View Full Version : Minnewaska/Stony Kill falls 7/31
08-01-2007, 07:28 AM
Not wanting lung busting climbs or knee killer decents, I headed up to Minnewaska for a delightful walk to Stony Kill Falls. Shiloh and I started out at 10 AM on the Mossy Glen Trail. It follows the Peter's Kill, and on occassion zigs and zags through Hemlocks and Pitch Pine. It was one of our first hikes when we started a couple years ago. At it's end we hung a right across the Kill on Blueberry Run to the Jenny lane Trail which we followed to Lake Awosting. Shiloh was in the water immediately. I'm sure it felt good as it was a very hot day. I found the woods road behind the Ranger Cabin and we were off to Falls. A very nice grassy road soon became a rocky mess and the walk, although not unbearable became less than fun. It decends very gradually to the falls area where a series of herd paths lead down very steeply through some cliffs to the overgrown stream bed. The falls are about 80' high but w/ the dry weather, there was barely a steady trickle coming over the top. Judging from the size of the rubble below the falls, I'm sure that the flow after a rain would be impressive. We climbed back up and headed to top of the falls where there was a neat swimming hole, which Shiloh took advantage of. As we headed back to lake Awosting I changed my mind about our return. I had planned to revisit Hamilton Point and Castle Point, but w/ the building heat I knew from past visits that it would be an oven on the exposed ridge. So I opted for the quick return down the Carriageway which was hot also. Back to the car at 3:30,I finished my water--(5 liters today) My car thermometer read 92.
Close to 12 miles and 1500 vertical for the day.
08-01-2007, 07:46 AM
Nice report.. I notice the lack of an 'h' in the hikes too. Good job!
I think a nice trip would be to start by the firehouse in ellenville and hike up the carriageway to stony kill falls and then back via the flume and stuff, w/ the TNC permit... Would be nice on a hot day to cool off in the falls and hike the ice caves...
08-01-2007, 09:41 AM
Yep, that would be a nice (long):D hike---We've been saying we have to get back to Sam's Point this summer or fall. The whole area is spectacular and a nice change from the Mts.
08-01-2007, 12:25 PM
Great pics!! Nice swimming hole at the top of the falls, Shiloh looks like he was having a great time.
Jay, I am in for the Ellenville to falls hike if you want to hike it. :) Make it a hot day so we can go swimming.
08-01-2007, 01:11 PM
Nice report Bill. Shiloh continues to grow. Of the major falls in the Shawangunks, Stony Kill and Rainbow Falls are the most prone to drying up in summer as the drainage areas above the falls are rather small.
I was curious as to how you were planning to hike into Stony Kill Falls when you mentioned your plans in another thread. The Mossy Glen Trail is very nice. The unmaintained Smiley and Stony Kill Carriageways can be a bit rough, and even flooded in sections during wet weather.
Beginning in 2000 (http://www.nynjtc.org/news/2000/stonykill.html) there was much discussion about building a new and short trail into the Stony Kill falls from Shaft Road (reached via Rock Haven Road from Routes 44/55). That seems to have petered out recently. A parking area was built/enlarged near the end of the road and much route scouting was done. The planned route involved a stream crossing to some land recently acquired by the OSI. That route went right through a rattlesnake den area. The last I heard concern for the protection of the snakes was the primary reason the trail never opened. If you search "Stony Kill Falls" on the Trail Conference home page (http://nynjtc.org/) you will get an index to many online PDFs of the Conference's Trail Walker newsletter with articles on the proposed trail. The relevant articles appear to end in 2004.
The OSI has been very busy acquiring land in the Gunks. The most recent sixth edition (2005) of the Shawangunk Trails map set shows that it is now all state land from the parking area to the falls. That includes an old route in use for decades. It passes a gate at the end of the road and follows an old road through a gravel quarry. You might need to search a bit at the far side of the quarry for the foot path to the falls -- it is not too far from the stream IIRC. The last I was there the route was still partially on unposted private land. I have not been there recently to verify that it is now all stand land, however, I have no reason to doubt that the current map #104 is accurate.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not too surprisingly) the PIPC was not overly interested in creating a new trailhead into the Minnewaska State Park. That may also have been a factor in the trail not opening.
08-01-2007, 01:34 PM
The Stony Kill "trail" was a bit rough for most of it's length--looks like a dry stream bed--My feet are aching today--the base of the falls is a wild looking place--lots of huge boulders--ferns--lots of roots--you can tell by the piled up debris how much water comes over in wetter times. There was another couple that arrived as I was leaving that had come in from the north--but I didn't ask for specifics. They seemed amazed that I would hike in from Minnewaska.
We were lucky last time at Rainbow Falls as there was a good flow of water.
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