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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Get an Adrenaline Fix at the Gunks


3. What to Do

Lake Minnewaska  

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.

Published on Apr 25, 2007 as a web exclusive.

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