Visiting Lake Minnewaska in Upstate New York (Photos)

If you’re in upstate New York, you’ll definitely want to stop by the Minnewaska State Park Preserve for some stunning scenery, especially during the fall. Plus, the drive up to the preserve had a few perfect overlooks to enjoy the view of the area.

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Read: Best Places to Photograph in New York State

To enter the Minnewaska State Park Preserve you’ll need to pay a $10 fee per vehicle (they take cash and card!). For updated fees check the site with price details.

During our visit, we hiked the Lake Minnewaska Loop Trail and on the Awosting Falls Connection Trail. There are plenty of other longer trails throughout the park which you can look up on AllTrails. Many are a few miles long but the loop around the lake is only 1.9 miles, and the hike to Awosting Falls is 1.1 miles.

Lake Minnewaska on Google Maps

Lake Minnewaska

Probably the most popular thing to do in Minnewaska State Park Preserve is walk around Lake Minnewaska.

The Lake Minnewaska Loop Trail, which circles the entire lake, will take you about an hour. While walking the trail you’ll find plenty of sights and overlooks to enjoy. I especially enjoyed the mirror reflection on the lake when there isn’t much wind.

Glassy reflection at Lake Minnewaska

Awosting Falls

The first parking lot you see while driving into the Minnewaska State Park Preserve will take you to a trail leading to Awosting Falls. This 1.1 mile out-and-back hike is well worth the stop. From the parking lot it’ll take you about 15 minutes to get to the top of the falls and another 10 minutes to get to the bottom of the falls.

There are plenty of areas to set a tripod up at the top of the falls, making it easy to photograph the creek feeding in. I loved all of the autumn colors in the background.

Once you walk down to the bottom you’ll be greeted with a large rocky area and a view of the falls.

Bottom view of Awosting Falls

Photos of Lake Minnewaska

Here are more photos from our hikes in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Recommended photography gear: I recommend bringing a wide angle lens and an ND filter to Lake Minnewaska. Capturing the waterfalls, fall colors and paths with a wide angle lens is incredible. Plus if you have a tripod and ND filter with you you’ll be able to drag your shutter for clouds and water. I could also see a zoom lens working great at Lake Minnewaska as well.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Minnewaska in New York

How Big is Lake Minnewaska

Lake Minnewaska is about 1/2 mile long and 1/8 mile wide. While the lake is fairly large it’s a stunning hour long walk around the entire length.

Can I swim in Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, swimming is allowed in Lake Minnewaska. The lake has designated swimming areas where visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in the beautiful surroundings. Just do not swim in any streams or near any waterfalls.

Are there hiking trails around Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. From easy walks to challenging hikes, there is a trail for everyone to explore and enjoy the breathtaking views. As shown in this post the trail around the lake is a must-do if you’re planning a visit.

Are there picnic areas available at Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve has designated picnic areas where visitors can relax and enjoy a meal surrounded by nature. Please remember to clean up after yourself and dispose of trash properly.

Is fishing allowed in Lake Minnewaska?

No, fishing is not permitted in Lake Minnewaska. The lake is a protected area and fishing is prohibited in order to preserve the natural ecosystem.

Can I bring my pet to Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, pets are allowed in Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. It is important to clean up after your pet and ensure their behavior does not disturb other visitors or wildlife.

Are there camping facilities at Lake Minnewaska?

No, there are no camping facilities at Lake Minnewaska. However, there are nearby campgrounds and accommodations available for visitors who wish to stay overnight in the area.

Can I go biking at Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, biking is allowed on designated trails at Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Cyclists can enjoy the scenic beauty of the park while exploring the trails.

Are there any entrance fees for Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, there is an entrance fee to access Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Please check the official website for the most up-to-date information on fees.

Is there a visitor center at Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve has a visitor center where visitors can gather information about the park, learn about its history, and get recommendations for activities and trails to explore.

Can I go horseback riding at Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, horseback riding is allowed on designated trails at Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Visitors can bring their own horses or rent them from nearby stables.

Can I go bird watching at Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a great location for bird watching. The park is home to a variety of bird species, making it an ideal spot for bird enthusiasts to observe and appreciate these beautiful creatures.

Can I go ice skating on Lake Minnewaska in winter?

No, ice skating is not allowed on Lake Minnewaska. The lake does not freeze consistently and the ice conditions are unpredictable, making it unsafe for ice skating.

Are there any restaurants or food vendors at Lake Minnewaska?

No, there are no restaurants or food vendors at Lake Minnewaska. Visitors are advised to bring their own food and beverages or explore nearby dining options outside the park.

Can I go cross-country skiing at Lake Minnewaska in winter?

Yes, cross-country skiing is allowed on designated trails at Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve during winter. The park’s scenic trails provide a picturesque setting for skiers of all levels.

Are there lifeguards on duty at Lake Minnewaska?

No, there are no lifeguards on duty at Lake Minnewaska. Visitors are responsible for their own safety while swimming or participating in water activities.

Can I go rock climbing at Lake Minnewaska?

Yes, rock climbing is allowed in designated areas at Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Proper equipment and knowledge of rock climbing techniques are essential for a safe and enjoyable climbing experience.

Is there a limit on the number of visitors allowed at Lake Minnewaska?

Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve does not have a specific limit on the number of visitors. However, it is recommended to arrive early, especially during peak seasons, to secure parking and avoid overcrowding.

In conclusion, visiting Lake Minnewaska in Upstate New York is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. With its breathtaking natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and panoramic views, the lake offers a serene and rejuvenating experience for all visitors. Whether you’re hiking the scenic trails or simply enjoying a picnic by the shore, Lake Minnewaska provides endless opportunities to connect with nature.

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3 comments on “Visiting Lake Minnewaska in Upstate New York (Photos)”

  1. When the state of New York got a hold of this beautiful landscape they ruined it. Dogs. Mountain bikes, trash, inconsiderate hikers have contributed to a massive degradation to the ecosystem. The cars pollution noise and crowds have destroyed it,!

  2. I use to work there from 2014 to 2017 before the change ,it was one of the best jobs I had .The Park is big ,to big for the small dependable staff they have ,the ceinery ,aniamals ,and the helpful staff are the best .Enjoy the time you visit the Park ,you can’t see it all in a weekend.