Explore Difficult - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Difficult Map
VIEW FULL MAP

A welcome change of pace from the usual Mt. Beacon trail, which is over-used and always crowded. Hiked on a December weekend and only ran into other people at the summit. The trail does make up for it in length though, so only hike when you have 3-4 hours to spare.

The unmarked woods trail at 1.3 miles is a little hard to spot. The blue trail will turn right and immediately pass a stone wall. You can now turn left onto the woods trail which follows the eastern side of the stone wall.

If you want an extra challenge and don't mind a little rock scrambling, take the loop counter-clockwise and use the White trail on the final approach for South Beacon. This will lead you to a rewarding viewpoint 10 minutes before you reach the summit.

Had a great time hiking Sam's Point Preserve and Verkerdeerkill Falls. We completed this hike on black Friday (11/23/18) on a beautiful sunny 20° day. The trails were clearly marked and the map was spot on accurate as far as measuring out the distances of the routes. On top of the mountain was about 4 inches of snow and very icy. Unfortunately the ice caves were closed due to the amount of ice but we will explore that another day. We arrived at 9am on the dot with only 3 other cars in the parking lot but saw that within a few hours of being there the cars (and buses) loaded with people started rolling in; I would suggest getting there as it opens because the parking lot is very small. Staff was extremely nice and helpful, the young woman at the front desk gives a detailed overview of what to expect and there are other staff members driving around to ensure no confusion or issues arise. The sights were stunningly beautiful for such a quick and easy hike in which you can see multiple states and an endless horizon of mountain tops. Our route from the trail head was 1 mile to the overlook, 4 miles to the falls and back and then we walked back to completed the Loop Road around the lake due to the weather. All in all with a few little water breaks and a lunch stop it took us about 5 hours from arrival to departure. We will definitely be back to hike the High Point trail and Ice Caves once the weather warms up a bit!

Hiked on 11-11-18 Sam’s point , Ice Cave and Verkeederkill Fall Trail. Lots of water though after the rain. Recommended waterproof footwear.
Ice Cave is icy and cold. Make sure to dress warm. Verkeerderkill Falls view is Amazing, Beautiful trails.
The views are breathtaking. Awesome hike !

The foliage right now is outstanding. Bright green pitch pines in a sea of bright red bushes. Suggested waterproof shoes for the footpath to the fall. At times the footpath turns into a stream as you approach the fall. Probably will get worse after rains. Nonetheless a magnificent hike for variety of pace and beauty of scenery. The approach on both direction is a carriage road so do not aspect anything more than a pretty country road. Enjoy!

hiked it on 11-4-18. was as awesome as the first time. lots of water though, definitely bring some waterproof shoes if hitting it after some rain. river crossing to the falls looked sketchy but wasn't at all once halfway in. would suggest hitting up with ice caves and Indian Rock, made the total mileage 11.4.

The trail is narrow and really rocky. We went after a big rain and the trail was completely covered in water essentially the entire way. We couldn't cross at the mouth of the water fall because the water had risen so much and the current was so strong that it felt dangerous to complete the trail to even get a really great look at it. We wound up hiking a bit in the opposite direction but the view was mediocre at best and covered by a lot of trees. A lot of other hikers hiked upstream to cross but it was incredibly muddy and just covered with so much overgrowth that it was hard to navigate. I've heard that it's not great to come during the summer because there's not much water, but coming after a big rain and not being able to cross after hiking almost 2 miles on a rocky/wet trail was really disappointing. I don't think I'd go out of my way to do this one again.

Did the Mount Beacon/Firetower side instead of the Fishkill Ridge side. After all the rain, alot of water on the trails.

Note that the trail information/route has been updated as of November 2018 to reflect the current route of the eastern section of the Wilkinson Trail.

Went during the week to avoid the big crowds and it was totally worth it. It was a pretty short hike up to Sam's Point and the views were amazing. Walking to the falls was pretty easy, flat, and a beautiful walk as well. These trails were easy to navigate and the paths were pretty clear. Take a day off and try to go during the week!

The first half doesn’t seem like it will be worth it but if you do the entire trail it is breathtakingly beautiful. The peak, falls, and caves make for a very interesting and well worth it hike

Great, generally lightly traveled route to the casino and fire tower

this hike had it all, views, rock scrambles, streams, a waterfall, etc. some of the best-marked trails i’ve seen too, loved this hike!

