Sam's Point Preserve – Epic Day Hike! – Scenic Views, Ice Caves, Huge Waterfalls, and Pygmy Forests!


Come along for an adventure through one of New York State’s premiere day hiking locations. Sam’s Point Preserve is part of the expansive Minnewaska State Park Preserve located high atop the Shawangunk Mountain Range in Ulster County, New York. On this hike I arrived at 845 AM – gates open at 9, to do an out and back hike of approximately 7 miles featuring loads of cool features. After parking at the visitor center – currently closed – ( restrooms open) and paying the 10 dollar parking fee I quickly began my ascent up a wide carriage road to Sam’s Point Overlook. The huge rock overhang features an expansive view of the valley 1000 feet below. The viewpoint is only about 15 – 20 minutes walk from the visitor center, and the climb is really not that bad. From there I continued along the carriage road along the top of the ridge towards the Ellenville Ice Caves natural feature. It is during this section that the trail / road transitions from broadleaf deciduous forest to the extremely rare and unique pitch pine ridge top habitat. Eventually the carriage road leads to the amazing ice caves trail loop. This was my favorite part of the hike, a half mile trail loop through chasms, passages, and caves. Snow and ice that builds up in this area during the winter is known to last well into the summer time and the temperatures are remarkably cooler and refreshing in and around the caves. At the time I was there, various ground water streams were traveling through and around the trail, which also featured a ladder and several bridges. This area truly felt like an adventure and was worth the price of admission in it’s own right. Next, I pushed on to the nearby Verkeerderkill Falls trail. This trail was rocky and dry and really leads through the heart of the pygmy pines. Unfortunately, many of the pines were burned in a forest fire in 2016. The landscape here is desolate and wild with long unobstructed views upon the Shawagunk Ridge beyond, as the trees fail to grow beyond a height of 6 to 8 feet! I loved this section of trail but the afternoon sun and lack of shade had begun to wear upon me as I made my way the 1.7 miles towards Verkeerderkill Falls. Finally arriving at the 187 foot tall falls was amazing. The views into the massive amphitheater were epic and unforgettable. An excellent place to relax, recover, and reflect before making the return journey to the car.

Music – Present Moment- You and Me by Eldar Kedem
The Beginning by Gavin Luke
Stargazed by August Wilhelmsson
Arcadia – Wonders by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.


Dreamer by DivKid
Cloudbursts by David Celeste
Wonders by Gavin Luke

Filmed with GoPro Hero8 @ 4k 24fps
DJI Mini 2 @ 4k 24fps

Edited with Wondershare Filmora

Thumbnail created with Canva

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0:00 Cinematic Intro
1:32 Visitor Center to Sam’s Point
4:35 Sam’s Point
6:14 Carriage Road
10:09 Ellenville Ice Caves
15:11 Pygmy Pine Forest
18:40 Verkeerderkill Falls


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