Sunday, August 5, 2018

Stony Kill Falls at Minnewaska State Park

Shawangunk Mountains,
Minnewaska State Park,
Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Stony Kill Falls Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 0:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.8 Miles

Pros: Scenic and remote Waterfall
Cons: Parking is difficult, beginning walk in the sun
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg

After hiking Awosting Falls in Minnewaska, we drove to Stony Kill Falls, a large waterfall in a more remote area of Minnewaska State Park. Parking here at the end of the Shaft 2A Road on this narrow dirt road is difficult on weekends when there are other cars present. We parked on the road and proceeded towards the trailhead, passing through a very large and exposed area what appears to be a former shale quarry. This area also passes over the Catskills Aqueduct, bringing water from the Catskills to New York City. I would really like to see the park management extend Shaft 2A Road into the open area and build a normal parking area right near the trailhead.

This trail to the waterfall has been recently revamped. I remember hiking this area over 10 years ago and the trail was very primitive and stopped by the falls. The trail has been made into an official trail with a nice path and bridge across the brook. It used to end by the falls but was recently extended above the falls to connect to the Stony Kill Carriageway. However, the trail doesn't go directly up the falls area now, and you have to go off-trail slightly to get to the base of the falls.

Stony Kill Falls is a very impressive height, with an 87 foot vertical drop. Normally during the summer the water flow is weak, but with all the rains this summer the falls were impressive. We climbed up the newly created trail skirting the side of the mountain to the top of the falls, and took this new trail to its terminus at the Stony Kill Carriageway. We then turned around and headed back along the same trail back to our car.

In the past I used this route to get to Lake Awosting in Minnewaska, bushwacking up the area where the new trail now exists. This new trail makes it much easier to get to the top of the waterfalls, and affords a great back-entrance into Minnewaska.

Map of the Route

Gravel Area in the Shale where you need to Walk in the Sun

Shimmy on the Bridge Crossing Stony Kill

Stony Kill Falls

Stony Kill Falls, Low Shutter Speed

Me at Stony Kill Falls

The new Trail Ascending up Stony Kill Falls

Me Ascending the Trail up Stony Kill Falls

Me at the Cascade above Stony Kill Falls

Shimmy above Stony Kill Falls

Cascade Above Stony Kill Falls

Me on a Rock above Stony Kill Falls

Me at the end of the Stony Kill Falls Trail

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