Really cool hike with three or four different terrains. Particularly fun if you like to scramble. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen as there’s little cover.

We went clockwise, first to the ice caves and then to the Verkeerder Kill Falls, which was beautiful. We climbed up and down cliff facades to the high point which was a climatic ending, then walked the boring carriage road back to the parking lot.

This isn’t an easy hike! It requires crossing some creeks with no bridges and the trail is very muddy/wet in parts. Don’t attempt it without waterproof hiking boots.

That said, it’s a good hike. Very quiet and peaceful out in the woods, and I hardly saw anyone all day.

Like all the hikes around Cold Spring, it’s well marked with color tokens nailed to trees. Take a map at the trailhead, as the Alltrail route jumps around between different color trails a lot.

The first 3.6 miles are a general ascent on a good trail. The next two miles (a mile descent and mile ascent) is on an ok but less good trail that includes some mossy rocks that are slick when wet.

At mile 5.6, you reach a peak and have a big lookout area to the left of the trail. It’s a nice place to stop and have lunch.

Around mile 6.4, make a short detour to Beaver Pond. It’s beautiful and the trail goes right to it.

Miles 6.4-8 were my least favorite. The trail gets very narrow in places, with branches pressed against you on both sides. It was also extremely muddy.

Around mile 8, I decided to divert from this route and cut back over to the trail I’d walked up, rather than climb up Round Hill. The ascent and descent of Round Hill are by far the steepest part on this route, and a review here said it involves walking on big rocks. I knew the park’s rock surfaces were wet and slick today and it didn’t sound like fun. My rerouting didn’t meaningfully change the mileage, though it meant I missed some elevation. It turns out I could’ve also cut across further along on the “G” trail, as they’ve just lengthened that trail all the way to the “W” trail.

In case it’s useful, here are the full route’s colors: W, right on B, left on Y, right on B, B becomes R, right on B (but I recommend walking left on B a bit to see Beaver Pond), straight on R, right on G, left on B, left on W.

I like how it weaves together lots of different trails to make a long hike, which you can modify to make your hike easier or even harder.

Wet, muddy, lots of streams and you step over stones to cross, which can be fun. Mixed acreage and roads connect several reservoirs, really nice view of Hudson from Black Rock peak. They have an education building for school kids and there are minnows in some streams, nice. Tons of trails, got off trail several times, should have planned colors of flags ahead of time for whole loop.

I did the entire loop counter-clockwise and included the ice caves, which are very well worth the detour. You can feel like an amateur cave explorer for a moment, especially in two sections that are quite dark (the motion detectors eventually trigger some light bulbs).

The loop past the ice caves is quite narrow and you will have to stop often to let groups pass by who are returning from the waterfall. You may get your boots wet if it has rained recently as the trail crosses the creek shortly before the falls. There are rocks, but I can imagine they will be under water after a heavy downpour.

The section past the waterfall feels wilder and the trail meanders along the edge of exposed boulders, so you'll consistently have nice views. Once you reach the north-western part of the loop you are on a fire road for the remainder of it which is quite boring and has no views. For that reason alone, I understand why most people return the same way they came from once they've reached the waterfall.

The entire loop including the ice caves is 10.6 miles, so plan at least 4 hrs for it. Also, once the parking lot is full (around 100 cars) you can't enter this park. On a motorcycle it's not an issue however. And yes, it's a $10 fee per vehicle.

This was such a great hike! It is very difficult to get to the waterfall but so worth it. Lots of rocks to hike through and your feet will get wet. It took me and my mom about an hour and a half to get to the falls and then an hour back because at that point we just didn’t care about getting our feet wet. It was such a beautiful experience! We also hiked through the ice caves, there was no ice but the experience was still amazing! Definitely recommend this.

Great views with an amazing waterfall, the ice caves were also pretty cool though i didnt see any ice lol. Did the whole loop going counter clockwise, didnt find it extremely hard. It does get very crowded but the crowds die down for the most part after you get past the falls. Ps parking costs 10 bucks per car.

