Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Scarlet Tanager and Red-breasted Grosbeak, from “The Burgess bird book for children” (1919)

Minnewaska State Park Preserve (website), located in Ulster county, has 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths (map) and is home to a 20,000-acre New York State Bird Conservation Area (map):

Chestnut oak forest is the dominant ecological community along the ridge comprising about 50% of the [Bird Conservation Area]. Birds associated with this community at Minnewaska include sharp-shinned and red-shouldered hawks, red-bellied woodpecker, wood thrush, black-throated blue warbler, American redstart, ovenbird, scarlet tanager and rose-breasted grosbeak. Another 4,000+ acres are pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit, intermingled with the extremely rare and fragile dwarf pine ridge community, which support pine and prairie warblers and eastern towhee. Below the ridges the 1000+ acres of hemlock-northern hardwood forest, including old growth forest with trees 300–500 years old, provide habitat for wild turkey, pileated woodpecker, golden-crowned kinglet and black-throated green warbler. Cliff faces are important nesting areas for peregrine falcons. —Department of Environmental Conservation

To get to the park from intersection of NY Rte 299 and US 44/55, head west on US 44/55 for 4.5 miles to main entrance on the left. Note that there’s a parking fee. Construction is ongoing at the park; for details visit the park website or call 845-255-0752.

Suggested Trails

  • Lower Awosting Carriageway out to Lake Awosting
  • Lake Minnewaska Loop Trail
  • Hamilton Point and Castle Point Carriageways Loop (8.3 miles)
  • Jenny Lane Trail and Mossy Glen Trail Loop
  • Gertrude’s Nose Loop/Millbrook Mountain (to watch for Peregrine Falcons)