Winter Hike: Bonticou Crag

I have missed the Gunks so much! This hike has been on my to-do list for nearly a year.  Although I don’t love the cold, I do love the fact that there weren’t any snakes on this trip (if you’ve read any of my climbing Gunks posts, you know I hate snakes)

Bonticou Crag is part of the Mohonk Preserve and is a relatively short hike (3 miles).  Since it’s part of the preserve, it’s a $15 day pass use fee, which is pretty pricey.  I got a membership last summer which pays off pretty fast if you climb and/or hike up there a lot.

The top of Bonticou Crag
Top of Bonticou Crag – facing the Catskill Mountains

The Hike

Most people park at the Spring Farm trailhead, and start the hike through a bunch of fields.  It feels relatively easy until you reach the bottom of Bonticou Crag then look up.

the start of the scramble – here we go
Catching my breathe under a huge boulder
the steep part of the scramble

Once you get to the top, there’s plenty to explore up there.  We went on a day where no one was out on the top.  It was just us! I can only imagine how crazy busy it gets in the summer but the views are worth it.

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looking over the edge!

After eating a bit at the top, we decided to head down and check out Table Rocks. However, although we took the right trail to get there, we just ended back at the parking lot but at that point  we already hiked 3 miles and I was ready to actually eat something warm.

View of the Catskill Mountains on our way to Table Rocks

New Paltz

I love New Paltz. I love the Gunks. I love eating after I work out. I grew up 30 minutes away from New Paltz but never really visited until I was in college.  It’s such a cute little hippie town with lots of good food and Rock & Snow (aka the quintessential climbing/outdoors store).

As for food, I usually eat at Mexcali Blue or Lola’s. This time, we went to Gilded Otter Brewing.  I don’t love beer but they had a good cider selection to chose from.

Chili with beer bread, which was very dense but worked well with the chili

After we ate, we decided to get some donuts at Kosiner Brothers Dohnut Shop, which was closed but they were selling their donuts at the fry shop next door.  The chocolate donut was very fluffly and the right amount of dough. These two eateries were inside the Water Street Market where there’s other restaurants and cafes and cute little boutique shops, which we wandered through with our donut and leftovers in hand.

Even though it was a two hour trip each way, it was definitely worth it! There’s a bus that goes up to New Paltz daily from the city but to get to Bonticou Crag, you’ll probably need a car since the trailhead is about 15 minutes from the village of New Paltz.


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