Sunday, April 30, 2023

Awosting Falls and Sheldon Falls at Minnewaska Rain Hike

Minnewaska State Park
Ulster Co., New York

Hiking Trails:
Peters Kill Carriageway: Red blaze
Awosting Falls Connector Trail
Red Loop: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.0 Miles

Pros: Excellent waterfalls and scenic area
Cons: Busy area
Hike Type: Lollipop Loop
Level of Difficulty: Very difficult

Google Maps of Parking:

The weather has been extremely rainy, with several inches over Saturday and more predicted during the day. I decided to go to Minnewaska to the waterfalls which I figured would be impressive. Indeed they were! I figured due to the weather it would be quiet, but there was a public race here and there were many people present on the Peters Kill Carriageway. 

I parked at the lower parking area at main entrance to Minnewaska, and took the Peters Kill Carriageway to Awosting Falls. I took pictures at the top above the falls, and then below at the bottom with the falls roaring in front of me. I then continued along the Peters Kill Carriageway to the Awosting Falls Connector Trail. I crossed Route 44/55 at the terminus of the trail, at the Peters Kill area of the park.

I then took the Red Loop down to the Peters Kill. Once I reached the Peters Kill, I got off the trail and went upstream. There used to be a trail here alongside the water, which I followed up to the waterfalls. This route is not on the trail and is quite wild, and is not known by many people. It's definitely better this way as this area is a secret and quiet hidden gem of Minnewaska State Park. 

Near the footer of the falls is an old hydroelectric power station, which powered the old Mountain House Hotel in Minnewaska from power from the falls. There are actually two waterfalls here: On the left is the Peters Kill Falls, which is a small falls along the rockface, and the much larger Sheldon Falls to the right. I believe that the waterfall used to flow over the Peters Kill Fall, and then a dam was built above that diverted the bulk of the water to Sheldon Falls.

Sheldon Falls was very impressive. It was just a sheer wall of rushing water and was amazingly impressive. In the past I've taken the route up on the dry part of the Peters Kill Falls, but now with all the rain and slippery rock I opted for an overgrown deer path up to Route 44/55. This proved very difficult in the current wet conditions with slippery rock and wetness everywhere. I still got soaked even though I was dressed and prepared. I then crossed over Route 44/55 and took the Peters Kill Carriageway back to my car, passing along many runner in the rain along the way.

Map of the Route

Rain, Fog, and Overflowing Water

Peters Kill Carriageway

Peters Kill

Top of the Waterfalls

Awosting Falls After Heavy Rains

Small Short Falls on the Awosting Carriageway

Peters Kill Carriageway Scenery

Awosting Falls Connector Trail

Seasonal Swamp near the Peters Kill Area

Peters Kill Area Parking Area

Large Rock at the Red Loop Trail

Back at the Peters Kill, at the Red Trail

Small Falls on the Peters Kill at the Bushwhack

The Roaring Sheldon Falls

Old Hydroelectric Pumping Station Near Sheldon Falls

Peters Kill Falls

Large Group of People at the End of the Race

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Peanut Leap Falls and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory

Palisades Interstate Park
Rockland Co., New York
& Bergen Co., New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze
Shore Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.3 Miles

Pros: Nice waterfall and river views
Cons: None
Hike Type: Lollipop Wrapper Loop
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult

Google Maps of Parking:

It had been raining very hard overnight with about 2 inches of rain. It was still raining and was at the end of the storm when I headed out for the hike, so I got my rain gear and headed out to the State Line area where the I would go down the Palisades cliffs to the Peanut Leap waterfall which I figured would be going very strong due to the rain. I was indeed right and the waterfall was very impressive!

I parked on Route 9W right on the shoulder right before Lamont-Doherty Child Development Center. I took the Long Path parallel to the road, and then passed the entrance of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, a scientific research center that is part of Columbia University that studies the earth. I continued along the Long Path to Skunk Hollow, a peaceful brook that flows through a steep valley as it makes its way towards the Hudson River. I presume it's named after the skunk cabbage that abounds alongside the brook. I then took the Shore Trail at its terminus in Skunk Hollow.

The trail was overflowing with water, making it difficult to traverse as I descended towards the falls. I reached the top of the falls, which was roaring and quite impressive. I then descended the snake path to the bottom where the falls lands and explored some of the flooded old ruins and made my way to the Hudson River shore. After taking some nice pictures of the waterfall, I went back up the Shore Trail, and at the intersection with the Long Path, I took the unmarked trail that heads through the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. At the top of the trail I reached a sprawling campus, which I walked through and then cut across back to the Long Path near the top of a small ridge. I then took the Long Path back to my car.

Map of the Route

Historical Marker (De Windt House) Where I Parked on Route 9W

Swamp Along the Long Path, with Skunk Cabbage

Long Path Sign Entering the Palisades Interstate Park

Stepping Stones on the Long Hollow

Skunk Hollow Brook

Intersection of the Shore Trail and Long Path

Skunk Hollow Brook Descending Towards the Waterfalls

A Smaller Side Waterfall Along the Trail

At the Top of Peanut Leap Falls

Trail on the Descent

Peanut Leap Falls

Hudson River Shore and Old Ruins

Hudson River Shore

Tappan Zee Bridge in the Distance

Old Ruins at the Falls

Venomous Snake Warning Sign at the Lamont Trail 

Building at the Lamont-Doherty Campus