Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Magnolia Warbler by William Swainson, in Fauna Boreali-Americana (1831) by John Richardson.

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)