Since moving to the New York/ New Jersey area, I have been completely blown away with all of the amazing hikes within just a few hours drive.
We visited the Shawangunk Ridge State Forest by accident, when we drove to the area and there was no parking left at Sam’s Point at Minnewaska State Park. Shawangunk Ridge State Forest is only 5 minutes from Minnewaska State Park and was an amazing alternative for us (or anyone that couldn’t get parking at Sam’s Point in Minnewaska State Park)!
We had never heard of Shawangunk Ridge State Forest and could not believe how beautiful it was!
Where is Shawangunk Ridge State Forest?
Shawangunk Ridge State Forest is located in New York State in the Shawangunk Range south of the Catskills. Shawangunk Ridge State Forest is 2 hours and around 90 miles from New York City, New York. It is also 2 hours and 90 miles from Albany, New York.
The Hike in Shawangunk Ridge State Forest
We hiked the Red Trail and Shawangunk Ridge Trail Loop. This loop was absolutely gorgeous throughout every single part. On AllTrails, it is marked as moderate, but if you take the route counter-clockwise, it is slightly easier than a moderate hike. Going counter-clockwise, you will have a gradual incline on a wide forest path.
Soon you will reach rock cliff faces that you will follow for a bit before summiting the ridge. The part of the trail along the cliff faces was one of my favorite parts. You will walk in between the cliffs and boulders the size of houses. (We actually thought this was better than the cliff walks at Cuyahoga National Park!)
After following the cliff face, you will summit the ridge and be rewarded with gorgeous views. There is a small intersection and make sure to bear left if going counter-clockwise.
The views are astounding! On a clear day, you can see 3 states! We were even able to see the giant obelisk at New Jersey’s High Point in High Point State Park from here. You can see the Catskills and land in Pennsylvania. We weren’t expecting to see such a gorgeous view in all directions. We went in fall when all of the trees were changing colors. The bushes that line most of the rocky ridge were turning bright red, making it feel very magical walking on the trail.
The trail follows the ridge for a while, getting more views throughout the whole thing. Around one-third of the trail follows the ridge. Eventually, you will drop back off the ridge and head back down to the parking area.
This trail completely blew our expectations out of the water. It is a wonderful trail to try any season of the year. If you plan on visiting in the late fall, be sure to wear blaze orange or brightly colored clothing since hunting is allowed in this area.
For helping you with your hike, I recommend using AllTrails to see the latest conditions of the trail and for making sure you stay on the right path.
After your hike, if you are heading south, I must always recommend stopping in Chester, New York at Valkyrie Coffee Roasters. Even though we’ve visited thousands of coffee shops over the years, Valkyrie Coffee Roasters continues to be one of my very favorites. We stop here anytime in the area and hope that you can too!
Have you been to this part of New York before? Any hikes in New York you would recommend? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Thanks for reading!