Share:

Schunemunk State Park

Hudson Valley, New York

Start Exploring
Schunemunk State Park

Share:

Advertisement
  • Parking off of Otterkill Road under a trestle.- Schunemunk State Park
  • A junction of the Trestle and Otterkill trails.- Schunemunk State Park
  • An information kiosk at the Taylor Road parking area.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Jessup (Yellow) and Sweet Clover (White) Trailheads.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The tall grass field at the eastern base of the mountain.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Metro-North Railroad adjacent to the Otterkill Trail (Red).- Schunemunk State Park
  • A small waterfall at the base of the Dark Hollow Trail (Black).- Schunemunk State Park
  • Ascending the Sweet Clover (White) Trail.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Sweet Clover (White) Trail on the ridge.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Looking to the west from the western ridge.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Pines covering the two ridges.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Hiking along the ridge.- Schunemunk State Park
  • A very large ant hill.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Some minor rock scrambling approaching the summit.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The megaliths looking to the south.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The megaliths near the summit.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Purple conglomerate at the summit.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Traversing thick blueberry heaths.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The topography of the plateau.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The top of the Dark Hollow (Black) Trail.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Long Path (Aqua) and Western Ridge (Orange) intersection.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Large boulders at an open vista (looking west).- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Jessup (Yellow) and Long Path (aqua) junction.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Looking northeast from High Knob.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Black Rock Forest to the east.- Schunemunk State Park
  • Descending the High Knob on the Long Path (Aqua).- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Long Path (Aqua) along the Route 32 trestle.- Schunemunk State Park
  • The Metro-North trestle over Route 32.- Schunemunk State Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Vistas in every direction. Unique geology.
Cons: 
Train track crossing. Highway noise.
Advertisement
Region:
Hudson Valley, NY
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Sponsored Contributor

Schunemunk State Park is a 2,700-acre mountain with a nearly 3-mile double-crested ridge. Part of the Appalachian Mountains, this park is a sample of the long twists and bends that define this long range from Maine to Georgia. It’s located in the towns of Blooming Grove (the summit location), Cornwall, and Woodbury. There are eight marked trails spanning over 25 miles, which are fantastic for hiking and snowshoeing, and you can find wide open vistas in every direction.

Schunemunk Mountain is the highest peak in the park and the highest summit in Orange County, New York. Its name is of Algonquin origin, meaning “excellent fireplace.” There are a number of unusual geological features that grace this park that are dissimilar from Storm King and the Hudson Highlands to the east. The megaliths atop of this mountain are the most popular destination for hikers and a natural midpoint for many of the trails. They are enormous blocks of fissured bedrock that cracked and lifted at the summit, creating unusual platforms and crevices. The remains of a compacted seabed form a stark purple conglomerate rock face that will awe your inner geologist. Some of the round, sedimentary rocks are more than 8 inches in diameter and embedded within a matrix of white quartz and pink sandstone similar to that of Minnewaska State Park and the Shawangunk Ridge.

The largest parking area is on Taylor Road at the clearly marked Sweet Clover (white markers) and Jessup (yellow markers) trailheads. The first mile of these trails weaves through a tall grass field until entering the woods and intersecting the Otterkill Trail (red markers) that runs parallel to the Metro-North railroad tracks. BE CAREFUL WHEN CROSSING THE TRACKS! The electric trains move quickly and can be very hard to hear if approaching against the wind.

Many hikers choose to create a looped path that spans between 8 and 12 miles depending on the trail choice. The Dark Hollow Trail is another option that follows a steep stream bed up the eastern face of the mountain.  The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference publishes a map with all of the marked trails and their distances so you can decide on a route that’s best for you.

Another popular trail is the Trestle (White) Trail, which begins on Otterkill Road. This parking area is unmistakable; it is directly under the massive and scenic train trestle. There are few unofficial entrances into the woods, but the main path is easy to find and clearly marked. From here, it is a steep climb to the top of the western ridge with a few unique lookout points to the north.

Barton Swamp separates the two ridges and harnesses the Baby Brook that flows to the north and out to the Moodna Creek. This often results in a wet and muddy path for travelers trekking from one ridge to the other. As you dip into the valley, you enter a micro-climate with much different flora than that of the pitch pine and blueberry heaths covering the peaks. Perry Peak also drains the swamp at the southern end out to the Ramapo River.

The Long Path, aqua-blazed, is an approximately 350-mile trail that begins at the George Washington Bridge and ends in the Albany area of New York. In Schunemunk State Park, it begins under a second New Jersey Transit train trestle at the southern point of the park off of Route 32. (Parking can be found on the east side of the road a little farther south from of this point.) This trail climbs up the mountain from the south and offers eastern views of the Hudson Valley. After reaching High Knob, a minor summit in the park, the trail will intersect several other park trails and head southwest past a cell tower as it exits the park. From there, it leads through the Earl Reservoir Park and eventually Gonzaga Park for a total length of about 10 miles. (While the 4.2-mile orange-blazed Western Trail also shares the Long Path markings, it is considered an alternate Long Path entrance that is not part of the primary trail.)

Each ridge will provide you with unique views of the surrounding Hudson Valley. Directly to the west, there is the Black Rock Forest and Storm King State Park. Farther across the river there is Breakneck Ridge and the Mount Beacon Fire Tower. To the south, you can see Bear Mountain State Park and Harriman State Park. Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll be delighted by the large rock faces and open vistas that characterize this high plateau.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(50 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
3 Members
Who's Done It
3 Members
Submission by
Sponsored Contributor
143 Adventures Explored
126 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info