Sam's Point and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail

HARD 373 reviews
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Sam's Point and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cragsmoor, New York that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
990 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

cave

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

The entire hike will take you through the Sam's Point preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy. The preserve is part of the Shawangunk ridge extending into Minnewaska SP. You will hike through a rare and endangered ecosystem, consisting of a Rare Dwarf Pitch Pine barren. One of the few remaining in the world. You will also hike to the Ice Caves which was formed from the talus or boulders from the cliffs, creating huge rock crevices or caves. The air in the Caves gets trapped keeping the inside cold enough for snow to stay through July. Along the way you will also hike up and on top of the many cliffs in the area, another unique feature of the area. You will get views of High Point Monument in NJ, the Hudson Valley as well as the Catskills and the Roundout Valley. Another feature you will pass is the Verkeerder Kill Falls and the Old Berry Picker Shacks from the days when the area was picked for it wild b Blueberries.

2 days ago

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.

15 days ago

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.

hiking
16 days ago

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!

18 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was absolutely gorgeous and exceeded my expectations. Sam’s Point was a nice but very crowded lookout point. Once you get to the top past Sam’s Point the landscape is really interesting with all the dwarf pitch pine and wild plants lining the paths. The ice caves were really awesome and that was a nice short trail, but again, it was really crowded. Once we got onto the footpath for the falls it wasn’t nearly as crowded. We did pass some hikers along the way but it was mostly private most of the way. And the scenery is gorgeous. There are also lots of delicious wild blueberries lining that open part of the trail. You’re on an open mountain side overlooking the mountains ahead for most of the trail leading to the falls and the views are amazing but you’ll be exposed to the sun so coverup and wear sunblock if it’s a sunny day. There’s a point where you go through a little faerie fern forest and I thought it was just magical. Afterwards you go through a patch of white birch and then the falls are spectacular. We didn’t do the entire loop. We just went to the falls and back the same way but I plan to go back and finish the loop. Overall I thought it was a beautiful trail with some interesting terrain changes which kept the trail exciting. And if you’re like me and are really into plants you’ll love checking out all the different plant life along the way.

hiking
1 month ago

We went from the visitor center to ice caves on the white trails to the falls on the aqua trail and then the high point red trail. It had just stopped raining 30 min before. We clocked in 13 miles even with taking a wrong path that might of hows our time by 45 min.
The ice caves are amazing and cool but very slippery. It was really cool in some parts that I wished I can stay. There are places with motion sensor lights but by the time you get 1/2 down a dark path it would turn on. We looped on the white trail where there are some places you might have to go up a small ladder.

We then went on the Aqua trail towards the falls. There are also a-lot of huckleberry and blue berry bushes, but it was very open space so be prepared to get sun burn, cuz there is not much shade and it is a narrow and very wet and rocky path. Once you get to the stream area the lady we met was not kidding you might wanna take off your shoes it’s cold but it’s very refreshing. And gotten to the falls area. It’s is definitely a beautiful site how the mountains has been carved. After a short rest we continued on to aqua path towards high point.
>>>the trail from the falls the the high point red trail is a 90 degree climb<<< be prepared
When we finally gotten to the cross road of the red and aqua trail. The foot path said 2.5 miles on the red trail to the carriage road.

What they did not tell you able the high point trail. There is a lot of rock climbing and just when you think it’s the highest point there is another rock formation you need to climb. At some points it was more like common your kidding me. The high point is scenic and hard and not a lot of shade coverage. And the end of the high point there is a very steep incline to go down with a lot of loose rocks back on carriage road.
From the carriage road to the visitor center is another 2.8 miles there is not a lot of markers that would tell you how many miles is left. 1/2 of it is not shades the other 1/2 when you get close to the visitor center is shades.

I had about a little two liters of water each person. One thing to remember is that it’s NOT enough. We struggled at the end because we didn’t bring enough at all. We had 2 liters of ice water via hydration bladder. If I had to do it again I would of brought about 3-4 liters of water and a hat.

Very easy to get over heated on parts of the aqua trail and the high point trail especially now. Now that we got home I can honestly say I wished I taken some more photos it was truest beautiful and above the clouds.

1 month ago

Hikes the full loop - ice caves, to the falls, to high point. My Fitbit clocked 13 miles total.

