sam's Point Edge
Long Path Trail Turn, with Burned Trees in the Back

Ice Paths Road

Long Path Turn-Off

Ice Cave Road Turning Towards the Ice Caves

Forest Fire Area

Ice Caves Entrance Sign

View Before Descending into the Ice Caves

Walking through a Narrow Crevice

Me in the Caves

Climbing a Ladder on the Trail

Ice in Late July!

View at the Exit of the Ice Caves

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