Mohonk Preserve and American Alpine Club Open New Gunks Campground

Climbers and hikers can now sleep under the stars at the Shawangunk Ridge


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gunks campground
Photograph by Andrew Burr/courtesy of American Alpine Club

The Gunks are home to some of most incredible outdoor recreation spots in North America. People from all over America come to breathe in the mountain-fresh air, hike the trails, climb the rocks, and enjoy the breathtaking view.

Now visitors have the opportunity to camp out in its scenic surroundings, too. This season, the Mohonk Preserve and the American Alpine Club teamed up to open the new Gunks Campground. The project — the result of a collaboration between the two groups and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission — has been in the works since 2006. The goal is to provide climbers with a place to relax while they explore the area.

The campground is a five-minute drive from the Mohonk Preserve parking lot, or a brisk 20-minute walk from the base of the cliff. It has 50 tent sites, consisting of a platform, picnic table, parking spot, and bear bins (yes, there is a large black bear presence in the area).

The campground provides a covered pavilion for cooking and shelter from the rain. Near the pavilion is a community fire pit, where visitors can hang out by the fire and make S’mores.

Showers are available at the bathhouse for a fee, and fuel, groceries, and hiking gear can be found eight miles away in the cozy town of New Paltz, where climbers can recharge their batteries in one of its many cafes and eateries.

The campground is open from May 15 through mid-November, and the price per campsite is $24 per night for Mohonk Preserve members ($38 night for non-members). There’s a limit of four people and a maximum of two tents per campsite. The daily charge for climbers, bikers, and horseback riders is $17 and $12 for hikers in the Mohonk Preserve.

To make a reservation, contact the office Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. by calling 845-255-0032 or visiting www.americanalpineclub.org.

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