cross country skiing

Ken Roberts and Sharon Marsh Roberts

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Mohonk Mountain House has a large network of trails for cross country skiing through an amazing landscape of cliffs, trees, and rocks -- with big ridgetop vistas across the Hudson valley -- and the remarkable sight of the historic hotel beside Lake Mohonk and its cliffs. One of the prettiest XC skiing places in North America.

Ski shop:  845-256-2101

or 845-255-1000, ask for the Ski shop

Website:  Mohonk Mountain House 

Cross-country skiing page

35 miles of trails (56 km)

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Ski conditions report:  Snocountry
(if that does not work, visit Snocountry nordic skiing, then select New York state, and click on "Get State Conditions")
weather [ current Newburgh | forecast NWS ]

Getting Here | Parking | Ski Routes | Hints | Photos

ski trails + facilities

35 miles (56 km) of trails which they groom for skiing. That's big, and it feels even bigger, because most of thost trails go to distinctive places, with really different views along the way. (Also because the number is not inflated like some other ski places do by counting the same trail segment multiple times if it's on different loops).

Trails wide enough for good skating as well as classic striding.

Rental skis for classic striding.  (No skating skis available for rent in the 2005-06 season -- can rent those at a store in the village of New Paltz on the way driving from the NY Thruway up to Mohonk).

Lessons in cross country skiing.

Note that to rent skis or to take lessons, you will probably want to park up closer to the Hotel which is near the ski shop -- but the usual main parking area for day visitors is down at the Gatehouse, which is definitely not near the ski shop. See below for more on ParkingSometimes in winter it is possible to make arrangements to park up closer to the Hotel, especially on weekdays. But on weekends the parking in closer to the hotel could get crowded, so I would call in advance to find out what the arrangements (shuttle van?) might be.

getting here

Mohonk is in Ulster County, NY -- a few miles west from New Paltz on Mountain Rest Road -- see Driving Map

GPS: approx lat/long = 41.77878,-74.13521 = N41.77878 W74.13521

directions:  From New Paltz (exit 18 on the NY Thruway), go West on Main Street / Route 299.  Just after the crossing the bridge over the Wallkill River, turn Right  onto Springtown Road / Ulster County Route 7 and go about 0.5 mile.  Turn Left (West) onto Mountain Rest Rd / Ulster County Route 6 and go 3.4 miles: climb up a little hill, then up a very big hill.  The entrance Gatehouse to Mohonk Mountain House is on the Left at the very top of this hill, just before the road goes underneath a little bridge.  [ Driving Map ]


Last time we checked there were several options with might have different prices for skiing which might depend on things like: eating a meal at the hotel, or being an overnight guest at the hotel, or being a member of the Mohonk Preserve, or where you want to park. We're not going to keep track of that sort of stuff on this web page, so best to call the Ski shop at Mohonk Mountain House (after checking the Mohonk website)

parking and start points

Gatehouse parking -- The normal parking place for single-day visitors (who are not hotel guests) is next to the entrance Gatehouse on Mountain Rest Rd.  But the ski shop with rental skis and lessons, and the prettiest ski routes, are not near this parking lot -- they're up by the hotel and Lake Mohonk.

We found there are toilets and a small heated room in the back of the Gatehouse.

If it is important for you to start at the Ski shop for your skiing or rental skis or lessons, and you are a single-day visitor, I suggest to call in advance about arrangements for how to get up there without starting your skiing from the Gatehouse.

? Late afternoon ? - Note:  We have heard that often the Gatehouse attendants will not sell ski passes after 2:30 in the afternoon. Call ahead if this possibility is a concern for you. If not permitted to ski from the Gatehouse parking, could try the Mohonk Preserve parking areas -- see discussion below.

Hotel parking -- In past years, we found that sometimes (more likely on weekdays?) the Gatehouse attendant permitted single-day visitors to drive in to a parking lot closer to the hotel and Lake -- though it's still an uphill hike from that parking lot to the ski shop, which is on the other side of the hotel.

A simple way (not inexpensive) to avoid these concerns is to be a guest at the hotel. In previous years it was sometimes possible to be a "meal guest" (like for breakfast or lunch) without staying there overnight.

