Route: Schunemunk Ridge Loop (NY)
Ben Nephew reported:
Yet another great set of trails in the Hudson Valley is found on Schunemunk Mountain. Todd Jennings mentioned that there were some nice trails on the mountain, so I decided to head down for a run. There is an obvious loop on the unique parallel ridges that define the mountain, and I also included the Sweet Clover and Dark Hollow trails to see more of the mountain and add a little more climbing. The trails are deceptively hard due to incessant turns, tight singletrack in the wooded sections, uneven footing, and non-stop minor elevation changes. Maintaining a steady pace is challenging for much of the loop. My route went from Trestle - Barton Swamp - Jessup - Sweet Clover - Dark Hollow - Jessup - Western Ridge all the way back to Trestle. I started and finished at the Trestle trailhead that is closest to the parking lot on Otterkill Rd., not the entrance right at the trestle. Although you are not far from Storm King, the trails on Schunemunk are considerably more technical. The descent down between the ridges on the Western Ridge is a little piece of Devil's Path cake in there. It is hard to go a mile on the loop without a great view east or west, but it is also difficult to take your eyes off the trail for very long. The exposed ridge trails are generally well marked, but some of the intersections, which don't always have signs, are hidden in the dwarf pines. The loop is about 12 miles with approximately 3500' of climb. My time was 2:08:52.