Wildlife Viewing Areas
 Search the U.S.
Find an AnimalFind a Viewing AreaPlan a TripAboutContact


Purchase the New York wildlife viewing guide

NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Mohonk Preserve
Description: Mohonk Preserve, the largest non-profit nature preserve in New York State, covers 7,500 acres of forests, fields, streams, lakes, mountain ridges and other unique environments. Located in the Shawangunk Mountains just a 90-minute drive north of New York City, the preserve offers stunning views from its many cliff ledges.

Mohonk Preserve is home to more than 1,400 plant and animal species, including the endangered peregrine falcon; native flowers like orchids, trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit; and 2,000 acres of rare dwarf pitch pine. Large and small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians all find shelter and food here.

With its scenic beauty and tremendous animal and plant diversity, it’s no wonder The Nature Conservancy designated the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, which includes the Mohonk Preserve, as one of Earth’s “Last Great Places.”

Wildlife to Watch: Endangered peregrine falcons nest on the cliffs, sharing the skies above the forested valleys with black vultures, turkey vultures and common ravens (larger than similar-looking crows). Bald eagles and many species of hawks also pass through the preserve on their migrations each spring and fall. Wooded areas are key nesting sites for birds like ruffed grouse, thrushes and warblers. Saw-whet and other owl species are sometimes heard and occasionally seen at dawn or dusk while traveling along woodland trails.

White-tailed deer, red and eastern gray squirrels and cottontail rabbits are numerous and commonly seen in fields and forests. Black bears, bobcats, fishers, foxes, raccoons and porcupines are among the other notable mammal species that live here but are infrequently observed, being less numerous, primarily nocturnal or more wary of people.

Huge rock slabs at the bases of mountain cliffs provide perfect nesting places for threatened timber rattlesnakes, New York’s largest venomous reptile. Turtles, frogs and salamanders are found in forest pools and wetlands. A colorful array of wild butterflies is attracted to the butterfly garden near the visitors center.

Special Tips: Visitors have a wide selection of routes to hike, bike, snowshoe, cross-country ski and horseback ride on the preserve’s dozens of miles of trails, including wheelchair-accessible carriage roads. Lookouts on the edges of steep cliffs are perfect spots to pause and admire the gorgeous views. Trails also connect to nearby Minnewaska State Park (see page 88 in this guide), greatly increasing the extent of your explorations. Interpretive stations on the “sensory trail” around the visitors center encourage you to touch, look at and listen to nature.

845-255-0919, 3197 Rte. 44/55, Gardiner, NY 12525, www.mohonkpreserve.org

Other Activities: The preserve’s visitors center holds year-round nature programs. An award-winning program, NatureAccess, encourages people of all abilities to enjoy the outdoors. The grounds are open from dawn to one hour after sunset, year-round. The visitors center is free and open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round. Access to the land is free for members. For non-members, a day pass is required. Memberships and day passes are available at the visitors center or trailheads. Hunting is allowed in season by permit only.

Ownership: Mohonk Preserve 
Size: 7,500 
Closest Town: New Palz

RestroomsParkingCross Country SkiingHikingVisitor CenterHuntingHandicap AccessibleFeeDrinking WaterBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
Take the NYS Thruway/I-87 to exit 18 toward New Paltz. Take Rte. 299 west for 7 miles. Turn right onto Rte. 44-55. The visitors center is 0.5 mile on the right.

Map Link

Mohonk Preserve : Wildlife Viewing Area