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Happy Friday! The weather here in NYC seems to be oddly heating up these days (over 80 degrees in October??), so if you are like me and fantasizing about what you can do to get out of NYC this weekend without traveling too far, spending too much or being in a big crowd, then look no further. I recommend that you check out Minnewaska State Park, a low-impact hike yet very rewarding in an instant-gratification kind of way. If you have a bike, this is actually a perfect spot for you because there are a lot of carriage roads that are wide, paved and cared for so it’s easy to share the road. More importantly, there is one keyword you need to know:  WATERFALLS.

In the beginning of summer, I recruited a friend and my sister to form our little hiking group with the mission of checking out a different state park every weekend so we can burn some calories while getting away from the city and communing with nature. Because of said waterfalls, Minnewaska State Park became our first choice. Before you go:

  • There is a free downloadable map online, however, since it’s black and white, the colors assigned for each trail are not very helpful.
  • Bring bug spray and spray over your clothes. We went there in July when it was humid, and there were quite a few gnats that kept hovering over my head and some mosquitoes that bit through my yoga pants.
  • Bring food as there are some beautiful spots that you can set up a picnic and there aren’t a lot of food options at the park, as to be expected. There are no garbage bins as you are expected to carry out whatever you carry in.
  • Restrooms are near the parking lot, and also one by the beach. I did not see a lot of port-a-johns everywhere else.
First of a few mini falls along the Awosting Falls Carriage Road Trail

First of a few mini falls along the Awosting Falls Carriage Road Trail

We started out with the trail that led to the waterfalls, figuring that in  most cases, it’s one of the most exhausting trails, but with big rewards.  Straight off near the main parking lot, we followed the Awosting Falls  Carriage Road, and in less than ten minutes came across these mini falls.  Gorgeous!

Walking a little further down, we came to see more waterfalls and decided to walk to it.

Another mini falls at the top of Awosting Falls

Another mini falls at the top of Awosting Falls

We then found ourselves staring down to a very, very high drop and realized, we were at the top of Awosting Falls! A very rare experience indeed and I couldn’t believe it was just less than 2 hours away from NYC!

View from above: my perch at the top of Awosting Falls

View from above: my perch at the top of Awosting Falls

Now after being on top of the falls, we were excited to see what the actual falls looks like and we were not disappointed. The color of the water is of the “iced tea” variety, and we were not dressed to wade in so we content ourselves on finding our spot on some rocks and just took it all in. You are not supposed to wade in the water anyway, but some people were doing that of course.

Awosting Waterfalls at Minnewaska State Park

Awosting Waterfalls at Minnewaska State Park

Once we were done with that grand view, we were thinking, now everything else will be anticlimactic. We were glad to be wrong.

Since we did not get to the park until early afternoon, and we had this shared experience of getting lost while hiking to a secret falls in Kauai in Hawaii with the danger of nighttime falling soon without any flashlights and no cellphone signal  (more on that on a later post), we decided to be smart about it and follow a few short trails and then just keep hiking if there is more daylight.

My memory is a bit fuzzy on which exact trails we took because we decided to be spontaneous and winged it. We did a few trails that circled Lake Awosting, Lake Minnewaska and also a trail that took us to a spectacular overlook, which I think will be best when leaves change color. There’s definitely a lot to do in this park, and you can even spend the weekend and try all the different trails because there’s always something different to discover. Feast your eyes on these photos and plan your own trip this weekend!

Lake Minnewaska - see the swimmer's beach across?

Lake Minnewaska – see the swimmer’s beach across?

Breathtaking view

Breathtaking view

Big rock formations

Big rock formations

Fairytale-like bridge

Fairytale-like bridge

Nice spot to end the day

Nice spot to end the day

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