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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Trapps/ Millbrook Ridge(Shawangunks)

Drove down to the Shawangunks this afternoon after work to hike the Trapps and Millbrook Ridge, part of the Mohonk Preserve, just west of New Paltz on what was a bluebird sunny day.  I parked at the Visitor Center located off Route 44/55 and paid the 12 dollar fee(eek!) before hitting the trail.
There are other parking areas that bring you closer to the Trapps trails, but I opted to just take the connector trail from the visitor center.
After passing two parking lots and climbing up a series of rock steps(250) that climb steeply up, you will arrive at the Undercliff Road.
Undercliff Road is actually an old carriage road that is very wide and easy to follow along the edge of the cliffs.  There are multiple views to the east through the trees along the way.
 Undercliff Road.
 Walking in a northerly direction leaves towering cliffs to your left.
 Fall colors frame these northeast views over the valley.
 Perfect fall day for being outdoors.  There is barely any elevation gain along the carriage road.
Fall foliage is almost at peak.
 Just north of the Trapps is Sky Top's tower, possibly the most popular hike in all the 'Gunks.
 Eye popping orange.
 The reds are flourishing as well.
 At the northern end of Undercliff Road, the trail turns west and then south on the Overcliff Road.  The Overcliff Road provides even more views, this time north towards the Catskills.
Spectacular views of the Catskills stretching beyond the Rondout Valley.
Sky Top and its cliffs rising to the north.
 More great views towards the Catskill peaks.
 Fall colors and more Catskill Mountains.
The Overcliff Road makes for very pleasant walking.
Leaves litter the road at a bend.
 Nice views to the west of nearby cliffs from the southern end of Overcliff Road.
 After completing the 5 mile loop, I continued south over the Trapps bridge towards the Millbrook Ridge Trail.
Millbrook Ridge Trail provides many outstanding views.  Here is a fantastic view north to the Trapps, with route 44/55 easily seen below.
 The Wallkill Valley stretching far and wide to the east.
 Further south are more vistas above the countryside.
 Wallkill Valley.  I spotted a bald eagle soaring above here but wasn't lucky enough to capture it on camera.
 After 1 mile on the Millbrook Ridge Trail, I turned west on Bayards Path which runs for .2 and reconnects with the Trapps Road.  Bayards Path is a simple foot trail through low brush.
 Completing the loop on the Trapps Road, where a couple of people out on bicycles passed by.  This completed a 1.5 mile loop as I arrived back at the Trapps bridge.
 The rock formations along the trail are absolutely incredible and pictures do not do them justice.  This is where the I got back on Undercliff Road to complete the Trapps loop.
 I saw many climbers out on the steep cliffs today, including several on the Undercliff Road as I neared the connector trail again.
 Rock climbers.
Got back to the car after completing about 7 miles RT on yet another great fall day.  My only wish is that there was more daylight.

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