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  1. #1

    Default Any information on thru-hiking the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT)?

    I found a couple of threads here on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT), but there wasn't much information on thru-hiking it. Information online is quite sparse, with the exception of the trail maps; I couldn't find any trip reports.
    I'm planning a 100-or-so mile hike starting on the AT at Wawayanda, then transitioning to the SRT at High Point and hiking it to the end at the Mohonk preserve.
    I was wondering if anyone had experience hiking the SRT and could recommend any features worth checking out, tips for where to camp etc? I'm also trying to calculate how long it will take me. I thru-hiked the PCT last year so I'm in great physical shape; I'm wondering if the terrain makes a 15-20 mile day realistic?
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    I'd suggest that you go ahead and buy the book/map set combo from the NJ-NYTC, as it has more detail and other features (like elevation contours) that the online maps don't have. You can also consult resources for the Long Path, since much of the SRT is congruent with its southern sections. In general, having hiked some in the area, I can say that your daily mileage is probably realistic. Much of the southern part (between Huckleberry Ridge SF and Wurtsboro) is along old railroad grades and by Basha Kill Lake, so that's pretty fast hiking. Just be prepared for much steeper elevation changes in the other section compared to what you did on the PCT.
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    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Second the motion on buying the book and the maps.

    Where to camp - If you're concerned about legality, stay on state forest land (State Forest is OK, Wildlife Management Area or State Park don't allow at-large camping.) There are lots of choices, even so. Huckleberry Ridge, Graham Mountain, Gobbler's Knob, Wurtsboro Ridge, Roosa Gap, Shawangunk Ridge State Forest, are all ok. There's no at-large camping in Basha Kill, or in Minnewaska, although Minnewaska has a couple of paid campgrounds.

    On the state forest land, there's not much problem finding a spot. The woods are pretty open down there, and any place that's over 150 feet from a trail, road, or watercourse is OK.

    Wurtsboro and the Ellenville-Napanoch-Wawarsing strip have a decent selection of services (grocery stores, laundromats, motels, ...) if you're not planning to do the hundred miles at one go.

    The trail is all pretty easy until you actually hit the Shawangunk ridge north of Wurtsboro. Then it gets a little scrambly in spots and is more like AT than PCT.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  4. #4

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    Many thanks for the advice! I've ordered the book and map combo. Good to know there are a couple of solid resupply points along the route. It sounds like there are some wonderful views from the ridge too. I noticed there's an "ice caves" side trail - are you familiar with that? It sounds worth checking out.

  5. #5

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    The Gunks are spectacular during foliage season, especially the Sam's Point Preserve, where the lowbush blueberry bushes turn a rich dark red. Against the background of the scrub pines, it's really something to see.

  6. #6

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    I was up on the Wurtsboro to Ellenville section back in the fall. Beautiful views to the west and I've had thoughts about hiking the full length of the trail myself. I guess you've already seen this:

    https://www.nynjtc.org/region/shawangunk-ridge-trail
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    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camerhil View Post
    Many thanks for the advice! I've ordered the book and map combo. Good to know there are a couple of solid resupply points along the route. It sounds like there are some wonderful views from the ridge too. I noticed there's an "ice caves" side trail - are you familiar with that? It sounds worth checking out.
    Yes, there are a number of side trails in Minnewaska/Sam's Point that are worth checking out, including two 'Ice Caves' trails.

    One 'Ice Caves' side trail is described here: https://www.nynjtc.org/hike/print/166 It was formerly developed as a tourist attraction, but is being returned to a more 'wild' state - at least they've taken out things like the multicoloured floodlights.

    There's another (unblazed) 'Ice Caves' trail, not shown on most of the maps, that goes up Shingle Gully over Nature Conservancy land. It's even more spectacular from the point of view of hiking up an exposed earthquake fault, but is considerably more hazardous. You need a permit for this one. I don't know the procedure any more, I think it's changed, but the Sam's Point office at (845) 647-7989 would most likely be able to tell you how to get a permit for it. It might not yet be possible - the Smiley carriage road has been closed since the fire of a couple of years ago. The only part that's open is where the Long Path uses it. For this hike, a climbing helmet, headlamp and approach shoes are recommended - it's very scrambly, and while not a true cave, the gorge is deep and can be quite dark indeed at the bottom. There's no technical climbing, but rockfall from the walls of the gorge can be a possibility.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  8. #8

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    Very informative - thank you Another Kevin. The unblazed trail is probably beyond my scope for this hike, but I'll keep it in mind for the future.

    Knee Jerk, I did see that link - it's a useful starting point. Looking forward to fleshing out my knowledge with the guide book and full maps. It's been such a long winter - it'll be glorious to be out in the wild again.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by camerhil View Post
    ...It's been such a long winter - it'll be glorious to be out in the wild again.
    Yeah, tell me about it: In January, we went more than 30 days without the temperature climbing above the freezing mark up here in Warwick. I have my hammock and tarp strung up in my garage and my wife and kids say I am suffering from a severe case of cabin fever.

    I did get out on the trail this past Monday and got 7 miles in before the most recent snowstorm but we are supposed to get another one on Wednesday!
    It's not a camera - it's a tiny little chip, embedded in a smartphone, hiding behind a crummy plastic lens. It's not a camera.

  10. #10

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    I have very fond memories of Warwick! On our very first AT section hike, my wife and I started at Bear Mountain and hiked to Wawayanda, where we were picked up by an extremely tactful Warwick B&B owner. I'm sure her car required a hose down after we got out. There's no finer way to end a long hike than with a Long Trail Ale at Yesterdays.

    Good luck with your next hike! Hopefully the sub-freezing days are behind us now (I'm just pretending this coming storm doesn't exist).

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by camerhil View Post
    I have very fond memories of Warwick! On our very first AT section hike, my wife and I started at Bear Mountain and hiked to Wawayanda, where we were picked up by an extremely tactful Warwick B&B owner. I'm sure her car required a hose down after we got out. There's no finer way to end a long hike than with a Long Trail Ale at Yesterdays.

    Good luck with your next hike! Hopefully the sub-freezing days are behind us now (I'm just pretending this coming storm doesn't exist).

    Yes, Warwick is a very nice place - it has a "Currier and Ives" feel to it. Let me know when you are up this way and I'll buy you a cold one at Yesterdays! The owner is a friend and my wife and I end up there quite often. On St. Patty's Day, he paints a green line down the middle of Main Street at the stroke of midnight (the police are changing shifts at that time) and the last two years he's graciously allowed me to man the paint roller.
    Last edited by Knee Jerk; 03-04-2018 at 19:08.
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  12. #12

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    That's a hilarious anecdote. I love those quirks that every small town has. My wife and I are planning on re-doing the NY section when the fall colours come out, so I will be in touch!

  13. #13
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    the ice caves aren't open year round. just in warmer seasonal weather. i went up there in feb and they were closed and going back to minnewaska in 2 weeks and they will still be closed. check online or call the park to see if that's open before you take the side trail. there's also a great side trail to a waterfall i'm hoping will be open. the views from sams point are amazing, so is the geology of the whole ridge
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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  14. #14

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    Nice trail, but there are camping restrictions. No camping at Sam's Point or Minnewaska. We camped along an old grade south of Sam's Point, not ideal but it worked. The SRT is very curvy through the state park, so keep an eye on blazes, and it will take more time than you might expect. Great views from the ledges and cliffs.

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