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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Minnewaska State Park & Sam's Point Preserve
Description: The dramatic Shawangunk Mountain Ridge rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain. These adjacent preserves feature waterfalls, crystalline streams, high-altitude “sky” lakes, dense forests, and sheer cliffs with ledges and spectacular views, all within a 90-minute drive of New York City.

The entire Shawangunk Ridge has been designated as one of the Earth’s “Last Great Places” by The Nature Conservancy due to its extraordinary plant and animal diversity. Minnewaska and Sam’s Point host more than 200 species of migratory and nesting birds. Both locations are great places to view a wide variety of raptors and high-elevation forest and shrubland birds. The area has one of the best examples of ridgetop dwarf pine barrens in the world. Among the many species of plants and animals here, nearly 40 are rare.

Wildlife to Watch: Soaring turkey vultures and common ravens (much bigger than similar looking crows) are often seen from the many overlooks. In spring and fall, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, sharp-shinned, red-tailed, Cooper’s and broadwinged hawks glide by during their annual migrations.

Black-billed cuckoos, northern flickers and other woodpeckers, juncos, winter wrens, eastern wood-peewees, least flycatchers, yellow-throated vireos and a variety of warblers and other forest birds are found both on mountaintops and in valleys. Wild turkeys are often seen and heard strutting about the woods, and ruffed grouse are occasionally flushed from brushy areas. White-tailed deer are plentiful along the trails. Coyotes, black bears, bobcats, porcupines, fishers, red foxes, snowshoe hares and long-tailed weasels are also sometimes seen.

Special Tips: 

Ownership: Sam’s Point Preserve: Palisades Interstate Park Commission, NYS 
Closest Town: Sam’s Point Preserve: Ellenville; Minnewaska State Park Kerhonkson

RestroomsParkingHikingPicnic tablesBoat LaunchVisitor CenterHuntingSmall BoatsSwimmingBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
Sam’s Point Preserve: From Ellenville, take NY-52 east/Center St. toward S. Main St. After 4.8 miles, turn left onto Cragsmoor Rd. After 1.4 miles, turn right to continue on Cragsmoor Rd. Take the first right onto Sam’s Point Rd. Follow it for approximately 1.75 miles. Minnewaska State Park Preserve: Take the New York State Thruway/I-87 to exit 18/New Paltz. Turn left onto Rte. 299. After 7 miles, turn right onto Rte. 44/55. The entrance is 5 miles on the left.

Map Link

Minnewaska State Park & Sam's Point Preserve : Wildlife Viewing Area