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Mossy Glen/Blueberry Run/Long Path/Hamilton Point Loop
This loop hike follows the cascading Peters Kill and climbs to panoramic viewpoints from dramatic cliffs.
Allowed on leash
Views, Swimming, Fees
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Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (New Paltz). Turn left onto Route 299 and continue through the Village of New Paltz and across a bridge over the Wallkill River. In 5.6 miles (from the bridge), Route 299 ends at a T intersection with Route 44/55. Turn right onto Route 44/55, which negotiates a hairpin turn and climbs to pass under the Trapps Bridge (a steel overpass). Continue for three miles past Trapps Bridge to the entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve, on the left (a $6 parking fee is charged). Immediately turn right and proceed for 0.2 mile to the Awosting parking area.
Bus service to New Paltz from New York City, Nanuet, Newburgh and Kingston is available via Adirondack Trailways, www.trailwaysny.com (800) 776-7548. Limited weekday bus service to New Paltz from Kingston and Highland is available via Routes R and H of Ulster County Area Transit, www.co.ulster.ny.us/ucat (888) 827-8228. Ulster County Area Transit also offers bus service from the Metro-North station in Poughkeepsie to New Paltz via their Ulster-Poughkeepsie Link. Taxi service from New Paltz to Mohonk is available from New Paltz Taxi, www.npztaxi.com (845) 255-1550.
From the kiosk at the rear of the parking area, continue past the gate onto the Lower Awosting Carriageway. Almost immediately, turn left onto the yellow-blazed Mossy Glen Path, which passes through an attractive forest of hemlock and mountain laurel. In half a mile, the trail approaches the carriageway, then turns sharply left and descends to the Peters Kill, crossing it on a footbridge. NOTE: This footbridge was washed away by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and has not yet been replaced. If the water is low, the stream can be crossed on rocks, but the crossing may not be possible if the water is high.
The trail turns right beyond the bridge and begins to parallel the stream. For the next mile, it remains close to the stream, at times coming out on slanted rock slabs.
The Mossy Glen Path ends in an open area, with stunted pitch pines and an understory of blueberries. Turn left here onto the blue-blazed Blueberry Run Path, which climbs steadily. After a while, the grade moderates, and the trail reaches the Upper Awosting Carriageway.
Turn right onto the carriageway. After passing under power lines, the road bears left, with Huntington Ravine below to the right. Soon, conglomerate cliffs appear to the left, and there is a sign on the right for "Rainbow Falls." Leave the carriageway and turn left onto the orange-blazed Rainbow Falls Trail, which bears left to climb a ledge, then turns right and runs parallel to the edge of the escarpment. Soon, you'll reach a rock ledge to the right that offers a panoramic view, with Huntington Ravine just below, and the Catskills in the distance.
The Rainbow Falls Trail enters a dense forest of hemlock and mountain laurel, then bears left and continues through an open area, with pitch pines growing from cracks in the conglomerate bedrock. You'll need to use your hands for a few short, steep descents.
Finally, you'll come out on a wide, open rock ledge that affords a panoramic view of Lake Awosting, with Sam's Point beyond. The trail now bends left and eventually runs along the edge of a cliff. To the right, you can see Castle Point, the highest point in the park.
Soon, the Rainbow Falls Trail reaches the Castle Point Carriageway. Turn right and follow the carriageway for about a third of a mile to the next intersection, then turn left onto the Hamilton Point Carriageway (marked with "H"-on yellow-diamond blazes).
In another half mile, you'll reach Hamilton Point - a fabulous viewpoint, with deeply-fissured rocks separated from the main cliffs. Continue along the carriageway, passing more spectacular views. In about a mile, you'll cross under a power line. Next, you'll arrive at Echo Rock, another viewpoint. Just beyond, the carriageway splits into two routes, which quickly rejoin. You'll soon notice a line of cliffs to the left.
Continue ahead as another carriageway comes in from the left, then turn left at the next junction, joining the yellow-diamond-blazed Millbrook Mountain Carriageway. In another quarter mile, turn left onto the Minnewaska Carriageway, which circles Lake Minnewaska, and bear right at each junction. At the swimming area, continue ahead and climb to the Scenic Sunset Carriageway. Turn sharply left onto the carriageway, which descends on switchbacks, passing a north-facing viewpoint. When the carriageway ends at the base of the descent, turn right, cross the bridge over the Peters Kill, then turn left at the gatehouse and follow the road back to the parking area where the hike began.