Beautiful views, worth the heat.
We did it on a Sunday, few tips if you are planning this one:
- reach early, limited parking spots, park opens at 8am.
- PLEASE bring mosquito/flea repellent
- If u r planning the entire loop including High point, at least 3 Ltr water per person and snacks.
- Minimal shades, so cap and sunscreen.

we did the entire loop starting from the caves, water fall, high point and then back to the lake and parking. The description says approx 8miles but my phone counted approx 11.2 miles. This region is known to have rattle snake, we just saw one non-poisonus black garden snake just before Sam's point but thankfully no encounter with rattle snakes.

hiking
2 months ago

Very nice hike, good mix of elevation, scrambles and pathways.

We parked up at the reservoir road parking at around 9:45am, no other cars there; then followed the yellow trail scramble up to the reservoir, followed by the yellow/teal trail pretty much all the way around the first figure eight route shown on the map. Total around 7-7.5 miles, took around 3.5 hours, with some nice passes of the other lakes/reservoirs, but no waterfalls. Trails very easy to follow.

Lots of vibrant colored vegetation, and small wildlife, and we saw a discarded snake skin on the black rock mountain viewpoint rocks, and a large timber rattlesnake about half a mile from the main car park, so keep your eyes open!

The first portion is scrambling, which I think is why this is graded as difficult, and the rest is easy/moderate rolling hills. The only reason I gave 4 stars is because the first part is VERY crowded if you go on a weekend—you’re basically climbing up in a line of people and need to stop often to wait for those in front of you. It’s still really fun though and the views are stunning. When you get past that first peak, the crowd thins out a lot and it’s super peaceful.

We did it in 3.5 hours with a lunch break and several other 5-15 minute water breaks. I’ve also done it in 3 hours without feeling the least bit rushed.

Great hike with blueberries in July and a huge waterfall. can't wait for the fall colors to come. It is rather exposed so start early and bring extra water in the Summer.

Going counterclockwise is the shortest out and back option for the waterfall. if you continue to the high point, the view is nice, but not much better than Sam's Point. If you do reach the high point then your shortest way back is to continue forwards through areas overrun with flies. i imagine it has a better view for fall colors but I will try again in October.

cheapskate alert: parking is $10 and there is always a super long line for the bathroom.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a way above average trail loop. One half of the distance is along a fairly basic gravel road but even that part had water features and views and geology to look at. We did the more boring gravel road part first then came back on the Rainbow Falls and Mossy Glen trails on the way back. There were some seriously interesting obstacles (giant rock drop offs etc) to navigate on the Rainbow Falls trail but they are appropriate for a moderate hike in proper footwear.

Very highly recommended. A nice save from our original plans which were in the Mohonk Preserve which has the nerve to charge 15 dollars PER HIKER to go into their land. I'm sure it's a lovely place but that's a very luxurious asking price for a hike.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a great trail that combines waterfalls with incredible views on ledges (as part of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail). I took Jenny Lane to Rainbow Falls until just after Litchfield Ledge and went back down to Upper Awosting. Had to go down in elevation before I could make it to Castle Point Carriage Road because thunder clouds rolled in and my hair was standing up and trek pole was humming (be aware there's no shelter on a few parts of this trail as you'll be walking along exposed ridges).

Wouldn't recommend bringing dogs on this one, there's a few rock scrambles that I can't see any dogs navigate, you'd probably have to somehow hoist and carry them. There's also one section that is very narrow and steep as you descend to the source of Rainbow Falls and you'll need to cling to rock and trees. When the rains are heavy some of the paths will get washed out and the streams and falls become very hard to navigate. When it's dry the falls become a bit anemic. If you don't mind the effort go when it's been raining a lot for the best views.

Well, And all my 30 years of hiking I must say that the landscape was very unique and interesting.
The most important advice I would give you, is that there is no shade in this entire hike(except for the ice caves). The falls were indeed magical and endearing. I plan to go back in the spring when there’s more water activity. I witnessed plenty of people with improper footwear, and that would make the ice cave exploration quite precarious. just remember to bring sunblock or a hat, sunglasses, plenty of water, and a good pair of hiking shoes. It truly is a great hike!

It’s about 9 miles.

Did this trail for the second time yesterday. Started late in the day so we didn’t get all the way to the falls, but went to the ice caves. Started the trail to the falls then realized when time it was so we turned around. Oops. :) I really enjoy Sams Point. Highly recommended!

I found the trail moderate my 6 year old nephew made the 8.2 mile loop with no problems just did not like the 2 mile road wish it was more like the trail past the falls

Load More