The Gunks are a world-class climbing destination, but the spring melt also brings day hikers, fat-tire enthusiasts, and hardy trail runners. The 6,500-acre Mohonk Preserve with its jagged cliffs and boulder fields, is a mecca for mountain bikers. If you don’t own a ride, rent one at Bicycle Depot in downtown New Paltz ($25 for half-day; $35 for a full day) and make sure to shove off early on weekends to ensure a parking space at the Spring Farm trailhead.
If you prefer to hoof it, lace up your boots and head to Minnewaska State Park. A 7.5-mile round-trip trek on the Upper Awosting and Castle Point loop trail offers views of the Hudson Valley and Catskills, and a stop at picture-worthy Rainbow Falls (3.5 miles from the trailhead). Dunk yourself in mile-long Lake Awosting midway along the hike.
And runners can train—without fear of trains—along the 12.2-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, near New Paltz. The discontinued tracks, wending through quiet orchards and farmlands, used to run freight all the way to Manhattan.