Sunday, May 24, 2015

Schunnemunk State Park, NY - Trestle and Otterkill

Schunnemunk State Park - New York State Parks

GPS Coordinates 41.42581, -74.10168
Parking lot on Otterkill Road.

Schunnemunk State Park Trail Map - New York State Parks
West Hudson Trails - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Schunnemunk State Park, NY - Northern Section at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 6.1 miles

Since Shawnee had hiked the day before I sneaked out without her since two days in a row would now be too much for her.  Besides, when she was younger she had trouble with some of the Schunnemunk scrambles so it was a better hike to do solo.
It's a short road walk on the white-blazed trail from the parking lot towards the railroad trestle.
Just before the trestle the white trail turns right into the woods.
There are a couple of spots along the way, as the trail climbs, to get different views of the trestle.
Along the way, a sneak peek of views to come.
On the right an unmarked side trail leads to an overlook at a bench.
The trestle down below.  Yes, that is how high the white trail has climbed and it wasn't done yet.
In the distance, the Gunks in front of the Catskill Mountains.
A male Indigo Bunting singing his little heart out.
The white trail continues up.
An immature male Indigo Bunting.
Views start to open up.
The Hudson River to the east.
Future blueberries.
Future butterfly. Eastern Tent Caterpillar
This pile of rocks doesn't look like much but to turn left on the red trail, this is the spot.  No markers, just the cairn.  You have to get up on the flat rock to the right of the cairn.  This is looking back at the turn, it's on the left coming in on the white trail.
There aren't many markers for the red trail.
In many cases there are cairns in lieu of markers or blazes.
Crossing the top of Baby Brook.
Turning right on the Jessup/Highlands Trail although it is mostly blazed only in yellow.
The trail starts to follow the puddingstone ridge up to view after view after view.
An airplane flying over the Gunks/Catskills.
The Hudson River
Eastern Towhee
Hitching a ride on my backpack.
Yet another Indigo Bunting.  I had only seen one once before in northern Pennsylvania but today they were everywhere.
Puddingstone Ridge
The only bad part about doing the hike this way is the views are behind but I wanted to do the hardest part first.
A trail marker being eaten by a tree.
Another Indigo Bunting.
Turning left on the white-blazed Sweet Clover Trail ...
... which is blissfully smooth and grassy.  For a while.
It does get rockier and descends relentlessly until it reaches ...
... the red-blazed Otterkill Trail.
This trail runs parallel to the railroad tracks but it's a pretty walk in the woods on much easier trail and you really don't see the tracks very much.
Lots of old stone walls along the way.
The other end of the Jessup/Highlands Trail comes in and red crosses a bridge over ...
... Baby Brook.
Pretty easy going here but I was exhausted from all the climbing and descending so it did not feel quite so easy.
Bicknell's Thrush - this bird is threatened due to habitat loss so it was quite exciting to get his picture! 
A view from the Otterkill Trail.
The Otterkill Trail comes very close to the top of the trestle before ending back at the white Trestle Trail.
Retracing on white back to Otterkill Road.
The short road walk back to the parking area.
A deer whose life I saved.  She was just stepping onto Otterkill Road to cross when I heard a car coming up behind me.  I started waving frantically and pointing at the deer, the driver saw her, slowed down, and all was well :)
Coming back up on the parking lot.


  1. Very nice photos, especially of all the indigo buntings. I missed seeing Shawnee but I understand that she can't hike as much as she did when she was younger. I bet she missed going with you though.:) Thanks for sharing. I don't know how I got on this blog but I'm sure glad I did. How do I get a regular profile besides just anonymous? Joanne

    1. I missed not having Shawnee along and there are parts she would have loved but I did not miss having to struggle with her on the scrambles. They would have been way too difficult.

      I think you need to have a Blogger account or a Google account so you don't have to be anonymous.


  2. My God you take amazing photos! Please what kind of camera do you use?
    That, however, is not a future butterfly. That is an invasive Gypsy Moth Caterpillar out to devour as many oak leaves as it can!

    1. Thank! It's a Canon PowerShot SX40 HS.

      I was too tired to look it up before but now that you mention it, I searched and it is actually an Eastern Tent Caterpillar. This shows the comparison of the two: Fortunately mine is not as harmful although every tree I saw with the tents in them looked pretty sickly.


  3. my pup and i did this hike today! it was challenging and wonderful! thank you for the info and step by step photo diary! very helpful! :o)