Chances Are You Don’t Know Anyone Who Has Done this Hudson Valley Hike
A few years back I was looking around on google maps to locate a trail someone had mentioned to me that was up near Lake Minnewaska. As I browsed the map I came across a State Forest I never knew existed. This place is so unknown I can't even find information on how it got its name.
I discovered it by sheer accident. Witch's Hole State Forest. I am going to go out on a limb here but I would say it is a safe bet that even some of the Hudson Valley's most avid hikers have never taken the trail through Witch's Hole State Forest to the actual falls which are called Witch's Hole.
The funny thing is after you realize where this location is you discover it is really hiding in plain sight. But truth be told is it isn't an easy place to get to. Not being one of the Hudson Valley well-known hiking spots and can seem a bit remote. I should also probably mention that due to the fact few people travel it's trails and its steep terrain it can also be a bit treacherous.
As you travel on Route 209 you can see the side of the mountain where the forest is located. From the Google Earth image and the Google Maps picture below you can also see that it is really close to main roads and looks relatively easy to find. However, it is my understanding that the road and then trails you take are pretty narrow. The YouTube video from Discover Ellenville gives you a good look at the terrain you'd need to travel.
If you do plan to go the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a fact sheet on it as a multiple-use area. According to the NYS DEC, it is open year-round and is free. The area covers 451 acres and can be accessed through Minnewaska State Park using the Old Smiley Carriage Road.
I am going to try this hike at some point and when I do I will be sure to take pictures and share with you my personal account. In the meantime, if you get there feel free to send me pictures and comments on what you find during your travels.