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Sam's Point and Verkeerderkill Falls Professional Review and Guide
"The hike to see the magnificent Verkeerderkill Falls in the Shawangunk Mountains is a tough one for kids, way too difficult even for sturdy, uncomplaining little ones. But before you turn to the next hike, read the full description. The Sam’s Point part of this hike comes at the start—it’s a short and easy trail (OK, it’s a road) that takes you to one of the highest points in the ’Gunks with very little effort. The kids will love it, and so will you. You might even want to continue on the old road for just another mile or so to explore some real caves. And if you’re hiking with sturdy older kids (ten and up) who will enjoy the challenge of a long, rough trail with magnificent views, by all means carry on to Verkeerderkill Falls. Just be sure to allow enough time and bring plenty of water and trail snacks."
--Cynthia Copeland & Thomas Lewis, Best Hikes with Children in the Catskills & Hudson River Valley (The Mountaineers Books).
Gorgeous day to hike. We skipped Sam's point on the way out and skipped the ice caves altogether. We continued on to the Falls over terrain that was rockier than we anticipated, thus making the trail a little challenging, but the vertical climbs and descents weren't too bad. The falls were really terrific. Much better than expected, both the view and the amount of water in them. We rested and snacked there before our return.The view from the falls out over the landscape is also terrific. Upon our return trip, we did stop at Sam's Point to enjoy the views. Hardest part of the hike is the climb from the parking lot to Sam's Point at the very start.
We had a good time on this hike. The ice caves were amazing and the falls were very powerful (it rained the night before). We will probably do this hike in the future. What we did not like about it was the trail was filled with water nearly the whole way, so keeping your feet dry was impossible, and because of the water on the trail there were a lot of hidden rocks to twist your ankles on. I would recommend wearing waterproof hiking boots on this trail.
cool and clear weather made the views spectacular. My girlfriend and I started late on the trail, so we did not make it to the falls. We did a round trip to the caves. The trail is very easy, although the signs are not large enough. The caves are amazing, and absolutely worth the trip. The stairway inside the cave was iced over, so I did that section alone. What the trail map and signs do not say is that there are two caves in the loop. You use one to go down, and the other to climb up. The second cave is much better, and has solar powered lights on motion sensors, so you do not need a flashlight, although I do recommend one. My advice is to ignore the last sign post. When you see the "kiosk" keep walking past it straight to the end of the open area, and there is the return part of the trail. You will follow the trail until you see the solar panel, and enter the cave there. Go through the cave until you reach the door. Now you are at the bottom of the face of the cliff, Take a look around there, and return the way you came. Don't forget to close the door to keep the critters out. With the cave entrance behind you there are some rocks to your left. You can look down into the caves from there (watch your children). It was such a beautiful spot that I proposed right there. My Fiance and I are going to make this a yearly trip.
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