“An enjoyable hike around an alpine tarn with magnificent views.”
— Gunks Jesse
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This pleasant hike around Minnewaska Lake passes a swimming area, a few streams, runs along the lake, and has cliff top views of the Catskills and Gunks. This is a very nice hike to take kids on as it is a carriage road in its entirety and is designed for everyone to access.
Begin at the Minnewaska Lake parking area, and head towards the lake. Take the obvious trail running along the lake and follow it. Facing the lake, it is easiest to go right and counterclockwise, but either direction will work. These directions are based on a counterclockwise route.
Walk down a gentle hill with small rock faces on your right and the lake on the left. A summer swimming area will appear on your left with a nice beach. Continue up the trail as it gradually ascends. There are primitive toilets on the right if nature calls. The trail now gains more elevation and continues to circumnavigate the lake. Listen for water flowing down the rocks and into the lake on your left. Several trails depart on your right for points south of the lake. Continue on the obvious carriage road.
At the southern end of the lake, the road will go through some small switchbacks and descend to water level. As you continue past the lake, there are several small footpaths out to fantastic views of the valley below. This is not the Wallkill Valley, but it is the valley behind Millbrook, the Bayards, and the Near Trapps.
Back on the trail, continue as it turns north and rises to a small picnic area with great views of the Catskills. From here the trail continues under a footbridge, past an old barn on the right, and reconvenes with the parking area.
Flora & Fauna
Porcupines and deer are a common find on this hike. There are also quite a few varieties of birds, especially near the ravine edge.