We go to Minnewaska State Park in New Paltz, NY several times each year. It has always been popular, but this year coronavirus has made people look for more outdoor activities and it has become much more busy. On Columbus Day weekend, we hit a traffic jam on our way to the park, and ultimately had to change our plans because the parking lots were full. This week we returned hours earlier and still hit traffic. At least we got in.

Walking along the park’s signature cliffs

The park was really busy. Gertrude’s Nose (a large formation of boulders, crevices and cliffs) is a reasonably ambitious hike which usually gets us away from the crowds. We took the Millbrook Mountain Carriage Path because we had more of a stroll in mind, but decided to take the more primitive path to Gertrude’s because people were everywhere. We’re serious about wearing our masks (see the picture above), but most of the others were not. So, off with her nose! Um, I mean… “off to the Nose!”

Marcy trying to make it look less crowded

It was a spectacular day. Autumn colors were peaking, visibility was good.


The path to Gertrude’s is mostly a suggestion. It’s well blazed and you can’t get lost, but there are many opportunities to go off trail and take in overlooks or get closer to the cliff edges than the trail usually goes. In several places there are crevices tens of feet deep. Some are narrow and easily stepped over, others require more athletic jumping. Those who fear heights will find themselves tested, and will stay closer to the main route.

Not actually on the path, but several people are obviously going this way
Maybe it is the trail. I don’t remember.

The cliffs in Minnewaska are part of the Shawangunk Ridge, which is famous among rock climbers. It features significant elevation gain and good handholds.

Let’s try portrait mode…
…because we need it.

As you can see, my pictures have a lot of people in them. I happen to like that when they provide scale. I’m disappointed that the park was so busy, but I understand. It’s an amazing place and it’s selfish of me to expect to have it to myself.