As you hike through the medium-difficulty Sam’s Point Preserve, you might come across various scenic wonders, from the beautiful ice caves to the famous lake and thick bushes. The hike might not be for everyone, but we promise you it’s possible!
This one of those places that is near and dear to me and my family. We live 10 miles for the preserve and one of my long time buddies was the park Ranger of this location for about 15 years before he past after a long bout with ALS. We literally visit this place out of reembrace at least 4 times a year.
As mentioned above, this hike is medium-difficulty, so if you visit your local gym regularly, you will definitely be able to make it. It’s also a loop hike, which climbs up as you go. This climb takes you away from the oft-trodden path and towards nature. It winds through the ice caves, around Lake Maratanza, and back to the beginning.
Here’s a breakdown of your trip to Sam’s Point Preserve, everything you should expect, and the main attractions;
About the Reserve
There’s a reason why the caves are called a reserve. These caverns are snuggled deep within the Shawangunk Mountains, which are home to some of the region’s most unique flora and fauna. That’s not all. Preservationists have gone to great lengths to protect the area by limiting artificial trails and encouraging natural ones.
Some of the most popular features of the Preserve are the cliffs overlooking deep drops and rock types that are home to rare dwarf pitch pines. Amongst the pines are the ice caves which provide reprieve to many hikes all year round.
You can take a carriage, walk, or hike to the caves. In the winter, the area opens up to different winter-related activities in Sam’s Point Preserve.
Going Back in Time
The Preserve wasn’t always this heavily populated. In fact, it was actually used as a shelter more than 7000 years ago. The Sam’s Point Preserve gets its name from Sam Gonzales’ legend. Sam is rumored to have fallen off the cliff while being chased by Native Americans.
The Preserve has witnessed much development over time, be it through the trails or the visitors who demand more access to the caves.
How to Get to Sam’s Point Preserve
Your trip to Sam’s Point Preserve doesn’t have to be confusing. A good start can set the mood for a wonderful time ahead. Here’s a guide on how to get to the Preserve;
- Reserve your parking spot in advance to avoid disappointments. You might reach the Preserve and find out there is no parking place.
- Have some change ready. Online reservations can cost up to $10, but on the spot, reservations vary.
- To enter Sam’s Point, take Route 52 West for around 14 miles. Go right on Cragsmoor Road. You will reach Sam’s Point Road in 1.4 miles. Follow the road till you reach the parking lot.
Activities in Sam’s Point Preserve
Here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for; a list of all the activities Sam’s Point Preserve offers. However, it is essential to remember what affects our forests and environment and the recent wildfires that have caused our natural habitats to suffer.
Since 2016, wildfires have destroyed around 2,000 acres of the surrounding areas. This has led to the closure of some important trails around the Preserve. You can get more information regarding the trails that are still open for public use.
Encouraging preservation efforts for our state parks, reserves, caves, and natural habitats can only come from a deep understanding and care for the same. The more tourists, the more the habitats flourish. So keep visiting, and keep raising awareness!
We cannot deny the beauty of the landscape once we reach Sam’s Point Preserve. A trip to the Preserve gets us well acquainted with the surrounding area’s sights, flora, and fauna. You can read all about the Preserve and still get shocked once you visit it.
This Preserve is just the thing for people enthusiastic about nature trails. If you want to avoid that summer heat, you should consider visiting these cool caves where you can relax after a long hike.
The Preserve contains ice caves, and visiting the caves is one of the most popular activities in Sam’s Point Preserve. These caves are located near long trails, cliffs, a beautiful waterfall, the endangered but ever-so-beautiful dwarf pines, and geological wonders.
During your hike, you can stop to take a picture or have a small picnic before you resume.
2. The Pines
As this is a loop hike, you begin and end your hike at the same place. As you pant to the finish line, the rush of endorphins might turn it into an otherworldly experience (coming full circle). The forest is filled with the dwarf pines mentioned above, another geological wonder.
3. Sam’s Point
Ah, the cursed place of the fall. Yes, this is the place where Sam (presumably) jumped to his death. This sounds much more sinister than it looks. This point should be appreciated for its beauty, and you can stop to take pictures.
4. Ice Caves
So, have we finally reached the ice caves? Not that fast!
You need to hike to the caves, which takes an hour at max if you are at a good fitness level. The caves are much cooler than the outside temperature, and the cold draft will hit your face right as you enter.
These caves also end at a rock formation where you can take pictures or settle down for some snacks. You can even walk further to witness the famous waterfalls if you still have some energy.
Once you finish your activities in Sam’s Point Preserve, you need to hop into your truck and drive off. The only food option is in your picnic basket; if there is no picnic basket, you might need to rush to a restaurant.
Hiking through the point can make you extremely hungry. You must decide where you will eat beforehand to avoid delays.
The Preserve is a great place to spend your weekend. Bring your partner and make it your go-to spot. Or visit the Preserve alone and marvel at the beautiful sights!