INTRODUCING Schunemunk Mountain State Park in the West Hudson Highlands! A pretty SPECTACULAR place that is surprisingly close to us here in the NY-metro area.
Choosing to hike here on a whim, we were MORE than pleasantly surprised by the awe-inspiring views of the Hudson River Valley, as well as the GRIPPING trek along this ridge's conglomerate rocks!
Using NYNJTC Map 114 of the West Hudson Trails, we found a ≈5 mile loop that involved views, climbs, and MEGALITHS! Even though we had no comprehension of what a "megalith" could possibly be aside from Megadeth's more popular brother (...what?), we were sold!
This park has MANY hiking options and miles of trails to explore! A remarkable place to visit if you're lookin' to add something new to your trail repertoire.
We hiked from the parking lot off Route 27 near Mountain Lodge (GPS 41.414032, -74.121035), up the Orange Blazed trail leading us atop the ridge of the mountain. The lot to the ridge is a pretty respectable ascent, but the ridgeline is worth the climb! Once reaching the ridge, we made our way through pitch pines and blueberry bushes that blanketed the otherwise sparse conglomerate rock.
After taking in some views to the west, we continued our way to reach the MEGALITHS located on the ridge paralleling our own. In order to reach the EASTERN ridge, we needed to climb down into the valley on the Red Trail (beware the bugginess in this swampy section), and then back up on the Blue Trail (a bit of a scramble).
After climbing, we made it to the Yellow Blazed Jessup Trail, also the Highlands Trail (aqua blazed). Shortly after connecting to these trails, you'll see a WHITE spur trail and signage pointing you toward the MEGALITHS, over ferns nestled within the craggy conglomerate.
At this point, these MEGALITHS had been so built up in our minds, we half expected a man to be waiting at the end of the trail asking for admission! Luckily this was not the case. After a very short walk following a cairn-laden trail, we arrived at these Megaliths and found some awesome rockforms and views over the Hudson Valley.
Pretty, pretty, pretty cool. From here, we turned back to reconnect with the Jessup/Highlands trail, astounded by its bountiful, entrancing views!
These trails eventually intersect the Red Trail once more, leading you back to the Orange Trail and returning you to the lot off Rt. 27. All in all, this circa 5 mile hike was an awesome find, and only an hour away from us!
If you, too, live in the NY-metro area and have yet to wander through this Hudson Highlands JEWEL, grab a map, lace up yo kicks, and MEANDER THE MEGALITHS!