A remarkable variety of natural features and habitats — as well as opportunities to enjoy spectacular views — make this an exciting destination for hiking and mountain biking.
Esopus, Ulster County (936.5 acres)—Located on the slopes and top of Shaupeneak Ridge, part of the Marlboro Mountains, the preserve offers a cornucopia of treats for nature lovers — wildflower-filled grasslands, woods, a waterfall and pond, stunning rock formations and an abundance of wildlife, including beaver, deer, coyotes and turkeys. Just as impressive are the vistas, stretching to the Hudson River and, once the leaves have fallen, the Catskill Mountains. (Scenic Hudson has protected farmland at the base of Shaupeneak Ridge to ensure pastoral views from the preserve remain unspoiled.) This splendor, combined with the rugged terrain, has made Shaupeneak Ridge one of the region's prime destinations for mountain biking and trail running. At whatever speed you enjoy the trails, you'll be amply rewarded.
For a fun, family-friendly hike, follow the trail around Louisa Pond (abloom with water lilies in summer) and an adjacent wetland that provides food and shelter for birds, dragonflies and other creatures.
Shaupeneak Ridge is maintained in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the West Esopus Landowners Association.
When to visit
Opens year-round daily at dawn. Closing times vary seasonally as follows:
|Nov. 1–March 13||6 p.m.|
|March 14–Memorial Day||7:30 p.m.|
|Memorial Day–Labor Day||8:30 p.m.|
|Labor Day–Oct. 31||7:30 p.m.|
Crossing Mid-Hudson Bridge from east to west, take Route 9W north for 8.2 miles. Left on Old Post Road. Lower parking lot is 0.2 miles on right. For upper lot, follow Old Post Road to Poppletown Road, which splits off to the right. Parking area is on the left, 2.5 miles from intersection of 9W and Old Post Road.