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Gertrude's Nose (and Minnewaska Lake and Awosting Falls)

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  • Gertrude's Nose (and Minnewaska Lake and Awosting Falls)

    Once a few years ago I took the southern route to the Catskills and that took me through the Gunks (i.e. the Shawangunk Mountains). I thought it would be a good place to go for a day hike. Last Sunday I finally did that hike.

    The weather was clear all day, although a bit hot (in the 80s F) and humid.

    I parked at the West Trapps Trailhead in the Mohonk Preserve. That cost me $15 for a hiker's day pass. I think it might be cheaper to park at Minnewaska State Park. Most of the people at the trailhead were climbers, judging by the gear I saw.

    I crossed Rte. 44 on the Trapps Bridge and went west on Millbrook Ridge Trail. First this goes up to a knoll where there were several people with binoculars and telescopes looking for migrating hawks. I don't think I saw anybody else on that trail, in marked contrast to what I would see later. Millbrook Ridge Trail follows the top of a cliff on the southern edge of the Gunks, so it keeps passing lookouts over the low lands. It's fairly flat with a few steep but short sections. Once I got to Millbrook Mountain I started seeing lots of people, since I was now on a popular loop from Minnewaska SP.

    From the peak I continued west dropping steeply down to where some powerlines cross the trail. Just before the power lines, though, I decided to check out what looked like a campsite just offtrail to the left. As soon as I stepped offtrail I felt some coolness, and, looking for the source, I came across a woman sitting in front of a hole in the ground where air was flowing out cold enough that we could see our breaths. It felt exactly like an air conditioner with the fan set to Medium and the temperature set to Extra-cold. It was very cool, both figuratively and literally.

    After sitting around there a bit I continued west to Gertrude's Nose. I really liked Gertrude's Nose. It's a long exposed stretch of the cliff top with good views and interesting rock formations. It has wide, deep, cracks, random boulders, isolated pillars, and slabs of rock piled in the valley. There were lots of people there, including a young man leaping over a gap he just cleared which assuredly would have put him in the hospital (or morgue) if he hadn't.

    From there I went north to Lake Minnewaska. Partway there the trail became a crushed gravel road (for foot traffic and bicycles). The rest of the hike from then on was on this kind of surface. The lake, which has some nice cliffs around it, was nice, but also crowded.

    From there I went further north to Awosting Falls, which are an impressively high single stage fall surrounded by an extensive slabby rock face, but which weren't running very full that day.

    After that I took the Awosting Falls Carriage Road back to the Trapps Bridge. The crowds thinned out a bit in this section.

    After I crossed the bridge I started, I thought, back to the parking area, but after about a quarter mile figured out I was on the wrong trail, so I backtracked and found the right trail.

    This was a nice hike, especially the early parts, and only two and a half hours away. I may be back.

    Here are the pictures.



    NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
    NE111 in my 60s: 56/115 (44/67, 11/46, 1/2)
    NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 40/48; NEHH 88/100
    LT NB 2009; CT NB 2017

    "I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
    "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
    - Lewis Carroll

  • #2
    I've been to all those places you mentioned... Years ago. I liked Gertrude's Nose as well. The crowds can be something fierce in The Gunks on fairweather weekends. Try winter on the trails, very nice...... although I believe they close some of the carriage roads for cross country skiing. Call ahead and ask. You might have to plan a route accordingly. I've seen Awosting Falls just about completely frozen. An amphitheater of ice. I've also seen it gushing. Nice
    Catskills: 39/39, 26W/35W
    ADK: 46/46