Hiking to the Lost City of Mohonk Preserve
Trip Type: Day hike, out-and-back
Trailhead: Peters Kill Parking Area
Length: +/- 3 miles, more if you explore the Lost City at length
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous due to rock scrambling
Notes: $10 Parking Fee, do not attempt if ice is present
Season: Late spring, summer, fall
What’s that? Never heard of the Lost City? Me neither! Until now. Allow me to enlighten you and uncover the wonder of this comglomeratized formation.
…just ignore me.
All right, let’s get down to brass tacks.
So there are many ways to reach the Lost City, whether from Mohonk Preserve directly or through Minnewaska State Park. We chose to approach it from good ol’ Minne by parking at the Peters Kill Area off of Route 55/44 [GPS: 41.737921, -74.218623] . We had never been to this trailhead before so were kind of excited to explore a new area of the park.
Yes, I’ll admit, we tend to gravitate toward our familiar favorites like Gertrude’s Nose, Bonticou Crag, Lake Awosting, etc., BUT today was a new day ripe for new adventure! …I’m trying to rev you up here.
SO after parking at the Peters Kill Area and paying the $10 entry fee ( per vehicle :D ), you’ll find the trailhead kiosk at the upper left corner of the parking lot, facing away from the road.
Here you’ll hang right to follow the red trail briefly until you connect with the white Bull Wheel trail. This section offers a moderate climb up a pitch pine-lined pathway and past impressive Shawangunk cliffs where you’ll hear the voices of climbers reverberating off their vertical pitches.
You’ll notice a trail marker leading up to the cliffs. It’s meant to direct climbers, not hikers, so no need to venture off the path lest you’re prepared to scale some mighty walls.
Eventually, you’ll intersect with the blue Peters Kill trail where you’ll hang right to begin your descent into a hardwood forested valley. This is where you’ll cross the border into Mohonk Preserve like the sneaky-sneak you are.
After descending into the valley and crossing a treacherous stream…
(Hyperbole is always fun.)
You will soon notice the yellow Kings Lane trail to your left. Believe it or not, this zig-zaggy trail is your ticket into the elusive Lost City, which remains hidden by the thick woods and steep incline of the hill.
At the top of the hill where the trail ends, massive boulders and talus fragments mark the entrance into this mysterious metropolis.
While we generally don’t venture off trails, the Lost City offers an open invitation to, in the words of Tommy Pickles, ‘splore.
Into the towering talus field we go, climbing a bit precariously over their oblong shapes and slopes. As always, be sure to have your best, most grippiest kickers on before entering the arena.
As we climbed higher and higher, intriguing crevasses and caves began beckoning us into the belly of the beast.
One such cavelet (a word I invented to describe these lil’ fissures) spit us out atop a rumbling assortment of boulders, granting us an expansive view of Mohonk Preserve. Obviously this is where we had lunch.
After munching, we chose to continue exploring to our left (East) as per a passing hiker’s suggestion. We were led over scrambly rocks and past towering bluffs, making us feel like true pioneers of this “ruined” city. It was fun to pretend like it was an abandoned world we were surveying for the first time.
[I suddenly thought of this Spongebob clip...]
WOW I’m random today…
After exploring to our left for some time, crawling into cracks and miniature caverns, we returned to our right, following the cliffline as we went.
We clambered past our lunch spot, wandering past impressive monoliths lining a “trail” up to the top of some “skyscrapers” (remember, pretending here).
Minding our footwork, we carefully navigated our way to a lookout over the sprawling city, and paused to take in its unique splendor. Hey, Skytop, Heyyy.
After this view, daylight was waning, so we climbed down from our throne, made our way back down the yellow trail, up the hill to the blue trail, and back to the red trail’s start to end our epic journey.
Pretty neat, huh?
Now, go forth and take the knowledge of this hidden palace and use it wisely. The Lost City awaits your arrival…