submit to reddit GoNOMAD Travel
Tags: Features New York
My husband Pinaki Chakraborty taking in the view from Gertrude's Nose - photos by Esha Samajpati (Click photo to enlarge)
My husband Pinaki taking in the view from Gertrude's Nose - photos by Esha Samajpati

Upstate New York: Hiking the Gertrude’s Nose Trail in the Shawangunks

The 'Gunks

Nature works in mysterious ways. Otherwise, how does one explain the striking structure of the massive Shawangunk Ridge which extends from the northernmost point of New Jersey to the Catskill Mountains?

Nature has been at its powerful best while creating the layered silica-cemented Shawangunk conglomerate with bold strokes of pure white quartz pebbles and sandstone.

The vegetation is dense and the lakes around it are crystal clear. The Shawangunks contain mostly private land as well as land owned by the Mohonk Preserve, Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Sam's Point Preserve with more than 100 miles of hiking trails and several areas for rock climbing.

Starting point
Minnewaska State Park, New Paltz, New York
Highlight
This hike runs along the cliffs of the Shawangunk conglomerate, with breathtaking overlooks.
Length
The clear waters of Lake Minnewaska right at the beginning of the hike
The clear waters of Lake Minnewaska right at the beginning of the hike

About eight miles.

Difficulty

Moderate to strenuous.

Time

About five hours.

Map

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Shawangunk Trails Maps #9 and #9A

Dogs

Permitted on leash.

How to Get There

We took the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (New Paltz). After paying the toll, we turned left onto Route 299 and continued west through New Paltz. Then we crossed the bridge over the Wallkill River at the west end of New Paltz and continued ahead on Route 299.

The hike begins...
The hike begins...

In another 5.5 miles (from the Wallkill River bridge), Route 299 ended at a T intersection with Route 44/55. We turned right here and followed Route 44/55 as it passed under the Trapps Bridge. Then we continued for about three miles past the Trapps Bridge and reached the entrance for Minnewaska State Park, on the left side of the road.

A parking fee of seven dollars was charged at the gatehouse. From there, we drove uphill for 0.4 mile to the parking area by Lake Minnewaska.

Description

My husband Pinaki and I started off on a carriageway keeping the aquamarine water of Lake Minnewaska to our left. Soon we came to Patterson’s Pellet, a glacial erratic precariously balanced at the edge of a ledge. No amount of shoving could topple it over. We know, because we tried!

This is the famous Patterson's Pellet; now I know what it means to be 'steady as a rock.'
This is the famous Patterson's Pellet; now I know what it means to be 'steady as a rock.'

Following the red trail, after almost a mile of walking slightly uphill, we reached a sign pointing us towards the Gertrude’s Nose Trail.

So we went on the narrow trail, with shrubs brushing against our legs and the red marks keeping us on track… until the trail began dipping steeply.

The rocky decline continued for quite a while till we came upon a woodland which was on level ground, thankfully. The area was capriciously dotted with tall lean trees and we could hear a stream gurgling nearby.

Misreading the trail map we had with us, we started going towards the stream, determined to cross it.

After minutes of scrambling about in an overgrown obscure path, we stumbled back to the red trail and went over to the other side of the stream through a craggy trail where there was a significant decrease in plants scratching our faces. Now we know why trail maps should be followed fastidiously.

Fresh blueberries, just perfect for hungry hikers
Fresh blueberries, just perfect for hungry hikers

Bare ledges of white rock with scenic overlooks greeted us the moment we stepped on the other side. Each step had to be placed cautiously to avoid the deep fissures on the trail itself and the sheer drop to the right!

Whenever we dared to peer down, we could see huge blocks of rock debris scattered randomly making us feel as if we had stepped into Nature’s workshop. As you have probably guessed, this hike is not meant for anybody with even a trace of acrophobia.

Flora

Blueberries and dwarf pine trees lined our path and we had to be very careful not to get off the trail and venture into the greenery as a few rare species of plants are found here. These plants are protected by the State of New York and are not to be touched on any account. We could taste the blueberries though and were pleasantly surprised by the burst of flavor and the sweetness.

The Ravine – justifying all superlatives
Deep Crevices along the trail
Deep Crevices along the trail

The views over the Palmaghatt Ravine to our West was mesmerizing; no wonder this section has been voted one of the most scenic in the entire Shawangunks.

We did it!

After some more ledge walking, we finally reached the famous Gertrude’s Nose which majestically looks down over the lowlands from an envious height of 1730 feet! Mission accomplished.

We continued ahead on the Milbrook Ridge Trail and passed the Mohonk Preserve on our way to the Milbrook Mountain Path. We alternated between blue and red trails as specified by our trail map.

After crossing Lake Minnewaska’s outlet stream, we reached the end of the Millbrook Mountain Path and from there we were back on carriageways which led us back to the parking area. 

All along the picturesque hike, the deep crevices cutting through the bare ledges grimly reminded us of things to come. Well, that’s how Nature works and it is best not to interfere.
    

 

Esha Samajpati

 

Esha Samajpati is an advertising consultant who loves to travel and write. She authors a blog on advertising trends called The Business of Advertising and a travel blog called Miles to Go.

 

Visit our Esha Samajpati Page with links to all her stories.

 

Read more Gonomad stories by Esha Samajpati:

Lititz: The Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Magnificent Maine: Hikes and Lobsters in Mount Desert Island

Hiking Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s Highest Peak

Assateague Island and Ocean City, Maryland: Summer Fun with Wild Ponies

New Haven: Center of Culture and Cuisine in Connecticut

A Walking Tour of Boston's Waterfront

 

Read more GoNOMAD stories about New York State

 

 

New York

Pinaki Chakraborty on top of Gertrude's nose on the Shawangunk Ridge in upstate New York
New York State's picture perfect farmlands. Photo by Pinaki Chakraborty. Click on photo
of New York HarborA By Beth Simmons My first time traveling to the Big Apple and IAm going on a tour
day I arrived in New York City like it was both yesterday and a lifetime ago. Two weeks out
Samajpati's article about New York City.
New York City Hotel Reviews A Read more about New York City on GoNOMAD Micro
Watch Travel Videos on GoNOMAD New York City NYC on a Budget Watch more New York City videos at tripfilms.com
New York City can be complex and unforgiving . Tailored Tours: A Handy Way to See
to Esha Samajpati's article about New York City.
Chakraborty. Click on photo to enlarge. New York, New York: Taking a Bite of the Big Apple
Community Tourism Comes to New York City In partnership with Business Enterprises for Sustainable
The Assembly Chamber at the New York State Capitol . Photos by Emily Grund. Albany
Chakraborty. Click on photo to return to Esha Samajpati's article about New York City.
New York City apartment swapped for a Paris flat. Click to r eturn to the story.
Samajpati's article about New York City.

New Travel Articles
Follow GoNOMAD.com Travel's board Destination Guides on Pinterest. Call Now: 855-784-1659 csa-03 300x250-04


 
 
 


Subscribe to GoNOMAD's monthly enewsletter for all of our new travel articlesGet our free monthly travel newsletter
and help support sustainable and responsible tourism.
No spam, no selling
your email, we promise!

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...