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Ashokan Reservoir & Bluestone Wild Forest

ashokan reservoir
 
 
The Ashokan Reservoir is a 8,315 acres (3,184 acres west basin and 5,131 acres east basin) water body owned by the New York City DEP. There are also thousands of forest surrounding the Reservoir.

While these hikes are mixed in with New York DEC land, and technically not including in the Bluestone Wild Forest, we include them under the Bluestone Wild Forest.
 
 
View of Slide Mtn Wilderness from the Ashokan Quarry Trail
Ashokan Quarry Trail - This is a short hike of slightly less then two miles that is easy to hike. There are a few view of the mountains from the top of Yale Quarry. You can also visit the Ashokan Quarry Loading Docks off the trail. A DEP permit is NOT needed. The trail is closed to hikers during hunting season around Thanksgiving. This trail is located on NYC DEP property.

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View of ashokan reservoir from the from the Ashokan Rail Trail
Ashokan Rail Trail - The Ashokan Rail Trail is 11.5 miles long. It runs on the old Ulster & Delaware Railroad tracks. The surface is 10-12 feet wide with crushed bluestone. There are 3 large parking areas off Rt 28 and Rt 28a. Several very nice view spots on the upper and lower sections of the trail. The ART is on NYC DEP Property. You do NOT need a permit to use this rail trail.

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View of ashokan reservoir and mountains from the from the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade Trail
Ashokan Reservoir Promenade - The Ashokan Rail Trail is 2.7 miles long. The surface is 10-12 feet wide and is paved. There are 2 parking areas off Rt 28a. Incredible views for most of the trail. The ARP is on NYC DEP Property. You do NOT need a permit to use this old dike road. Also two other Day Use Areas to visit.


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israel-wittman-sanctuary trail system
Israel-Wittman-Sanctuary - The Israel Wittman Sanctuary is 4.16 miles long. The main access trails are double-tracks wide, where some of the loops have have a mix of single and double track trails. There is 1 parking area. There are NO view spots. The ARP is on Woodstock Conservancy Property.


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Bluestone Wild Forest

Bluestone wild forest
 
 
The Bluestone Wild Forest is a 3,018 acre Wild Forest Owned by the New York DEC. This forest has one of the larges slabs of bluestone in New York State. Under the forest floor is solid bluestone that stretches out over thousands of acres. Many hikers skip the Bluestone Wild Forest because the elevation change is very small. But, it's beauty leaves the few hikers who visit this exceptional Wild Forest longing for more trails. Erosion has carved out streams that can reach over 100' down into the bluestone. There are some exceptional conifer forest in all three regions. The Bluestone Wild Forest is just minutes from Exit 19 on the New York State Thruway and the City of Kington. It borders up again Woodstock and the Town of Kingston.

Approximately 2/3 of the visitors are Mountain Bikers. The rest are walkers, hikers, a few boaters and campers. Originally, this forest had a few trails in it. But, in the late 2010's a significant number of new trails popped up. And, each year new trails are added to the forest. The trails are not as refined and harden as Elm Ridge, but the quantity of trails and exceptional variety of terrain makes it a must visit location for many mountain bikers.

The Lakes Region is the most beautiful. It has two beautiful lakes. Hikers particularly like Onteora Lake and Pickerel Lake. And, a few lucky hikers find Hidden Pond Trail. Mountain Bikers tend to stick to the eastern side of the Lakes Region. The lakes region has room for about 55 cars in three designated Parking Areas.

The Southern Region is mainly used by Mountain Bikers, but hikers tend to like the variety of terrain. The Southern Region has room for about 20 cars in two designated Parking Areas.

The Wintergreen Region used to be called the Jockey Hill Region. It is a little more hilly then the other regions. The Wintergreen Region is mainly used by Mountain Bikers, but hikers tend to like the area also. Especially, the trails that runs next to the stream. Sadly, as of 2023, it only has parking for 5 cars. It needs a Parking Area for 100 cars. So, parking is very limited. Especially in the summer months. This region is very popular with Mountain Bikers, and has many visitors year-around.
 
 
Lakes Region of the bluestone wild forest in the catskill mountains
Lakes Region - Western Region of the Bluestone Wild Forest. Has two beautiful lakes. Some primitive camping spots. Non-motorized boating. Mountain Biking, hiking, cross-contry skiing. The region is relatively flat. The elevation only goes up-or-down 150' throughout this region.



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Southern Region of the Bluestone Wild Forest
Southern Region - This region is used mostly by Mountain Bikers. But, it is a beautiful place to take a walk or Cross-Country Ski or Snowshoe. Elevation only changes by 150'



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Wintergreen region of the Bluestone Wild Forest
Wintegreen Region (formally Jockey Hill Region) - This region is used by Mountain Bikers and a few Hikers. The Elevation does change by 450'.




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