Eagle Cliff and Copes Lookout is an easy hike along mostly flat, level paths with spectacular views of Mohonk Lake, cliffs, and the Shawangunk Ridge – it’s what makes Mohonk Mountain House so special.
Mohonk Mountain House is a private resort. Access to hike the 85 miles of trails on the property requires buying a hiking pass which must be purchased in advance. Day hiking guests are not permitted inside the Mountain House and must park at the lot near the gatehouse, which is a 2.2 mile walk to the Mohonk Mountain House.
Hike Length: 2.45 miles for Eagle Cliff and Copes Lookout. In addition, you will need to walk 2.2 miles to and from the hiker parking lot to Mohonk Lake, making it a total of almost 7 miles.
Elevation gain: +300 feet (for just Eagle Cliff and Copes Lookout)
Location: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY
Parking for day guest hiking passes is located adjacent to the Mohonk Gatehouse (Google maps link). Note that this is a 2.2 mile walk from the Mountain House and you are not allowed to drive and park any closer. There are restroom facilities and vending machines in the parking lot.
- Shawangunk Trails Map – NY-NJ Trail Conference (paid, print)
- Shawangunk (Mohonk Mountain House – Map 106A) – NY-NJ Trail Conference (paid, Avenza)
- Mohonk Lake Region Hikers Map – Mohonk Mountain House (free)
Eagle Cliff and Copes Lookout Trail Description
From the parking lot to Mohonk Lake
First, you’ll need to walk approximately 2 miles from the hiker parking lot towards the Mohonk Mountain House/Mohonk Lake area.
At the Gatehouse parking lot where day hikers must park, there are bathrooms, vending machines, and garbage bins. Look for the trailhead with the sign for the “Walking Trail to Mountain House”.
From here, we’ll follow several trails and carriage roads like the one below that connect with each other.
Follow the green arrow signs which will lead you to Mohonk Mountain House.
Walk either along the lake in front of Mohonk Mountain House or behind the hotel to make your way to the Eagle Cliff Road. This is a flat carriage road that is an easy walk along the top of the cliff on the west side of Mohonk Lake. There are viewpoints along the way of the lake and Skytop Tower.
The path winds in order to ascend gradually, but there are several shortcut trails you can take through the woods for a more interesting hike. Everywhere you see a gazebo, you can be sure that it’s a great spot to stop and enjoy the view.
One of the best views on the premises is at the viewpoint named for Bert Smiley, who served as President and CEO of Mohonk Mountain House from 1990 to 2018.
The trail continues and reaches a pair if final viewpoints – Huntington Lookout and Artists Rock with amazing views of the Trapps area of the Shawangunk Ridge to the south.
Eagle Cliff Road continues now without any more views. When we hiked it, we passed a family riding on a horse-drawn carriage.
After a while, look on your left for a trail, which unlike the Eagle Cliff Trail is not a carriage road. This will be the Copes Lookout Trail. Follow this through the woods until you reach a sign pointing you towards the Copes Lookout. There’s a great view from here, but for an even better view, descend down the steps to the summerhouse on the cliff, which is technically just over the border into Mohonk Preserve.
Head back up and now follow the Copes Lookout Road – a carriage road – back to the Mohonk Mountain House.
Back to the Parking Lot
From here, head to the “putting green” circle in front of the Mountain House and take Huguenot Road to begin the hike back to your car. Now, instead of following the green arrows we followed earlier, simply follow the red arrows with the car symbol to make your way back to the parking lot.
On your way back, just before you reach the junction with Sky Top Road, you’ll reach Garden Overlook at a cliff. Turn around and enjoy the view.
Once you reach the junction with Sky Top Road, you’ll be retracting your steps back to the parking lot, following the red arrows, along the same way you came.