Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
820.00 ft (249.94 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
11.00 mi (17.70 km)
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The trail over Millbrook Mountain to Gertrude’s Nose is one of the most favored in the Shawangunk Mountains. Nicknamed the Gunks, these mountains are renowned among rock climbers throughout the world. An estimated 50,000 climbers visit this region each year, making it one of the busiest rock climbing destinations in America. This adventure begins at the West Trapps Trailhead (map) located on Route 44-55 a few miles east of the entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve and the Peter’s Kill parking area. There is a $15 day use fee payable at the booth in the parking area. From here, the Millbrook Ridge Trail-head is located across the road. (Gertrude’s Nose is also accessible via a shorter route that includes a combination of carriage roads and hiking paths from the parking area near Lake Minnewaska.) The trail is an approximately 10-mile long loop that gains 850 feet in elevation as it wraps around a stunning white conglomerate cliff edge with incredible views to the north, east, and south throughout the Hudson River Valley. 

The aqua-blazed Millbrook Mountain Trail begins near the Trapps Road Bridge over Route 44-55. Depending on the status of construction, you may need to navigate to this bridge via a temporary trail directly across the road from the parking area, or via the path at the eastern end of the parking area. It is best to ask to ask the park attendant at the booth for more accurate information upon your arrival. From the bridge, begin a quick ascent up a rock path with varied flat and protruding rock faces.  As you climb higher, you may reach a sign that directs you to look back to the north for a view of Skytop Tower (1921), a designated National Historic Landmark that overlooks the renowned Mohonk Mountain House. The Catskill Mountains also stand above the horizon to the northwest.

The path will continue to climb and head toward the eastern cliff face. Pitch pines surround you and their needles cover the ground. The size of these trees belies their actual age, which is commonly several hundred years old. Be very careful of these vertical drops that are some of the highest sheer faces east of the Mississippi River. There are extensive views of the flatlands to the south and east out to the Hudson River. Continue for approximately 3.5-miles, where you will come to an intersection with a few hiking paths and a carriage road with a sign that says “Millbrook Mountain” and shows a viewpoint symbol. The summit is a giant rock slab scattered with a few pitch pines grasping onto sediments in the small cracks and crevices. Take note of this location, because you will come back to this point on your return. While your journey began in the Mohonk Preserve, you have since crossed into Minnewaska State Park Preserve. This park produces a map that will help you navigate your route from this point.

Continue to the south on the red-blazed Gerturde’s Nose Trail that is also marked by some cairns. The trail now follows a slow descent with a few drastic dips and natural viewing platforms. You can see all the way to Fishkill Ridge, Mount Beacon, Hudson Highlands State Park, and Storm King State Park. Pass under some power lines and travel farther along the ridge until you can go no further: You've reached the tip of Gertrude’s Nose. Below you are the shattered remains of a crumbling cliff face that continues to break apart and fall with each year of freezing and thawing. Watch your step as you pass by and over large cracks and crevices that drop several hundred feet into the mountain.

As the trail makes a turn toward the north, you can see both Hamilton and Castle Points to the west: Both are similar in composition to Gertrude’s Nose. Each is a high level plateau of faulted and fractured conglomerate cap rock, the white signature geology of the Shawangunks. Mountain Laurel bloom in beautiful pinks and whites during late June along with a rarer purple variation. Blueberry mattes also cover the landscape and you can indulge in their delicious fruit throughout the first few weeks in July.

The path dips back under the power lines and navigates through thicker woods until arriving at the intersection of the Millbrook Carriageway. Turn right and follow this gravel path on a gradual descent for a little over 1-mile back to Millbrook Mountain. At the end of the road, you will recognize the intersection, as you have passed it before. Look for the Millbrook Ridge Trail leading left into the woods; it is the path you started on marked by the aqua blazes. At the intersection with the red-blazed Millbrook Mountain Trail, take a left downhill to the west. This path leads to Lake Minnewaska, but before you get there, take a right at the next intersection with the blue-blazed Coxing Trail. 

The trail heads north and continues to descend the west side of Millbrook Mountain into pine groves and a low area with grasses and some wooden planks to help you over wet bog areas. Remain on this path as you return into the Mohonk Preserve. Eventually you will come back to the Trapp’s Road Carriageway. Head right to return to the bridge over Route 44-55 and back to the parking area. An alternate path may take a more direct route through the last bit of woods back to the parking area, depending on how you began your journey.

Origin of the name

One story as to the origin of the name Gertrude’s Nose doesn’t actually make reference to any person’s proboscis. It refers to a woman named Gertrude who was a regular guest at the Wildmere (1955) hotel that once overlooked Lake Minnewaska. She was proposed to many times at the park, which was then privately owned, yet her answer was always “No.” These numerous denied requests led to the mountain being named “Gertrude’s No’s,” which, over the years, became changed to its homonym, “Gertrude’s Nose.”

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Minnewaska State Park Preserve offers fantastic opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, boating, picnicking, swimming, cross-country skiing, and trail running. Located on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, New York, this rocky terrain rises more the 2,000 feet above sea level and hosts 25 miles of footpaths and 35 miles of carriage roads for all levels of skill and enjoyment. It is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the region, only about a 90-minute drive from New York City, and it hosts approximately 250,000 visitors each year. The park preserve opens daily at 9:00 a.m., and closing times vary with sunset throughout the year. The entrance is off of Route 44/55, and admission is $10 per vehicle. Seniors over 62 are free on weekdays with a valid New York State identification. Dogs are permitted, but they must be on a leash not more than 6 feet in length.

More adventures

Another popular trail loop starting at the West Trapps Parking area is the Undercliff/Overcliff Loop that’s a carriage way for biking and horseback riding. Climbers flock to this area of the West Trapps to practice their skills and enjoy these beautiful conglomerate cliffs. Some of the most popular scenic spots, guaranteed to be worth the adventure, include Hamilton Point, Castle Point, Murray Hill, Verkeerder Kill Falls, Margaret Cliff, Awosting Falls, Lake Awosting, Stony Kill Falls, Beacon Hill, Litchfield Ledge, Rainbow Falls, and High Peters Kill.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Amazing views. Stunning white conglomerate geology.

Cons

Dangerous cliff edges and crevises.

Trailhead Elevation

900.00 ft (274.32 m)

Features

Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Geologically significant

Location

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