Sand Pond: Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail
|Difficulty||Round trip||Total climb||Internet Maps|
|6.6 mi.||1845 ft.||Google Maps|
Willowemoc Mountain and Sand Pond Mountain are often climbed together and the discussion below includes the route for both mountains. The highest point on both mountains is very close to the trail but some bushwhacking is required to reach the summits.
Take the Beaverkill Rd. toward the Lew Beach and Turnwood area. Keep driving even when the road turns to gravel and dirty. After about 30 minutes you will see the Zen Monastery on the left. After this is the parking area for Cradle Rock Ridge on the right. Continue on until you see the small parking area for the Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail on the Right. Park your car and sign in at the register. The hike through to Mongaup Pond is about 6.5 miles. You, of course, can turn around at any point and return to your car. You can park another car at the end of the trail at the Mongaup Campgrounds. Just after the trail register you cross the Beaverkill on a rather unique steel cable suspension bridge. The bridge has wooden decking which is showing its age but still seems safe. You now begin a long and sometimes challenging ascent of the Beaverkill ridge. The highest point on the ridge is almost 3200 feet! The trail offers very few views of the valleys surrounding the ridge. After about 2 miles the trail opens up into a small clearing. Walk to the left of the trail to a rock ledge and look for the highest point of land. The views to the east are some of the few you will find on this hike! Continue on the main trail and you will descend Willowemoc Mountain into the col with Sand Pond Mountain. At about 3.2 miles you will notice higher ground to your right. Leave the trail and begin a short bushwhack to the highest point. You may be able to get some limited views from the top. When you are done, turn around and follow your route back to the parking area.
(The image at the left shows the profile of the hike. Remember that all vertical profiles are relative!)