If it is important for park in closer to hotel, and you are a single-day visitor, call in advance about possible arrangements and prices, especially for a weekend day.

Ski route to the Lake and ski shop:  There is also a ski route from the Gatehouse up to Lake Mohonk and the ski shop.  It requires handling some steeper hills than on most of the other ski routes.  There is a brief section where you have to take your skis off and walk on the road. 

Bonticou and golf course ski routes can be reached by crossing the little bridge over Mountain Rest Rd, north from the Gatehouse -- no need for any shuttle bus to ski those. 

Full -- when the Gatehouse parking lot is full, you can also try some of the Mohonk Preserve parking lots and trailheads:  Spring Farm Rd parking is off Mountain Rest Rd down the hill west from the Gatehouse.  Hiking trails (not groomed for skiing) from there connect with the Bonticou and golf course ski routes -- by way of a substantial hill.  Trapps parking is off Route 44.  Trails from there connect with Rhododendron Bridge.  See Mohonk Preserve skiing. Requires a lot more climbing and/or a lot more distance from these parking lots to the prettiest views.

  • Rental skis + lessons -- If someone needs equipment rentals or a beginner lesson before they start skiing, try to park up by the hotel area or take a shuttle van from the gatehouse parking up to closer to the ski shop. If you're a single-day visitor, best to call in advance to find out what the arrangements might be.

  • Those who want to get to the prettiest trails with the least work, try to park up to the hotel area or take the shuttle in (often not available in ski season).

  • Athletic skiers who can safely manage downhills and have all their own ski equipment usually park at the Gatehouse and start skiing from there.

  • Those who want to ski the Bonticou area and have all their own ski equipment usually park at the Gatehouse -- or sometimes at Spring Farm Rd (but that requires skiing up and down a substantial hill).

Where we go for What

  • Prettiest trails with the least work:  from the ski shop, we would usually take people around Lake Mohonk to Humpty Dumpty.

  • Visible rewarding achievement: Ski up to Skytop tower and back.

  • Gentle trail with easy access: Bonticou Rd north from the Gatehouse parking, then turn around and come back when encounter any significant downhill or uphill.

  • Gentle trail from the ski shop and hotel:  Lake Shore Drive. (The drawbacks are that you have to first get up there to the start of the trail, and that sometimes non-skiing hotel guests walk on it and leave deep footprints. We feel it's still worth it).

  • Long beautiful loop for athletic skiers:  big south loop to Rhododendron Bridge.

  • Hilly workout with easy access:  Guyot Hill, north from the Gatehouse (or from Spring Farm parking).

  • Steepest hill-climb: Old Minnewaska Rd climbing up from Rhododendron Bridge.

  • Skiing when there's no snow elsewhere:  north side of Guyot Hill.

ski routes

Here's some tours we've tried and enjoyed over the years -- on days with good conditions.

Of course conditions will be different on the day you ski, and your abilities and preferences are different from hours -- so just because we tried some route in a previous year doesn't mean it's safe or fun for you on your day.

  • around the Lake to Humpty Dumpty -- Amazing variety of spaces to ski in:  below the cliffs, above the cliffs, beside the lake -- close and far views of natural objects, remarkable human structures, big vistas of the Catskill mountains and out across the Hudson River valley. 

Humpty Dumpty is surely one of the most spectacular groomed cross-country ski trails anywhere (some of these photos are from Humpty Dumpty).

About 3.5 miles (6 km).  Starting from the ski shop:  Lake Shore Rd - Woodland Dr - Humpty Dumpty. Can then turn around and go back the same way. Be careful not to continue down the hill of Laurel Ledges Rd, since this is long and steep -- only for skiers with advanced downhill skills,  only in good snow conditions, and only for those who have the strength to climb back up somehow.  Or if Copes Lookout Rd is skiable, we sometimes take that finish at the athletic fields just southwest from the hotel (not far from the hotel parking lots) -- and sometimes from there we've then continued onto the Eagle Cliffs loop.

One time after skiing through Humpty Dumpty we found Copes Lookout Rd closed, so we just turned around and went back the way we came -- a very worthwhile ski tour.

