Rainbow Falls Trail Orange

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York

Elevation Gain1,162ft
Trailhead Elevation1,829ft
Elevation Min/Max1671/2110ft
Elevation Start/End1829/1839ft

Rainbow Falls Trail Orange

Rainbow Falls Trail (Orange) is a hiking trail in Town of Wawarsing, New York. It is within Minnewaska State Park Preserve. It is 1.9 miles long and begins at 1,829 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,162 feet. Along the trail there are viewpoints. This trail connects with the following: Lower Awosting Carriageway (Blue), Castle Point Carriage Road and Upper Awosting Carriageway (Green).

Rainbow Falls Trail (Orange) Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes with Dogs: New York City & Beyond (The Mountaineers Books)
Tammy McCarley
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"Offering 11,630 acres in the midst of the Hudson Valley region, the Shawangunk mountain range that includes Minnewaska State Park Preserve is one of the most scenic and naturally beautiful areas in the Northeast. Once the site of two mountaintop hotels, the preserve was saved from further development in the 1980s and established as a state park preserve for all to enjoy. This is one of many stunning hikes in this park, and offers challenging terrain, views of a gorgeous 100-foot waterfall, and gentle carriage roads."
"Enjoy a glistening curtain in spring in the midst of one of Ulster County’s most dramatic landscapes. Actually two falls—the major fl ow is on the left, while a smaller falls flows on the right about 30 yards from the first—Rainbow Falls passes muster as one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Minnewaska State Park. It takes some effort to get to this most excellent sight, so many visitors don’t make the trip, which means you may have the trail and the falls to yourself, particularly on a weekday at the height of spring. The falls comes at the end of a fairly strenuous hike that begins with a wide carriageway and eventually narrows along the edge of some steep rock faces. You’ll climb about 275 feet in elevation as you navigate this trail. When you’re going up, don’t forget to look behind you to catch some panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains."

Rainbow Falls Trail (Orange) Trip Reports

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This is a nice challenging trail that brings you to a lovely waterfall. There's some rock scrambling but nothing too hard. In addition to the falls there are some great views of the Catskills. The best time to do this one is in the spring when the falls has a decent amount of water.
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A few issues with this hike: The parking area is not a ways off 55/44 as indicated on the NYNJTC trail map #104 but is right off the road. We did not hike east on Jenny Lane as instructed for this hike but walked up 55/44 to where the trail crossed the road and started west there. The first part of this hike along Long Path/Jenny Lane up to where it crosses the blue-blazed Blueberry Trail was not very interesting or challenging. Plus, there were posted warnings about rattlesnakes but we didn't see (or hear) any. We were disappointed that the mountain laurel blooms were so sparse on this hike, but the worst part was the bugs that buzzed around our heads the whole time (we used two different kinds of insect repellent and neither worked). Most of the hike is through shaded woods (hence the pesky insects), but when I took off my sunglasses the bugs flew straight into my eyes, so I had to keep the sunglasses on. The final leg of this hike along an "unmarked woods road" was a bust. We hiked through thigh-high weeds and grass (deer tick heaven!) for a while and finally gave up when we lost the "road" and bushwhacked back up to 55/44 and walked back to the parking lot. Rainbow Falls was beautiful but you are better off starting from one of the Park parking lots and hiking along Mossy Glen Trail or one of the carriageways to get to the Falls.
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This trail has amazing views! My wife and I hiked this trail with our kids (1 1/2 and 3 1/2). Our kids rode in kid carriers on our backs and were completely satisfied with all of the scenery. Every part of the trail is marked extremely well and the description of the trail is exact. The only thing I would suggest is to stay on the green trail instead of getting on the bluberry carrige trail. This trail is a more difficult hike so make sure you are prepared. The rocks are slippery, and you are going to get your feet wet on this trail. There are multiple stream crossings. The falls are amazing. You can walk right up to them and feel the mist and if it is nice I bet you could get under the water without too much trouble. I DO NOT RECOMEND THIS TRAIL FOR DOGS! If you take your dog on this trail you are taking a serious risk of getting it hurt.

Rainbow Falls Trail (Orange) Photos

Trail Information

Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Nearby City
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 5281 Rte. 44-55, Kerhonkson 12446; (845) 255-0752; nysparks.com/parks/127/details.aspx
Local Contacts

Trail Log