Orange County Highpoint Trip Report

Schunemunk Mtn (1,664 ft)

Date: December 30, 2006
Authors: Sue Ann Miller and Frank Price

We provide brief supplements to a thoroughly documented ridge that offers several opportunities to do a circuit hike. Topo maps are too old to be useful here but the NY-NJ Trail Conference, West Hudson Trails Map 114 (2006) makes navigation easy. Other details can be found in 50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley (Hikes 30 and 31), S. Greene and H.N. Zimmerman (2002) Backcountry Guides, VT. DeLorme New York Atlas & Gazetteer fills in for roads. The following assumes access to good maps.

Starting at the north end, the Trestle Trail provides a milder entry to what is an initially steep hike from any direction. Taking NY 32 south out of Newburgh, follow signs to the Storm King Art Center. Turn right (west) on County Route 20, which becomes Orrs Mill Road. Just after crossing the Thruway, turn left on Otterkill Road. Continue west past the Storm King Art Center and past the crossing of a road that is Taylor Road to the south and Franklin Road to the north, going under the high Moodna Creek Trestle to a marked parking area downhill on the right.

The white-blazed Trestle Trail ascends from near the trestle to the west ridge of the mountain, where you have a choice of several routes. Making the following circuit counterclockwise is probably easiest. We took the end of the Barton Swamp Trail (red) to the aqua-blazed Long Path south to the Western Ridge Trail (blue dot on white) then east up a steep scramble to the Jessup (yellow)- Highlands Trail (teal) on the east ridge. Heading north takes you over the large rock where "1664" and "Site of Fire Tower" are painted. Continuing north on the Jessup-Highlands Trail then ascending on the end of the Barton Swamp Trail gets you back to the Trestle Trail.

It is about an 8-mile circuit. Vertical gain on any circuit on this double- ridged mountain is effectively more than the published 1600-1900 feet because ridge routes undulate continuously over conglomerate bedrock and you lose and gain elevation twice going between the ridges.