7 Things You Have to Explore at Mohonk Preserve NY

I’ve visited Mohonk Preserve NY many times and continue to come back because of all the things you can do there and if you’re planning a first time visit here, I’m going to share 7 things to do when you do go that’ll make your trip absolutely amazing.

Here is just one of the many beautiful things to see at Mohonk Preserve NY:

mohonk preserve photos 03


This is one of the most popular viewpoints in the area and you can get there pretty easily with a simple hike, or elect to take a much more fun, but difficult path known as the Labyrinth hike which I’ll talk about later (it’s one of the exciting hikes I’ve ever done in my life).

Also notice the large mountain range behind the hotel. These are the Catskill Mountains.

If you’re someone who is exploring the upstate region, you’ll probably want to go further north beyond Mohonk Preserve, as there is so much to see besides the Catskills, but that’s for another article.

Let’s stick to just this place because it too has a bunch of stuff to see.

Where is Mohonk Mountain Preserve located?

mohonk preserve map 04

Mohonk is located about 2 hours north of NYC, near New Paltz. It’s also a neighboring region to Lake Minnewaska State Park (orange on the map).

While the focus of this article is things to do in Mohonk Preserve, I also want to highly recommend you visit Lake Minneswaska if you have the chance and honestly you can do a simple weekend trip to both areas to do that.

But back to Mohonk Preserve. If you want to check out the most activities there, you will need to enter it through the Mohonk Mountain House Gate which I will cover below. It’s the official entrance to the region.

From there, you will either walk or drive up to the Mohonk Mountain house and it’s from there where you’ll be able to explore the majority of the things on this list.

Here is a list of the 7 things to do at Mohonk Preserve NY:

  1. Do some Horseback riding.7 things to do at mohonk preserve 02
  2. Take a boat ride at Mohonk Lake.
  3. Check out the Mohonk Mountain House.
  4. Do the famous Labyrinth hike trail.
  5. Walk or hike to Skytower, at the top of Mohonk Preserve.
  6. Explore Split Rock swimming hole.
  7. Do the Lost City Loop trail.

It just so happens that nearly every activity you can do in Mohonk Preserve has side adventures that can be done.

For example, there’s numerous hikes in this region that you can explore besides the Labyrinth and just as well, there’s more than a few things you can do near or at the hotel there (all of which that I’ll explain).

1) Enjoy some horseback riding at Mohonk Mountain Preserve:

horseback riding at mohonk preserve

You will see a large stable right before you walk up to the Mohonk Mountain House (the hotel).

When we went there, I believe you could only go if you made reservations, but the horseback riding option for this beautiful area is highly recommended.

There’s many trails in this area and some of them are horseback accessible.

So besides getting great views, you can also do that on horseback. Mohonk Preserve provides one of the best horseback riding spots in all of Upstate New York.

2) Check out the boat rides at Mohonk Lake:

mohonk lake 02


Mohonk lake is right by the hotel and you have access to rent kayaks, paddle boats, and canoes.

Mohonk lake itself is pretty small, but the area surrounding the lake, that being the hotel, the mountains, and overall the scenic views really make this view and an enjoyable thought to realistically explore. It’s also very family friendly.

Of the 2 times I’ve visited this area, I have never been able to find the time to rent a kayak or canoe.

I had to move onto exploring an awesome hike right next to the lake known as the Labyrinth which I’ll get into shortly.

But as you can see from that picture, there’s plenty to explore if you go kayaking there.

I’m not sure about the rates or hours the kayaks and canoes go for there, but I would advise you go on an off season period to Mohonk Preserve (off season means anytime there isn’t a long weekend or holiday happening) if you wish to avoid long lines and high prices.

This area overall is very expensive, whether it be the food, the cost to enter this place, and whatever else is on sale and I wouldn’t be surprised if even the kayaks and canoes cost a lot to rent either.

3) Explore the Mohonk Mountain House hotel:

mohonk mountain house photo 01

I have honestly never seen such an amazing hotel and you may think the same if you happen to go here.

Pretty much anyone who visits the Preserve and decides to stay overnight will do so at the Mountain House I mentioned.

It’s a very old, and very historic hotel which looks amazing and we did explore it. It almost looks like some sort of fantasy hotel. 

It also has a lot of things you can explore like a spa and beautiful balconies leading out to the lake.

Here’s a list of things to do near Mohonk Mountain House:

  • Swimming on Mohonk Lake (about 50 feet from the hotel).
  • Boating (right by the entrance).
  • Exploring the famous botanical garden right the mountain house (100 feet from it).
  • Then there’s some hiking trails, but that’s reserved for the next thing to do on this list:

4) Check out the Labyrinth trail (The most famous Mohonk mountain hiking trail):

mohonk preserve hiking labyrinth trail 01


The Labyrinth hike is truly amazing and it’s located right across Lake Mohonk from the Mountain House. If you enjoy hikes with scrambling, a little bit of climbing and areas where you have to climb stairs and squeeze through rocks, then this is the hike that has all of this and more.

This hike runs parralel to the same hiking trail which goes up to the Skytop Tower of Mohonk Preserve and through the Labyrinth Trail, you will take the “scenic route” to reach it.