It had stormed the night before so the trails were very very wet and muddy, as were the caves. The caves were incredible!

The hike out to the falls was very easily followed. A couple of water crossings near the falls, trekking poles would be very helpful! I took off my boots to barefoot it across the falls - very flat and not slippery. Absolutely gorgeous!

The hike from the falls to high point was long (and it rained!) but views for a good part of the way. There is a benchmark at the top. Views for miles!

A short but steep desent leads back to a carriage trail that goes on for 2.8 miles back to the parking lot. A long and boring trek, except the remains of old berry picker cabins, which were cool!

hiking
1 month ago

Parking lot was full after 10am. They have no second overflow lot and the rangers were sending everyone away. Thankfully, we found a nice lady who let us park in her lawn a 1.5 miles down from the trail head.

There was recently heavy rain, which made for some muddy trails but a glorious fast moving waterfall. If you do not do the full loop at least make it to the waterfall. It's truly stunning!

The caves are awesome as well but I think those would be especially beautiful in the winter.

Overall great hike!

1 month ago

Fun trail! Great views and has a little bit of everything. Make sure to pack lunch and water. The waterfall was beautiful too. Enjoy!!

hiking
1 month ago

I started out hiking to Sam's point which was maybe a 15 minute hike to get to from the parking lot and of course had spectacular views. From there we hiked to the ice caves which isn't A long hike from Sam's point. The ice caves were need to see if you've never been there before like myself. It's cool to feel how cold it is in those caves. We then hiked to the falls but unfortunately there was just a trickle of water coming down them. I would definitely say the best part of the hike was the ice caves and some great views on the way to the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Did Sam's Point, Ice Caves, Verkeerderkill Falls which takes you through the dwarf pitch pines, and then High Point Trails (don't know why the name of this is just Sam's Point Verkeerderkill--missing the other 2 trails in the map on Alltrails.)

Sam's Point trail is very short and easy. Ice caves is also short. Spent about 20 min there. Low ceilings, low light, some steep stairs.

Really fun caves, I could see my breath in the caves and it felt chilly even when its at least 80F or more out. Strongly recommend a headlamp or flashlight, although there are motion detecting lights installed it's still very dark in the caves--watch where you walk and your head if you're tall. Nice ledges to rest at the end. Lots of horseflies biting me, bring DEET.

Verkeerderkill Falls trail through pitch pines was a fairly easy path made difficult and uncomfortable by the many rocks in the path that can be sharp. Overheard a family with small children having a difficult time who didn't seem so happy that this was described as a 'moderate' trail and they felt it was challenging. Pretty with lots of shade once you get there; couldn't find any spot along the trail that lets you see the whole waterfall; maybe people are taking pictures along the Scenic Path?

The High Point trail was very challenging. This was described by the park to me as 'some scrambles', but it was pretty steep at times, nearly vertical and sometimes requiring some thought as to hand/toe holds so it's more like 'all scrambles'. You will also be very close to the edge of ledges high up. This is not a trail for dogs or children and there is no shade being on a ridge. Bring more water than you think you need and a hat. Heat exhaustion/fainting and high ledges aren't a good mix. Excellent views though! Was eye to eye with a turkey vulture that was coasting on a warm air vent--wild.

Got rattled a lot by timber rattlesnakes though I never saw them, on the Verkeerderkill Falls trail when you go through the blueberry bushes after the pitch pine. Twice, they sounded close but I was just careful to look at the trail in the bushes, move slowly and used trek poles to probe the path/bushes. Other place I got rattled at (but much farther from me) was in the forest path just before the Verkeerderkill path meets the Long Path/High Point trail.

Took the High Point Carriage Road all the way back to visitors lot. Not scenic but easy after more difficult High Point Trail. You get a glimpse of Mataranza through the trees and pass by berry picker shack ruins.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great hike with some great views and things to explore. We first stopped at Sams point which had great views. From Sams point we went at ice caves which was really neat to see if you've never been there before like myself it was nice and cold in the caves which was refreshing being so hot out and there was ice in one spot yes ice. After the ice caves we went to the falls but unfortunately the falls only had a trickle of water coming down it. On the way to the falls the views where spectacular. If you've never been here before it's definitely worth checking out, you won't be disappointed.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike, in total it was closer to 6.5miles and had nice views, but unfortunately the waterfall was a mere trickle. Bring LOTS of water especially if you’re brining your dog. I thought I brought enough and ended up having to ration it the whole time.

