Highlighting Highland Mills

Schunemunk Mountain Ridge Loop

Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway
Cornwall, NY 10930

West of Black Rock Forest in the northern Hudson Highlands, a land formation rises that has several unique and striking features. Usually pronounced skun-uh-munk, the name means excellent fireplace in the Algonquin tongue. Schunemunk Mountain features a number of unusual geologic features. Soaring well above the surrounding region, its summit reaches an elevation of nearly 1,700 feet above sea level. A striking feature of the mountain is its double crest. For nearly three miles, there are two ridges running parallel to each other, separated by the valley of Baby Brook. Each ridge consists of layers of the same conglomerate sloping inward towards each other, thus forming a geologic downfold or syncline. The caprock of the ridges is a reddish-purple matrix, studded with pebbles of white quartz and pink sandstone, some of which reach diameters of eight inches.

With over 25 miles of trails, Schunemunk Mountain offers hikers opportunities to walk along ridges, view cascading streams, and investigate megaliths. The hiker should be alert to different ways of trail blazing- painted blazes on trees and rocks, cairns [rock piles], and plastic rectangles nailed to the twisted trunks of the pines and to sudden changes in the trail's direction, especially as there are so many distracting views along the ridge.

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