If you live near New Paltz, New York or are visiting the Shawangunks (The Gunks), and want a great rock scramble and day hike, try Bonticou Crag (1,194 ft). It’s a knife edge style, rock ridge, located in the Mohonk Preserve, with fantastic views of the Catskills mountains. Be forewarned. This is not a hike for dogs, children, those who are afraid of heights, or lacking 4 point (hands and feet) rock scrambling confidence.
Getting to the Crag requires a hike. While parking is available at Spring Farm, I prefer starting at The Mohonk Gatehouse and following the Bonticou Carriageway to the base of the Crag. The Carriageways are a unique feature of this region and well worth exploring fully in the Mohonk Preserve and neighboring the Minnewaska State Park.
If you are staying at the Mountain House or are a day visitor, the maps distributed by the Mohonk Preserve are sufficient to navigate to the crag. However, if you’re interested in multiple hikes in the area, I highly recommend that you get the Shawangunk Trails Map Set published by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. They are printed on Tyvek and are an excellent resource for planning trips throughout this hiking Meca.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (New Paltz). Turn left onto Route 299 and drive west through the Village of New Paltz. After crossing the Wallkill River bridge at the west end of the village, turn right onto Springtown Road, following signs for the Mohonk Mountain House. At the next intersection, turn left onto Mountain Rest Road for 3.3 miles to the entrance to the Mohonk Mountain House at the top of the hill.
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