2 months ago

Very cool hike. Ice caves still had ice in them! There is almost no shade offered on this hike. Bring plenty of water, sunblock and a hat!

2 months ago

awesome views, great waterfall wish I had more time to do the whole trail. We will be going back!

hiking
2 months ago

Went up to Sams Point overlook then did the loop to the left passed the Lake, up to High Point, down to Verkeerderkill Falls, and the Ice Caves. 360 degree views at High Point. Falls were a trickle. Ice Caves were cool and still had ice in them.

hiking
2 months ago

Multiple views to do, i would recommend take the left route first so you wont get bored. I took the right route which takes you to sams point right away. A lot of scrambling from the rocks which is fun. The path is well marked and i dont have to use this app to guide me. I enjoyed the ice caves the most. The trail took me like 3hrs to complete. Bring extra water and a hat, theres not much shade at the top.

2 months ago

Awesome walk with a variety of terrain. Good pair of hikers,Water ,snacks, and good weather is all you need.

3 months ago

Perfect hike. Trail is very well maintained. The flowers blooming in June are stunning

hiking
3 months ago

Its a long one. but may now be a Hudson Valley Favorite. I clocked it at 12 miles but i did absolutely everything along that loop. I went right at the start and saw Sam's Point first. What a great view and I had a perfect day! On to the ice caves which was pretty cool on a hot June day. I then ventured the 2 miles to the waterfall. This stroll was kind of cool. I have a nice view the entire walk. There was a big fire in this area a few years ago so. The burnt trees seem to be trying to come back but it was a very interesting and surprisingly beautiful view with the green that is now growing and a gorgeous blue sky. The waterfall (supposedly a hike highlight) was a bit underwhelming by comparison of the rest of the hike but nice enough. The next 3ish miles is along a ridge which gives you a lovely outlook the majority of the way. The last three miles is a straight shot back to the visitors center. With the small exception to a small lake, this is a fairly boring walk but i nice break after a long hike. Most people seemed to have done the loop the other way and see all the cool stuff last, but i liked doing all of that when I was well rested. Its a touch too long but its just a gorgeous hike.

walking
3 months ago

Was a lot of walking. The verkeerdill falls trail took us a while to complete because of all the jagged rocks.

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite all time hikes. I included the little detour to the ice caves as well. For me the best part about this hike comes after the falls, as you ascend onto the High Point Trail and get one amazing view after another. Long hike but there are not a lot of really steep sections.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike

nature trips
3 months ago

10.5 miles of beautiful sights! Definitely one of my favorite hikes so far. Beautiful views the whole way made the hike so amazing. The ice caves are definitely worth going a couple miles out of the way for. And the waterfall was another breathtaking view! Though much of it was just walking through trails, there was some rock climbing that will leave you sore the next day (so worth it).

hiking
3 months ago

We did the big 5h loop in a myst + drizzle day and it was a lot of fun. The waterfall area is gorgeous. Trail is very well marked with sufficient amount of ascent and descent to make it a challenge but not tire you too much. I would definitely recommend this hike.

3 months ago

NOT FOR DOGS!!! moderately challenging. 80%of the trail has no shade and gets really hot especially for dogs. the first 2 and last 3 miles are all small rocks (the type used in construction) it cut my dogs foot really bad. she could hardly limp back to the car. additionally most of the trail is hopping from rocks (if your bringing dogs it's really difficult terrain for them) overall I would say it's a ok trail with so so view. nothing to write home about. if it's a sunny day you will BAKE. and do NOT bring DOGS.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome and challenging trail

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty difficult for me but it was quite beautiful. Disappointed about the ice caves but there was plenty to see without them.

hiking
4 months ago

this is probably my favorite NY hike so far. I went on a really foggy day and the burned forest section of the footpath was just jaw-dropping and beautiful in the dense fog! the waterfall is amazing too and if you're ballsy enough, there's some ledges with great viewpoints on both sides of the falls. really recommend this hike! sadly, the ice caves were gated off but they looked awesome too.

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