A couple of weeks ago some friends and I decided to mark the beginning of autumn with a morning hike around Sam’s Point Preserve, in Cragsmoor, NY (part of Minnewaska State Park).
I’ve been wanting to get out and do more outdoor exploring, but was been unsure where to even start. I’ve recently been using the Outbound Collective app and website and have found a ton of hikes in nearby New York state. Sam’s Point was first on my list! At only an hour and a half away, my friends and I decided it would be the perfect place for an early morning hike, while still leaving us time to get back to NJ to work our Saturday evening shift.
The weather had been crummy all week but we still decided to chance it, unafraid of braving a little rain. Luckily it was mostly dry, just incredibly foggy. As you know from past posts, a little fog can be pretty fun to photograph so none of us were bothered. Sure, we couldn’t see much of the view from the Sam’s Point lookout area, but it was gorgeous nonetheless!
The weather also seemed to deter other hikers from coming out that morning. We had the trails practically to ourselves, save for this well-outfitted group we ran into a few times.
Aside from the viewpoint, Sam’s Point Preserve also features a series of ice caves (not made of ice, but formed by it) and Lake Maratanza. Unfortunately due to a wildfire in the spring, the Verkeerder Kill Falls area of the trails is closed due to ongoing maintenance so we were unable to check them out. (You can see the burned trees of the dwarf pitch pine forest in the picture below, although I assume it’s a good sign that there seems to be an abundance of vegetation growing back!)
The ice caves were definitely the most challenging aspect of the hike as they sometimes involved rocky terrain and shimmying around narrow corners, but I would still put it low on the difficulty scale.
Lake Maratanza was a real treat, looking quite eerie with it’s orange-tinted rocks in the fog. And the water was spectacularly clear!
All-in-all, not a bad deal for being done by 1pm! Before heading back to the thruway we made a pit stop at a diner in Pine Bush, NY for some much-needed post-hike sustenance. (Fact: diner food is the perfect post-hike meal.)