Hike along striking white cliff edges while enjoying panoramic views of the Shawangunk region of New York.
7.3 miles, the surface is a mix of wide, graded carriage roads and trail. There are several somewhat steep downhill/uphill sections. Cliff edges have exposed sheer drop-offs.
- Longer: Add in Awosting Falls for an extra 1.8 round trip. Directions below.
- Longer: Extend the route past Millbrook Mountain.
- Longer alternate: Start at the Jenny Lane lot.
- Variation: Approach from West Trapps trailhead in Mohonk Preserve.
- Nearby: Labyrinth and the Lemon Squeeze; Bonticou Crag; Sam’s Point.
- Combine two hikes into getaway: “The Gunks Overnighter: Gertude’s Nose, Labyrinth and the Lemon Squeeze“
Our two cents:
The reward-to-effort on this hike is in your favor with wide, long-lasting views. Fall foliage is especially striking against the white Shawangunk conglomerate rock.
All of this can make for a popular/crowded hike… hit it on a weekday if you can. And the lot doesn’t open till 9 am – early-bird hikers, see the note on Jenny Lane.
Updated: 4/2020: Page refreshed, not re-hiked.
Shawangunk Trails is better than the online Minnewaska State Park map. They likely give you a park map at the gate but we always prefer TC maps and don’t bother to ask.
Most intersections in this park have large map boards with “you are here” marks and highlighted trails but it’s always a good idea to have a map with you.
A similar route in the opposite direction is in Take a Hike New York City, plus it has several other good hikes in the area.
Parking: N41.72886° W74.23717° [Main lot]
The lot is gated until 9 am. $10 per vehicle. Several paved lots at the lake area, plus an overflow lot at Awosting Carriage Road.
If the other lots are full you’ll be starting from there and may as well hit up Awosting Falls on the way.
There is no parking right at Awosting Falls – the map shows a parking icon, but that is handicap access only.
Option: The small Jenny Lane lot [N41.74258° W74.25440°] is an option for hikers who like to start earlier than 9 am.
This will add distance to the hike – roughly 2.5 mile each way – and might involve a rock hop over a stream. You could also add Awosting Falls on the way.
From Jenny Lane: Wawarsing Turnpike Trail to the intersection with High Peters Kill then cross the road to enter the park.
Out-and-back to Awosting Falls, and then take Sunset CR up to the last parking lot and pick up the directions below. Note: While we researched this option, we did not end up hiking it.
A sign in the last lot directed to a set of Porta-johns (to the left if facing the lake) and was a tiny bit out of the way for this route.
There are also composting toilets by the swimming area of Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road, passed on this route.
Overview: Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED) – Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road (YELLOW) – Gertude’s Nose (RED) – Millbrook Mountain Trail (RED) – Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED)
0.0 – From the far end of the last parking lot, a path leads down to Lake Minnewaska but many paths lead to the lake from the various lots.
Basically… get to the lake and then follow the wide gravel Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED) as it hugs the lake – while keeping the lake on your left side.
[The carriage road goes all around the lake, but for this route, it makes more sense to go this way). The carriage roads may be blazed sparsely.
Keep following Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED)… pass the Sunset Carriage Road (this leads to Awosting Falls if you’d like to check that out later).
Pass the Upper Awosting Carriage Road, composting toilets, and the Castle Point Carriage Road (BLUE).
0.8 – Turn LEFT and now follow Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road (YELLOW). Pass Hamilton Point Carriage Road.
1.5 – Patterson’s Pellet.
2.0 – Veer RIGHT and now follow Gertude’s Nose (RED) on a trail [Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road continues straight].
The trail will head downhill steeply to cross a power line and then go back up. Continue on Gertrude’s Nose (RED) along the edge of a cliff with outstanding views.
Note! It always goes without saying to be careful with your footing and aware of your surroundings, but here it is especially important.
There are large crevices, sheer drop-offs, and overhanging rocks… just be cautious and not stupid when striking your Intrepid Adventurer poses for Facebook and Instagram.
This looks like I’m much closer to the edge than I am – you can get a cool shot without taking chances:
3.3 – The trail rounds a point at Gertrude’s Nose before starting to head back into the forest.
View from the tip of the Gertrude’s Nose trail:
Continue on Gertrude’s Nose (RED) as it starts to head downhill to the power line again.
4.3 – Once the power line cut is crossed, look for a casual side trail on the right side.
This leads to a nearby rock opening with very cold air coming out of it. Nifty and super refreshing on the hot day we hiked this.
Continue on Gertrude’s Nose (RED) as it heads up – very steeply – with some scrambling.
5.1 – Arrive at Millbrook Mountain. Lots of views, including Skytop Tower at Mohonk Mountain House.
Skytop Tower on Mohonk Mountain House from Millbrook Mountain – we hiked this the next day:
5.2 – Look for the sign for Millbrook Mountain Trail (RED) and Millbrook Ridge Trail (BLUE) where a carriage road ends in a turnaround.
Walk a few steps to another sign and turn LEFT to now follow Millbrook Mountain Trail (RED) – there is also a sign pointing in that direction to Lake Minnewaska.
Continue on Millbrook Mountain (RED) as it heads downhill to cross Coxing Kill… then heads uphill back to Lake Minnewaska.
6.3 – Turn LEFT and now follow Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED). [This also goes to the right which will end up at the parking lot too – you won’t be retracing your steps this way, but it might be a touch longer]
6.5 – Continue on Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED) [Pass Millbrook Mountain (YELLOW) on the left, from earlier in the day].
Continue retracing the route on Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road (RED) back to the parking lot.
Optional Add-on: Awosting Falls; adds about 1.8 miles round trip
Nearly back to the parking lot, start following the Sunset Carriage Road (ORANGE) and take it to Awosting Falls Carriage Road (RED).
These are wide, gravel roads that snake downhill the entire way to the Falls… which means you need to hike uphill on the return.
The falls are very nice but keep in mind there are not going to be as impressive in summer or drier months.
Hiked: 8/25/16. Trail Blog: “The Gunks Overnighter: Gertrude’s Nose, Labyrinth and the Lemon Squeeze“