Overview: The highlight of this relatively short 2.5 mile loop hike is a rock scramble to Bonticou Crag – a prominent, stark-white crag featuring cliffs and views overlooking the valley. There is also the option to avoid the scramble via a footpath.
About Mohonk Preserve: With origins dating back to 1963, Mohonk Preserve is New York State’s largest nonprofit nature preserve and protects and manages in perpetuity over 8,000 acres of mountain ridges, forests, fields, streams, ponds, and other unique environments. Learn more at mohonkpreserve.org.
Hike Length: 2.4 miles
Elevation Gain: +715 feet
Location: Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz, New York
Parking: Park at the Spring Farm Trailhead parking lot. Arrive early, because the lot is pretty smell and often fills up early. The lot opens at 9am, unless you’re a member, in which case you can enter early at 7am. The entrance fee is $15 per adult.
From the parking lot, follow the signs for the Crag Trail. Be careful to follow the red blazes as there are a lot of other small trails criss-crossing the area. About 3/4 of a mile in, you’ll reach a 5-way junction. Take the Bonticou Road, then make a left onto the Northeast Trail. After a short distance, you’ll have a choice to make.
You can either continue straight to go up the rock scramble or turn left to reach the top via the Bonticou Foot Path (orange path on the map above). The scramble is fun, but be warned that there are a few challenging spots. If you do it, make sure it’s not raining, your shoes have good grip, and you’re in good shape.
Once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with an exposed sparkly white outcropping and views of the surrounding mountains.
Once you’re done exploring, follow the Bonticou Footpath down. Eventually, you’ll turn left on the Northeast Trail, and then make a quick right on the Cedar Trail. Just follow the signs back to the parking lot. You’ll make a right onto Cedar Drive, then eventually a sharp right onto Spring Farm Road. You’ll pass an open area with a large tree that provides nice shade if you need to take a break.
Just a little further down, you’ll reach the “Million Dollar View”.
Continue along the road a little further and you’ll be back at the parking lot.