Ice Caves and Sam's Point /Intermediate hike...bailout option for beginners

  • November 2, 2013 · 9:15 AM
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Highlights: Rare dwarf pitch pine barrens, waterfalls, views, cliffs, ice caves - this hike has it all!

Where: Cragsmoor, NY

Distance: 10 miles round trip, elevation Gain: 1461 ft

Optional bailout at the falls...Tom from another meetup group will lead you back from falls..a total of about 5 miles

Time: 6 hours

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Hike Type: Loop

Cost: $10.00 per car (carpooling is suggested)

This is not a hike for beginners.

No kids, no pets, no exceptions.

We will hike at a steady pace with frequent stops at view points over rocky trails and some light rock scrambling. There is 1 steep incline of 200 feet. The hike is long, but the views are fantastic.

Suggestions of what to bring:

3+ liters of water

Lunch and snacks

Bug spray w/ tick repellent (ticks are active)


This hike will take you through Sam's Point preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy. The preserve is part of the Shawangunk ridge extending into Minnewaska State Park. We will hike through a rare and endangered ecosystem, consisting of a dwarf pitch pine barren, one of the few remaining in the world. We will also hike to the ice caves which were formed from the boulders from the cliffs, creating huge rock crevices or caves. The air in the caves gets trapped keeping the interior cold enough for snow to stay through July!

On a clear day you are able to see NY, NJ, CT, MA & VT from the High Point section of the trail!  Sweeping vistas of the Catskills, Rondout Valley and High Point monument in NJ are always visible in any direction. This is one hike where you will definitely want your camera charged and ready to go!  The trail will take you past Verkeerder Kill Falls (higher than Niagara Falls!) and some old berry picker shacks.


From your home location find your way to Ellenville NY going 209 North.  Once in Ellenville take NY 52 south (the turn off will be on your right.)  Proceed up the mountain and in about five miles, at the crest of the ridge, turn left at a sign to Cragsmoor.  Proceed north for 1.4 miles, turn right in front of the Cragsmoor post office, and then immediately turn right again onto Sam's Point Road which leads to the preserve's visitor center and parking area.  [Google Maps:  "Sam's Point Preserve, Cragsmoor, NY 12420"]

Carpooling is suggested.  If you are looking to carpool please list that in your RSVP and then make arrangements off-line.


A cell phone contact number will be provided for those attending.

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  • Judy A.

    It was a fantastic hike that I've been wanting to do for a while! Thanks Bob!!! Good to meet you all!!!!

    1 · November 4, 2013

    • Judy A.

      The office has a map and just follow the signs to the ice caves. Easy trail and good signage. The best maps are the ones purchased from NJ/NY Trail Conference. Enjoy!

      November 4, 2013

    • Mary L.

      Judy, thank you so much. Hoping I can make it out before it gets too cold. The pictures are amazing! :-)

      November 5, 2013

  • Daniel P.

    was a great hike with good people

    November 4, 2013

  • Karen

    Had a wonderful time, I'm glad I stuck it out

    November 2, 2013

  • suresh

    see you guys tomorrow at 9:15 AM. Please call me by 7:30 if plan changes. [masked]

    November 1, 2013

  • Melody

    Bob - signed up with Tom's group cause I haven't hiked in awhile. Hope to see you and your group there. It's been a long time.

    November 1, 2013

  • Bob

    Jeff I like to carpool with you, I am in Clifton

    November 1, 2013

  • Jeff

    Coming from West Orange NJ. Does anyone need a ride?

    October 31, 2013

  • Mary L.

    Unfortunately I couldn't make it this coming Sat either, but may try and do this on Sun. Any idea what color trail this is?

    October 27, 2013

  • Tim

    I love this hike but I'm already doing a hike with my dog owners group.

    October 24, 2013

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