  • Sky Top tower -- up and back.  We've seen the tower from many places in the Hudson valley, and we've hiked up to it many times in the summer. Once we found we could also ski to it, we could not resist going for it.  Along the way are big views out across the Hudson valley and to distant mountains. 

About 3.5 miles (6 km) round-trip with 330 vertical feet (100 meters) of uphill.  From the ski shop by the Lake, the ski route starts climbing away from the Tower:  north on Huguenot Drive, then turns Right onto the Sky Top Road.  

For the best chance of good snow conditions, we try to do this tour soon after a fresh snow-fall, since the trail is exposed to wind and sun. Sometimes we've needed to take our skis off and carry them a short ways where the snow had blown off near the top -- but it was still very worth it. The Sky Top tower is easily visible from downtown New Paltz -- and on a clear day even from some hilltops in northern New Jersey. Some of the old ski trail maps have this route marked for ski-striding only, but in 2004 and 2005 we found it well-groomed for ski-skating also.

  • Eagle Cliffs loop -- A gentle climb with many wonderful views in several directions, and then it's downhill going back.

Note: As of January 2005, we found this loop had a sign for snowshoes only, and it was not groomed for skiing.

About 2 miles (3 km) round-trip with 160 vertical feet (50 meters) of uphill.  Start by the athletic fields just southwest from the hotel.  The shortest way to get to the start of this route from the ski shop is by carrying skis and walking on the road around the north and west sides  of the hotel.  

  • from the gatehouse North across the golf course to Bounticou crag.  About 3 miles (5 km) round-trip with about 300 vertical feet (90 meters) of uphill. 

There's other pleasant loops and groomed trails in this Bonticou area, but keep in mind that when you decide to ski further downhill on a trail, later you'll have to climb up more hill to get back to the Gatehouse parking lot.

  • big south loop thru Rhododendron Bridge. We think the lower part of Laurel Ledge Rd is one of the most beautiful groomed cross-country ski trails anywhere -- in a magical intimate way. Humpty Dumpty is surely one of the most spectacular groomed cross-country ski trails anywhere -- in an obvious way (some of these photos are from Humpty Dumpty). Oakwood Drive has a nice design -- as long as it holds snow.

Not sure how long this route is or how much hill-climbing -- but this loop has much longer distance and more climbing than any other groomed loop to Mohonk.  When you're out in the middle of it you're a long way from any rescue, and not many skiers go there, so make sure you're ready to handle it before you get into it.

Here's how we remember skiing it: Huguenot Dr to Woodland Bridge. Bridge Rd to Kleinekill Rd to Oakwook Dr to Rhododendron Bridge (intersection with Overcliff + Undercliff Rd). Laurel Ledge Rd to Humpty Dumpty Rd to Woodland Dr to Lake Shore Rd.

We usually choose to ski it in the clockwise direction (as above), because: (a) to discover any snow-coverage problems early; (b) to save the prettiest for last; and (c) to enjoy the moderate + interesting descent on Kleinekill Rd and Oakwood Dr, rather than the straighter steeper hill of upper Laurel Ledge Rd.

A problem with this route is that Oakwood Dr is south-facing and lower, so it loses snow cover before other trails at Mohonk. Also some of Laurel Ledge Rd is under evergreen trees that block some of the snow from reaching the ground -- so it can have thin spots even though it's on the shady side of the ridge. I don't mind carrying my skis over some bare sections early in order to enjoy its larger pleasures.

Athletic and adventurous skiers can also connect to trails on the Mohonk Preserve to make bigger tours.  


  • We've usually been offered a map of the roads and trails at the gatehouse when you pay your fee to enter the Mohonk property.  We've always find that to be a helpful map. 

Sometimes in 2004 and 2005 we've found that the actual trail-grooming status is different from what's marked on the map, like a trail that's marked for classic-striding will actually be groomed for both skating and ski-striding.

concept words: ski skiing cross country cross-country xc snow skier skiers skis nordic trail trails Hudson river valley New York state NY roberts

trail trails map maps center centers area areas resort resorts place

places: Ulster county mid-hudson New Paltz Kingston Newburgh Woodstock Catskill region Catskills gunks Shawangunk Shawangunks Wallkill Gardiner Rosendale Kerhonkson


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