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March 20, 2021 — Peregrine Falcon breeding season is underway at Mohonk Preserve and we now have confirmed nesting activity at Bonticou, Millbrook and the Trapps. As a result, we are announcing the following temporary climbing-route closures, effective as of March 20, 2021: 

  • Trapps Cliff – no climbing between and including Overhanging Layback (5.7) and Brave Valkyrie (5.5).
  • Millbrook Ridge – no cliff access south of Westward Ha!
  • Bonticou Crag – no climbing in the area known as The Sunbowl

To help protect the nesting Peregrine Falcons:

  • DO NOT use ascent trails or rappel routes that access these areas.
  • DO NOT use the trails at the top of the cliff in the closure area.
  • DO NOT use the section of the cliff base climbers trail between these routes.
  • PLEASE refrain from excessive noise making while in the vicinity of these closures.

Peregrine Falcons are listed by the State of New York as an Endangered Species and we are legally obligated to protect their nesting areas at Mohonk Preserve. The Peregrine breeding season may possibly run through late summer. For updates on the Peregrines, click here.

The Preserve has worked collaboratively with the climbing community for decades to help protect the Peregrine Falcons and appreciates their support of our conservation mission as they continue to enjoy the hundreds of unrestricted climbing routes available at Mohonk Preserve.



In accordance with state and CDC guidelines and to ensure the health and safety of members, visitors and staff, Mohonk Preserve has instituted several important protocols for visitation, including:

  • Please recreate close to home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Visitors are required to wear face coverings upon entry.
  • Visitors are required to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others.
  • No congregating or large groups.
  • Offering touchless transactions with credit or debit cards.
  • The Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
  • Other trailheads will be open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset for members and from 9 a.m. to sunset for day-use visitors.



  •  Limit your group size to no more than four.
  • Don’t add to the burden on our first responders – climb, or boulder cautiously.
  •  Avoid busy climbing areas and crowded trailheads.
  •  Don’t climb or boulder directly next to someone – use the 6- to 10-foot social distance guideline.
  •  Avoid sprawling your belongings at the base of a route.
  • Don’t put the rope or gear in your mouth and use hand sanitizer.
  • Bring your mask and wear it on the trail or at the base. Consider belaying, bouldering or scrambling wearing your mask.
  • Consider weekday visits for less-crowded conditions.
  • Due to increased visitation, consider alternative routes with less pedestrian and cyclist traffic.


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 100,000 climber visits a year.

  • Climbers have full and easy access to over 800 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. In collaboration with climbing guides and groups, the Preserve regularly hosts climbing clinics.

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.

Rock Climbing Guidebooks: The Climbers Guide to the Shawangunks: The Trapps (revised 2nd ed. ©2016) by Dick Williams is available for purchase at the Nature Shop  in the Visitor Center for $34.99. 
Download Gunks Apps Rock Climbing Guide to Your Mobile Device: Bring a digital guidebook with you on any mobile device. Gunks Apps climbing guidebooks are now available for purchase for Trapps Routes, Nears Routes, Trapps Bouldering, and Nears Bouldering.

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.

Click here to read our Low-Impact Rock-Climbing Guidelines.

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.

Does Mohonk Preserve offer guiding services?

The Preserve does not offer instruction, but the guides and guide services below are registered with the Mohonk Preserve.

Only registered guides may instruct organized climbing classes. 
If you suspect that a guide is not affiliated with one of these services, please notify a ranger. If you want to offer guiding services, please consult the Preserve Climbing Instruction Policy.

Is there camping?

Yes. The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground on Rte. 299 is available for camping.  For more information, click here.

For other hotel and lodging information, please see our Area Guide.

Check out these sources for climbing and bouldering suggestions:

  • GunksApps
  • 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.

Banner photo by June Archer