Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mohonk Preserve, NY - Millbrook Ridge

Mohonk Preserve - Mohonk Preserve
There is a $15 per person fee to hike at Mohonk Preserve

GPS Coordinates to Visitor Center Parking 41.73582, -74.18643
There are several parking lots and they all fill up later in the day.  I parked in the first lot which was empty at 8 AM.

Shawangunk Trails Map 105 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
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HIKE DISTANCE:  8.7 miles

From the entrance of the visitor center parking lot, head towards the visitor center.
Left in front of the visitor center ...
... to the East Trapps Connector Trail.
The trail follows along a park road for a bit, blazes painted on the pavement.
Then up through the woods and through another parking lot which is pretty full at 8AM - that is where the rock climbers park.
After paying the fee to the nice man who sits at the end of the rock climber lot it's up the steps on the East Trapps Connector Trail.
Proof of Payment
Then up a maze of steep stone steps.
At the top, left on the carriage road which is Undercliff Road.
Even early in the morning, lots of rock climbers going up The Trapps.
An overlook of the overlook on Route 44/55.  The views are even better from up here and you don't need to wait for a parking space when it's always full later in the day.
After going through these massive stones ...
... left on the bridge ...
... over Route 44/55.
The beginning of fall colors.  This area is gorgeous during peak foliage but also insanely crowded.
Just a short distance on Trapps Road ...
... to a left o n the Millbrook Ridge Trail.
Where it has already been pretty crowded with people up to now, that was all left behind once we turned on the trails and we had this whole trail to ourselves.
Nearing the top, some views of the Catskills.
Mohonk Mountain House behind us.
Views to the east.
Although the map only shows two viewpoints along this trail, there are many along the way.
Zoom in to the tower at Mohonk Mountain House.
There are two options for short cutting this hike - this is the first but we continued on.
This overlook was already occupied.
It looks like there is damage to the side of his face :(
Fall foliage is really starting to pop over at Minnewaska State Park.
The Catskills
I found a nice break spot with a view right down the Shawangunk Ridge.
My shin got pretty messed up from that fall in New Hampshire last weekend.  Ended up at the urgent care place because the pain became increasingly worse, the wound was not healing and my ankles swelled.  No bone damage, thank goodness, but some antibiotics, a tetanus shot and a double dose of naproxin and I am hiking!  After a summer with one hot and humid weekend after another, it was the first weekend with temps in the 60's and low humidity and I was not sitting this one out.
Zooming in to The Trapps where somebody is climbing.  I get week in the knees just looking at it.
The only litter I saw and this was getting close to Minnewaska State Park trails where tons of people come up from Lake Minnewaska.  Brodie packed this out.
One view ...
... after another ...
... after another.
People over in Minnesaska State Park.
At the end of Millbrook Ridge Trail, after not having seen any other people it gets crazy busy with people coming up from Lake Minnewaska to the Millbrook Mountain Overlook.
Descending on the Millbrook Mountain Trail where everyone is coming up from Lake Minnewaska.
It's only a short distance before we reach the solitude of the Coxing Trail up ahead.
A right on the Coxing Trail leaving the noise and crowds behind.
The Coxing Trail is a much gentler descent than the climb up was.
Last of the views on the way down.
You can hear Coxing Kill but can't see it.  Just before the trail heads away from the water sound, a short side path to ...
Coxing Kill
Back on the Coxing Trail.
Puncheons through wet sections
Other times you have to find your own way through swampy areas but there are usually enough rocks to hop.
The Coxing Trail ends at Trapps Road where we turned right.
Quite a collection of found hats on the trail sign.
Trapps Road
Passing the other end of that first shortcut trail.
The Millbrook Trail where we started. 
Right around the bend, the bridge over Route 44/55.
That overlook on Route 44/55 is always full later in the day.
This is where we would have turned to go back on the Trapps Connector Trail but we continued on the Undercliff Trail for a bit first.
The views aren't near as nice as those from the beginning of our hike so we took a break at the second overlook ...
... then headed back.
Going steeply down the Trapps Connector Trail.
There is the nice man who has been sitting there all day collecting fees.
The lot the rock climbers park in is now packed and spills out along the drive.
Where we parked was packed now, too.
Not even out of the parking spot yet and he is out cold.
I always set my GPS on "no tolls" going home because I learned years ago that driving through New Paltz to the thruway later in the day is a bad, bad idea.  The bonus of taking back road on this drive was the organic farm stand I came across.