The Home of Gunks Climbing
Most of the Gunks climbing cliffs are located on the Preserve and can be accessed from the West Trapps Trailhead.
Why do climbers from all over the world climb at Mohonk Preserve?
In the early 1950s, there might have been 50 climbers on a busy day in the Gunks. By the 1990s, that number grew to 500-800. Today, the Gunks are a world-class climbing area, offering some of the best climbing in the eastern United States and receiving about 50,000 climber visits a year.
- Climbers have full and easy access to 1,000 routes and more than five linear miles of cliff face, located near parking areas and sanitary facilities.
- It’s the best. The vertical cliffs and their overhangs create a wide variety of high-quality climbs of varying levels of difficulty. The distinctive, stark, white cliffs of the Gunks are as tough as they look – with sharp angles testing your skill and with quartz pebbles and deep fissures providing multiple holds.
- Climbers can climb more safely here. The Preserve has one of the best-trained, vertical rescue teams in the northeastern United States. Also, the Preserve has replaced over forty dangerous, unsightly anchors with safe, unobtrusive, fixed ones.
Is there a fee?
Yes. You can join online now, or you can buy a day pass or membership at a trailhead or at the Visitor Center.
Is there bouldering?
Yes. Acres of boulders offer hundreds of problems – from basic to advanced. Bouldering areas are easily accessible from the parking areas. Climbers come from all over the country to try out the new problems put up almost every day.
What should I know before I go?
Be aware that you climb at your own risk on the Preserve, which isn’t responsible for the condition of the cliffs, climbing protection, climber behavior, or training or supervising climbs. For your safety, read the Preserve's Climbing Policy.
Help protect the resource.
Prevent damage to the cliffs and to the fragile life found here:
- Use only established trails and carriage roads.
- Use the yellow-blazed climber approach trails in the Trapps.
- Avoid damaging lichen and vegetation growing on the cliff and treat the rock gently: tree cutting, rock trundling, hold chopping, and bolting or gluing of holds are prohibited.
- Minimize chalk use and brush off heavily chalked holds.
- Leave only rock-colored slings at rappel stations.
Parking is extremely limited on weekends and holidays. During peak seasons, parking lots fill early. Ease traffic congestion by carpooling or coming at off-peak times. Please comply with posted regulations, including "no parking" signs.
Dogs must be attended and leashed at all times. To avoid having your dog disturb others, don’t leave your dog tied-up at the base of a climb. If you leave your dog unattended, it will be removed by an animal control officer.
Please keep the trails at the base clear so others can pass by.
Is there camping?
There is one, 20-site, low-impact tenting area on the Preserve, located near the Trapps Bridge on Route 44/55. It is for climbers only, and fires are not allowed. Information on and permits for use of the site are posted on the bulletin board at the site entrance.
For other hotel and lodging information, please see our Area Guide.
Check out these sources for climbing and bouldering suggestions:
- Dick Williams, Shawangunk Rock Climbs: The Trapps, American Alpine Press
- Ivan Greene and Marc Russo, Bouldering in the Shawangunks, Jefe Publication.
How can I help make sure the cliffs stay open and affordable?
The Preserve is one of the few private, nonprofit (NGO) climbing areas in the United States, financially supported by members and visitors and open to the public 365 days a year. Help keep it that way!
- Become a member today. Your continuing membership support will help keep the cliffs open to climbers and will provide ongoing support for our climbing management program – recognized as a model by the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation)
- Volunteer for trail maintenance and other projects that ensure climber access. Also consider getting involved with the Gunks Climbers' Coalition – a local climbing advocacy group.
- Donate to the Thom Scheuer Memorial Fund for Land Stewardship, which helps build and maintain climber facilities, including trailheads, parking areas, and sanitary facilities. To contribute, contact the Development Department at (845) 255-0919 ext. 1240.