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New Paltz, NY: Mohonk Lake and Sky Top Tower

Trace the shoreline of Mohonk Lake before scrambling through limestone crevices to a memorial tower with views of the Shawangunks on this 3-mile lollipop.

Rating

Imagine trading every step on the trail for hand-over-hand scramble between towering crags. Now picture that doing that scramble for 45 minutes to an hour. That’s the Mohonk Mountain House’s Labyrinth, a combination of ladders and knee-scraping, unassisted climbs through gaps between mammoth rock slabs. Without question, the feature earns its name.
Hikers will know when they’re through the Labyrinth: the Shawangunks begin to appear and the trail goes over a comparatively mild boulder field. But there is one last push to the real views. A skinny split between cliff faces reveals the Crevice: a claustrophobia-inducing ladder climb to a 1,500-foot ridge.
Enduring the tight fit is worth it. Mountains, rolling hills, miles-long ridges, and farmland fill the landscape. Only the vistas from the Sky Top Tower, another hundred feet or so higher, are better.
Keep climbing to top of the stone tower, where visitors enjoy 360-degree views of the Gunks, the Mountain House’s grounds, and the mid-Hudson Valley.
When finished, follow the foot path down to Mohonk Lake and stroll around the shore for a cool-down. Wooden benches and tiny pavilions provide plenty of seating and resting opportunities. Boat rentals are also available back at the Mountain House. Close the loop there.  
 -Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

From New York City: Take I-87 North toward Albany and get off at Exit 18 toward New Paltz. At 0.8 miles, turn left at Main Street/NY-299/State Route 299 West. At 1.7 miles, turn right at Springtown Road/County Route 7. At 0.5 miles, make a slight left at Mountain Rest Road/Country Route 6. Continue 0.9 miles to Mohonk Mountain House. Fee is $18.

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