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USA/Mid-Atlantic: New Paltz, NY

Battle to Save the 'Gunks'

A Recommended Walk

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Time: 1 1/2 hours for a short walk; 4 3/4 hours for the complete walk
Distance: 3 miles for a short walk; 9 miles for the complete walk
To begin:

From the information kiosk by the uppermost parking lot, face the lake and walk to the right of the flat rocks. Turn left at a dirt path, and follow it down toward the lake.

Waypoint 1

At a junction overlooking the lake, turn right. After about 20 yards, at the junction of two trails, bear left, and take the lower of the two trails, following a sign for Upper Awosting, Castle Point, Millbrook Mountain.

Waypoint 2

View between Waypoints 2 & 3At the next junction, by the shoreline and bathrooms, continue straight, following the red-blazed carriageway. At the next junction, bear left, following the red blazes. Continue on the carriageway as it winds uphill. There soon is a great view over the lake on your left.

Waypoint 3

View of Catskills near Waypoint 3Just past the viewpoint, turn right onto Castle Point Carriageway and follow the blue blazes. Proceed uphill. Pass through a meadow with a wonderful view of mountains to your right. Shortly after the meadow, you reach a carriageway on the left. (If you wish to shorten the walk, turn left and follow this trail. You soon rejoin the walk at Waypoint 5.)

If you opt for the full walk, you add about 2 ½ hours, but you will be rewarded with fantastic views of Gertrude’s Nose and Lake Awosting. To proceed on the full walk, ignore the carriageway to the left. Continue straight, ascending a blue-blazed carriageway. Beware of steep cliffs and crevices to your left. Admire the view at Kempton Ledge. Continue on as the path winds around a huge rock formation. Pass under a power line and continue uphill, enjoying the incredible views.

About two hours after you began the walk, you reach Castle Point, marked by a boulder with two turquoise blazes. You have wonderful views of Lake Awosting to the west. At the boulder, turn right. Ignore a small, turquoise-blazed footpath (Blueberry Run Path) on your right. Descend along the blue-blazed trail as it winds and twists steeply downhill.

Waypoint 4

Gertrude's Nose from Hamitlon CarriagewayAt a junction of trails (at this point, you have walked about 2 ½ hours since leaving your car), turn left and follow the yellow-blazed Hamilton Point Carriageway. In five or 10 minutes, you reach the rocky shelf of Hamilton Point. Beware of the steep cliffs to your right. Continue on. After about 3 ½ hours since you began walking, you reach a roundabout beside Echo Rock Viewpoint. Follow either path. They merge after several yards.

Waypoint 5

About 30 minutes after leaving Echo Rock, you reach a trail on your left (this is the carriageway for walkers who chose to abbreviate the walk in Waypoint 3). Ignore it and continue straight.

Waypoint 6

In about two minutes, you reach a junction. Ignore the carriageway to the right to Millbrook Mountain. Bear slightly left onto the yellow-blazed carriageway.

Waypoint 7

At a trail junction, turn right and follow the red-blazed trail. You descend to the lake shore. Continue on the trail as it winds around the lake, ignoring a trail to the left.

Waypoint 8

At the next junction, turn right, following the red-blazed lower trail. (If you are looking for a picnic area, continue straight on the upper trail or stop at one of the picnic areas you will soon reach on the walk.)

Waypoint 9

Gazebo in Waypoint 9At the next junction beyond the picnic areas, turn left. In 20 or 30 yards, you reach a gazebo with a great view overlooking the lake. Retrace your steps to Waypoint 9 and continue straight toward a barn. Make a sharp turn to the left just before the barn, following the carriageway as it descends through the trees and under a wooden footbridge. Stay on the main carriageway as you pass the park office on your left, ignoring several trails to the left.

Waypoint 10

At the next junction, just before some portable toilets, turn left and proceed uphill. Pass a ski rental shop that’s on your left. Continue straight to the information kiosk.

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