Minnewaska State Park Preserve
The Peter’s Kill climbing area is located within the 23,000+acre Minnewaska State Park Preserve and provides the only legitimate rock climbing on the Shawangunk Ridge outside the Mohonk Preserve. It is located one mile east of the main park entrance and about 2 miles west of the hairpin turn on Route 44/55 west of the village of New Paltz, N.Y. Climbers traveling to Peter’s Kill from the east therefore pass the Mohonk Preserve’s Visitor Center and West Trapps entry points where they are rewarded with a peaceful, generally quiet line of crags. The cliffs are short, topping out at an average of 70 feet or so (closer to 90 at the Dickie Barre cliff), and a trail that runs along the top tremendously facilitates top-rope climbing. The base of the cliff is heavily forested, which keeps the cliffs shaded and comfortable on all but the hottest summer days. The cliff line is a bit more east-west than the Trapps and Near Trapps, so the cliffs also manage a bit of afternoon sun in the spring and fall, making them a bit more pleasant on chilly days. In addition to rock climbing and bouldering at Peter’s Kill, Minnewaska also offers hiking, biking, boating, SCUBA diving, picnicking, swimming, and horseback riding in the main section of the park.
Peter’s Kill managers limit the number of climbers each day—currently 100 climbers and 30 boulderers—so crowding is rarely an issue. The limit is hit a few times each year, typically on peak holiday weekends. On busy days, please let the gate attendant know when you leave so that additional climbers can be allowed in.
Climbing at the Peter’s Kill requires a day pass or season pass. Rates at the time of printing are: $10 per person/per day for climbing, or $90 for a seasonal pass. For park uses other than climbing (hiking, biking, etc.) rates are $10 per vehicle or $65 for an annual Empire Pass which allows access to all New York State parks. If you are coming up with a group in a bus, it is recommended to register in advance as the park has limited spaces.Please inquire with the park about it well before you arrive (845-255-0752).
In terms of acreage, Minnewaska dwarfs the Mohonk Preserve, and the potential climbing terrain is more varied as well. However, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC), a joint N.J.-N.Y. entity, only allows rock climbing within the relatively small confines of the Peter’s Kill and newly opened Dickie Barre area. Climbers should keep in mind that the highest priority of the PIPC is to preserve the park, and in the event of conflicts between recreational use of the land and preservation, climbers may be the losers.