This is one of the places you can consider to explore despite trails being muddy.What is worth to hike here in the blazing sun to get there as the preserve had a tremendous lush canopy from big trees, but apparently due to fire burn in the past years, you should be sure to have ice caves and verkeerderkill falls trail hike under direct sun for a few miles? You can cool down in the ice caves if you have plenty of time, but if your time is limited, first you have to tour it because you can’t afford to miss them.
Lets get started with Ice Caves and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail Hike Beginner’s Guide:
The deciduous forest
Just as from the parking area take the loop road uphill on the switchbacks through the deciduous forest for about a half a mile, pass the dramatic Shawangunk Conglomerate cliffs where you will experience magnificent views of rock outcrops. Just beyond, after taking a left turn, you will be able to see the top of Sam’s Point and spectacular views extending to the south are Shawangunk ridges and Wallkill valley this is one of the paces you can take pictures and have a break.
The ice caves
The ice caves in Sam’s point are the reason why people prefer this place so much. The hike to the cave is about a mile out and back, and along the way, there is Sam’s lookout. There are plenty of sunlight seeps through, and one stretch that is like a cave contains motion sensor lights for board walkers. This is a beautiful and safe way to walk one as there is no chance of bumps and you can’t get hurt against the protruding rocks. The morning mist and early morning fall colors give woods a dreamy feel in this place.
This is one of the beautiful places you should consider when thinking of places for hiking as it is flat and with good trails. The main trail takes one through dwarf pines barren which are along the ridges. The vegetation here is dependent on fire as there are burnt trees and is regenerating. These bushes still produce berries during their seasons that are mostly munched by bears than humans. This trail is worth anxiety though part of it looks like a beach, and it is difficult to see through due to mist that is mostly present.
This trail goes across to the left and it curves up to the north with beautiful views ahead, and at its end, there is a large opening and towards the end starts the ice caves loop trails, which is a tourist attraction and it also have some artificial features like colored lights.
Turning right, you will descend on winding footpath that has wooden guardrails and very steep with craving rocks passing underneath, and you will experience a change in temperature in this place. Motion sensitive lights are in place to give light when passing through this cool and dark place. After leaving this ice cave, you will emerge in the open where you will go through dramatic cliffs and under overhanging rocks.
Leaving the rock crevice, you tend to climb a ladder made from woods to the open outcropped rocks where there is light in the cave produced by the solar panels installed in this place, and it is the end of your hike through the caves. After here, you can take a right turn to explore more of these rock outcrops with a beautiful view to the east and the north. You can then continue ahead to the white-blazed trails and go up to the open area where you started the hike.
The place has a nice trail, the most attractive and beautiful vegetation and you are guaranteed to get a fantastic waterfall by taking a right turn just after crossing the stream out of the trail to a natural balcony. To hike up to the Falls is a bit challenging and lengthy because of many rocks and boulders along the way and it is a constant look-down at the feet as to maintain proper footing and not getting hurt, and the falls make it worth the hike.
The Path Trail
After retracing your steps back to the junction by going along the Falls path trail, before reaching the main loop road, you can follow the trail on your right marked with the aqua blaze of the long path which leads through the dwarf pitch pine forest. There are excellent views ahead of this place, and you can go farther to cross outlet stream of Lake Maratanza where the vegetation here is changed to the deciduous oak-birch forest with an under story of fern plants.
It takes about an hour walk from this trail to reach the braided stream in hemlock and rhododendron area. This stream can be crossed comfortably on rocks unless when the water level is very high. The rock stables along and across this stream provide a pleasant setting for one to take rest and continue with the hike along the aqua-blazed trail.
This is one of the most significant places in the world as the trail is making sharp turns and unmarked paths on a rock ledge that is overlooking 180 foot high dramatic water falls, which is the highest waterfall in Shawangunks. You will not hike in this place in vain as the waterfall is beckoning and is a beautiful place you can consider taking a PJ. From this point, one can hike back to Sam’s Point with the whole view being lovely and exciting.
It is as well possible to make an over 10mile hike by proceeding ahead on the aqua-blazed path as you will be ending up turning onto red-blazed- high point trails that are relatively difficult to go through as it will demand the use of hands and feet. The most direct return is to retrace your path back to along the Long Path to the Ice caves road.