100 miles north of New York, the Shawangunk Ridge abruptly rises out of the area west of the Hudson Valley, making for some truly unique geological forms. For the first time, I went for a hike in “The Gunks” recently and found myself in a place I’ve never been before: An ice cave.
There was a lot of doubt if the ice caves at Sam’s Point near Ellenville would actually have ice in them this time of year. Spoiler: They do. That’s what makes them ice caves.
It’s a tight little hike down into the caves, but it’s a well-marked trailand there are even lights in the caves and wood trail ladders on some of the more difficult spots, so you can scurry around the rocks pretty easily. According to other sites, the loop up Sam's Point and down to the ice caves is 7.5 miles, which seems like a bit of an exaggeration to me. Overall the loop took us about three and half hours at a pretty casual pace.
Since the ridge rises out of flatland, The Gunks offers some pretty spectacular views with minimal hiking required. It's only about 30 minutes to the ridge at Sam's Point, and the views are just as dramatic as hikes that are usually much longer. The Gunks are also home to plenty of waterfall features and swimming streams. If you’re looking for a nice cool spot to cool off this summer, make your way to Sam’s Point. You won’t be disappointed, and I’m willing to be that yes, the ice will still be there.