There are several awesome sections of this hike to note:

  1. First, there is the massive scrambles and climbs through rocks in the beginning.
  2. Then there is a lot of boulder hopping.
  3. The hike ends at a place called Lemon Squeezer where you will go up stairways which takes you to an awesome overlook of the Catskill Mountains and Mohonk Preserve.

The Labyrinth hike is one of the best day hikes near NYC in my opinion and while it is tough in parts, it’s very fun and worth trying out. And it’s one of many other hiking trails in Mohonk Preserve (but if you can only do one, this would be it).

5) Skytop Tower:

hiking to skytop tower at mohonk preserve

Again, you can reach Skytop Tower by either hiking to it via the Labyrinth trail or you can just walk on a much simpler trail that is actually above the Labyrinth to reach it.

This is probably one of the most popular scenic overlooks in the entire Preserve as it’s located at the top of the Mohonk Mountain.

You can see the hotel, and areas beyond the Preserve too, although I did also see many of these areas, while I was in the Labyrinth. If you’re more of a beginner hiker and worried about the Labyrinth’s challenges, just do the regular hike up to the Skytop Tower.

A lot of people also do a loop hike by starting at the Labyrinth, taking it to the Skytop Tower, then hiking down the regular trail.

Side note: If you choose to take the easy walk up to Skytop Tower with the intent to do the Labyrinth hike after, forget it. You cannot enter into the Labyrinth hike from that end.

6) See the Mohonk Preserve Split Rock swimming hole:

split rock swimming hole coxing hill mohonk preserve

I had a chance to see the Split Rock swimming hole recently and it’s also part of a list I made for the best swimming holes in the Catskills.

It’s a small swimming hole area and is often crowded, but worth visiting if you enjoy swimming holes.

There’s a small gorge you can swim through with a waterfall at the end of it (as the picture shows).

Cliff diving is not possible here as it’s very shallow, but never the less, you can cool off in this swimming hole after a nice hike, and it just so happens, the next thing on this list is a perfect opportunity for that:

7) Do the Lost City Loop trail (It’s an incredible hike):

mohonk preserve lost city loop hiking trail

After doing a short swim in Split Rock Swimming hole, I went back to my parking lot and discovered that a beautiful hiking trail was right by the parking area where I left my car.

I decided to explore it and it’s called Lost City Loop which turned out to be an amazing trail.

It takes you through many gorges, nice hikes and cool overlooks that really do look like a lost city.

The hike it only about 2-3 miles but was a perfect trail to finish my day hike in Mohonk Preserve. Overall this hike is very scenic and is anywhere from beginner to moderate.

Hiking at Mohonk Preserve, what I recommend wearing and bringing in general:

Questions about Mohonk Preserve:

How much does it cost to hike Mohonk Preserve?

To hike at Mohonk Preserve, you first need to enter the official parking area and it’s $26 per person to enter.

How long is the Mohonk Preserve trail?

Every trail in Mohonk Preserve varies from being a few miles to over 10.

How many trails are in Mohonk Preserve?

There are close to 50 hiking trails at Mohonk Preserve.

Can you hike at Mohonk Preserve?

Yes, the most popular trail is the Labyrinth which has you see amazing sights of the Mohonk Mountain House, Skytop Tower and incredible views of the Catskills.

2 important things to know before you visit Mohawk Preserve:

mohonk preserve new 08

If you’re visiting this place, it’s either because you’re staying at the Mohonk Mountain House or just visiting for a day to explore the area and do the hikes.

1) If you’re planning to stay at Mohonk Mountain House:

You will have to go through the Mohonk Mountain House Gate to get there. You’ll then drive up 1-2 miles to reach the house.

2) If you’re planning to just visit the area for a day trip, then you need to buy a Mohonk Mountain House Day Pass ($35 per person for hiking):

You will still have to travel through the Mohonk Mountain House Gate to enter, but you will have to park right by that entrance and hike to the Mountain House from there. You can’t buy the pass at the gate, but online.

Here’s the page to buy a Mohonk Mountain Day Pass (if you’re just checking the place out for hikes, then buy a hiking pass). There are other passes you can buy but that’s for activities inside the Mountain House.

More adventures available near Mohonk Preserve:

mohonk preserve trails new 041) Sam’s Point (pretty cool hiking with caves).

2) Lake Minnewaska State Park. Has beautiful trails and waterfalls that are great for family adventures.

3) The Catskill Mountains waterfalls. The area is an hour north of Mohonk Preserve, and I’ve included details on where to find the waterfalls there.

4) There’s also a list of the best waterfalls across New York State I recommend checking out.

5) Breakneck Ridge. An awesome hike about an hour away from Mohonk Preserve. It’s almost as fun as the Labyrinth and a bit longer and also is park of Hudson Highlands State Park which itself has many things to check out too.

6) Harriman State Park. Great park south of Mohonk Preserve and it also has a Lemon Squeezer hike there too (but totally different than the Labyrinth).

7) Hudson Valley hiking trails. The Hudson River is east of Mohonk Preserve, but it features many beautiful hikes (and parks) to check out.

8) Check out a post I wrote on how to find easy hikes near me. You can find plenty of trails, views, places to see and more using that (near Mohonk Preserve or anywhere else).

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