Minnewaska State Park Preserve is one of the most beautiful places to explore in the Catskills. And, in this incredible park, one of the best (and easiest) spots to visit is Awosting Falls.
Awosting Falls is located in the northern area of the park and is quite close to the main entrance and exit. This makes it not only easy to reach but also quite a popular spot. Nevertheless, no visit to Minnewaska State Park Preserve is complete without stopping by what is surely one of New York’s best waterfalls.
Where to Park for Awosting Falls in Minnewaska State Park Preserve
While the park’s miles of interconnected trails mean that you could park just about anywhere, the closest parking for Awosting Falls can be found at the Lower Parking Area. This lot can be found near the park’s entrance and exit at the following coordinates: 41.734605, -74.244048 (See a map here.)
This is a very large gravel lot, but on busy days may be full if you arrive later in the day as it’s also the access point for several other trails. If this lot is full, the second-best lot is the Upper Parking Area near Lake Minnewaska.
While the waterfall might be a challenge for those with mobility issues (as the trail seems a bit steep for a wheelchair), there is handicapped parking even closer to the waterfall at these coordinates: 41.734597, -74.238722. All spots here are for handicapped visitors only, so everyone else will need to park in the Lower Parking Area.
It’s worth noting at this point that Minnewaska State Park Preserve is different from almost every other state park in the country in that it actually has an opening and a closing time and, outside of those hours, the gates are closed and visiting the park is not allowed.
The entrance gate opens at approximately 9 am each day of the year. I say approximately as on the day of my visit, I arrived at 8:50 am and the gate and credit card machines had just turned on. Because of this, it might be worth arriving a few minutes early. The cost to visit is $10 per vehicle.
Arriving a few minutes before 9 am meant that I was the first one in the parking lot and the first one down to Awosting Falls, and I was able to enjoy it for about 15 minutes before anyone else showed up.
The park also has a closing time, which is based on the sunset time and varies throughout the year. The closing time for each day is posted both at the entrance and on the park’s website. They do close the gate at this time, so make sure you note what it is before starting out on your adventures.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
How to Get to Awosting Falls
From the Lower Parking Area, find the small bathroom structure near the road. Adjacent to this building is the start of the trail to Awosting Falls.
The entire hike is about 0.6 miles one-way, of which about half is a flat hike between the roadway and Peters Kill, and the second half is a descent of about 80 feet down to the waterfall.
The entire trail is wide and covered in gravel. While I’m not sure if a wheelchair could manage the trail, a jogging-type stroller should be able to do it without difficulty.
As you hike from the parking area, make sure to take some time to enjoy the beauty of this forested area and the stream that runs alongside it.
After about a third of a mile of walking, The trail once again meets the road. At this point, carefully cross the road and then cross the bridge to resume the trail portion of the hike. There are no sidewalks here, but cars should be driving slowly and visibility is good, so it’s not a dangerous road crossing like at some waterfalls.
Once on the far side of the bridge, you’ll again pick up the trail, which winds its way down the hillside for a quarter-mile before reaching the base of Awosting Falls. Along the way, it passes several small waterfalls that are worth taking a minute to enjoy.
The area at the base of Awosting Falls is quite wide, which makes it easy for many people to visit before it starts to feel too crowded. A few benches here would be a nice added touch, but overall, this is a great spot from which to view the waterfall.
Awosting Falls is said to be 60-65 feet in height and tumbles off a sheer rock wall into a large pool at its base. These cliffs are especially impressive and create a very dramatic scene.
It should be noted that swimming isn’t allowed here and you also aren’t supposed to get too close to the rock walls. When visiting, please respect the park rules and other visitors by staying back from the waterfall, both for your safety and so everyone can enjoy the beauty of this waterfall.
The trail continues downstream of Awosting Falls for another 0.4-miles until it reaches Route 55. This is a beautiful and easy hike through the woods, though there are no other specific points of interest along this trail.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to extend your time in the woods after hiking to Awosting Falls, this is a nice option to do as an out-and-back extension. However, there are certainly more beautiful trails in the park to hike if you have the time (especially the trail around Lake Minnewaska).
Ultimately, as I said at the top of this article, Awosting Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls in New York and, along with Kaaterskill Falls and Horseshoe Mine Falls, is one of the must-visit waterfalls in the Catskill Mountains. So, I consider this a must-visit spot when traveling through Ulster County.
However, this area isn’t just this waterfall. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is among the most beautiful parks in New York, and I highly recommend taking the time to hike more of the park’s trails either before or after visiting Awosting Falls. This is truly a park that you won’t regret spending your day exploring.