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In response to a Facebook post with nice pictures of Sam’s Point, some friendly hikers dropped a couple of good tips about parking at Sam’s Point: “you should note in your trail guide that there is very limited parking at Sam’s Point and once the lot reaches its capacity, they turn away hikers. If you don’t get there early on weekends, you’re very likely to be turned away! The NYS Empire Pass would also be accepted at the parking lot.” Thanks, Salley!Due to a wildfire that recently tore through the park, the falls trail detailed below is closed until further notice (perhaps re-opening in mid-late 2017).Some areas of the park are now open, including the ice caves (weather permitting – they are closed in the winter and generally re-open in May). (And thank you, Thomas O’Brien, for the heads-up on this site’s Facebook page.) Looks like the area still has a lot of healing to do, but it’s wonderful news that it’s healthy enough to handle visitors again. The Minnewaska State Park Preserve has a nice trail map available from its official NYS Parks Sam’s Point page.Before planning a visit here, be sure to check the official Sam’s Point page for the most current trail information. They should have copies at the visitor’s center as well, but you could look extra cool by already having one of your own. From the parking area, head around the gate on the main trail, shown as the Loop Road on the map. Follow the decrepit old road as it gains altitude and meanders through several switchbacks.Equal parts Dexter and 50 Shades, this is the eagerly awaited follow-up to the daring erotic thriller, The Girl in 6E, by A.
That’s the hike I did on my first five visits here; it’s beautiful the whole way and not too steep.
Optionally, you could add a spur to the ice caves and another spur to Lake Maratanza, but that would be a lot of hiking for one day (I’ve never done all three in one shot, but in theory it should be pretty doable for hard-core hikers).
In the trail guide below, I’ll give the hike as if you’re just visiting Verkeerderkill Falls and coming straight back (which is what I normally do here), but I’ll list optional steps, with the extra mileage you’d be tackling, if you’d like to visit the ice caves and Lake Maratanza as well.
There are some ladders on the trail through the caves, so if you brought your dog, I hope she can climb ladders, or you’ll need to give her a little help. Bernard, you could also explore some of the caves with your pooch and then turn around when you come to the ladders – you’d still get to explore a good bit of the caves that way.) Because they stay so cold, the ice caves are often impassible well into the spring.
It would be a bummer to get all the way down to the ice caves entrance to find them closed, so if you’re here in early spring or late fall, check at the visitor’s center at the trailhead to make sure they’re open.