Go take a hike! Sam's Point Preserve represents one of the best examples of a ridgetop dwarf pine barrens in the world. Part of the 90,000-acre Northern Shawangunk Mountains, Sam's Point Preserve features cliffs, summits, and plateaus that form a unique landscape of extraordinary ecological significance.
Seven well-marked trails criss-cross the preserve, winding through pine barrens, ice caves and open slabs of rock, providing views of the Catskills, Gertrude's Nose and other scenic vistas.
Sam's Point: A short, easy hike from the entry gate, Sam's Point trail offers views of the Shawangunk Ridge stretching for miles to the southwest and northeast. On a clear day, High Point Monument, the highest point in New Jersey, can be viewed to the southwest. (.6 miles)
Loop Road: Starting and ending at the entry gate, the Loop Road takes you through several plant communities, including oak-heath woodlands, dwarf pine barrens and fern-dominated areas. Remnants of shacks left behind by nomadic blueberry pickers and Lake Maratanza can also be viewed from the Loop Road. (1.1 miles)
Indian Rock: A short, easy hike, the Indian Rock trail passes through dwarf pine barrens and emerges into an opening that offers views of the Catskill Mountains located to the north. The trail continues towards a large erratic (a large boulder left by glaciers) that offers a peaceful resting spot for those who scale to its top. (.5 miles)
High Point Carriageway: The High Point Carriageway extends from the Loop Road near lake Maratanza to the Smiley Carriageway near the Village of Ellenville. It offers an easy hike on nearly level ground through the dwarf pine barrens and is the quickest route to the High Point — a scenic overlook that offers views of the Catskill Mountains to the north and other scenic vistas in all directions. (1.3 miles)
High Point Trail: Located between High Point and the Verkeerderkill Falls trails, the High Point trail meanders through the dwarf pine barrens and hops across open slabs of Shawangunk conglomerate rock, offering views across the Verkeerderkill watershed and extensive pine barrens. (2.4 miles)
South Gully Trail: This scenic, woodland trail is part of the Long Path, connecting the Shawangunk Ridge State Forest along Route 52 with the Loop Road at Sam's Point. Expect a steady increase of elevation as you climb toward the preserve along the exquisite stream known as the South Gully. (2.6 miles)
Verkeerderkill Falls / Long Path: A favorite among most hikers, this trail leaves the Loop Road and leads to the Verkeerderkill Falls. As it meanders through open dwarf pine barrens, the trail provides views of the south facing cliffs of Gertrude's Nose, Margaret Cliff and other unique geologic features. (2.0 miles)
Ice Caves: After a modest hike from the entry gate the trail leads through the ice caves. These caves were formed along fractures in the bedrock and in a jumble of boulders or talus blocks that have fallen from the face of the cliff. Snow and cold air enters the caves through the openings at the top and is unable to escape. This refrigerated environment often preserves snow and ice into the summer. (.8 miles)