The team at Mohonk Preserve aims to protect the Shawangunk region and inspire anyone and everyone to care about their environment.
Locals and tourists alike adore the small college town of New Paltz for its plentiful shopping options, eclectic eateries, and unique cultural and historic sites. But a short drive past Main Street leads to perhaps the best gem this area has to offer: Mohonk Preserve in nearby Gardiner, a sprawling 8,000 acres of mountains, forests, and other natural wonders suitable for explorers of all walks of life.
First founded in 1963, Mohonk Preserve is located in the heart of the scenic Shawangunk Mountains and run by a 22-person board of directors, plus over 60 full-time and seasonal employees. Its core mission is literally in the name: According to Gretchen Reed, the Preserve’s director of marketing and communications, the team at the Preserve aims to protect the Shawangunk region and inspire anyone and everyone to care about environmental issues.
“Don’t miss out on one of the rites of autumn: a Preserve hike to take in the peak colors of fall on the Shawangunk Mountains.” – Gretchen Reed
They accomplish this through education, conservation science research, stewardship, and plenty of recreation opportunities. The Preserve’s education team hosts on-site classes for local school children from over 40 schools in the area, while its conservation science team works directly with scientists from different disciplines to study, document, and protect regional flora, fauna, and land. Of course, that’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come the Preserve each year, drawn in by some of the most beautiful hiking, rock-climbing, trail-running, and cross-country skiing spots in the Hudson Valley.
Mohonk Preserve currently has 16,000 annual members, the majority of whom are Hudson Valley-ites or New York State residents.
Some of the Preserve’s trailheads are local landmarks in their own right. Coxing Trailhead provides easy access to Split Rock, a small waterfall and wading area loved by anyone who’s spent a summer in New Paltz. The West Trapps Trailhead is famous for its world-renowned climbing routes (and stellar views). For the first time in 25 years, the Preserve is also constructing a new trailhead: the Testimonial Gateway Trailhead, named for the beautiful arched gateway that leads to the Mohonk Preserve Foothills.
The team hopes to complete the new trailhead by the end of the year. Mohonk Preserve currently has 16,000 annual members, the majority of whom are Hudson Valley-ites or New York State residents. Many of the Preserve’s visitors stop by the Visitor Center in Gardiner to learn more about the ridge and purchase a day pass for immersion in the natural world.
Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner, a sprawling 8,000 acres of mountains, forests, and other natural wonders, is suitable for explorers of all walks of life.
The Preserve is open 365 days a year from sunrise until one hour after sunset. There’s truly no bad time of year to visit the Preserve, but autumn—think changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and fewer warm-weather pests to worry about—is an amazing time to swing by for a hike, climb, or picturesque photo-op. “During ‘leaf peeping’ time, the Preserve welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world who come to enjoy nature’s fall splendor,” Gretchen says.
“Don’t miss out on one of the rites of autumn: a Preserve hike to take in the peak colors of fall on the Shawangunk Mountains.”
mohonk preserve visitor center
3197 Route 44/55, Gardiner