The Shawangunks Rock Gardens are a fantastic concept—a regenerating, infinite, open-source art project set on a bald peak of the Shawangunk Ridge in Kerhonkson.
Every summer, gaggles of locals wander up to the Gardens and create. Some of the statues have been enormous—a few summers ago, I saw a 10-foot Tyrannosaurus composed of grey and brown boulders. I have no idea how people were able to do this without the aid of a backhoe.
…and, come winter, snow drifts over the statues until their shapes are smoothed into the ground. Spring arrives, and the sculptures are dismantled and dragged out by the snow-melt.
But the stones remain scattered around like Legos, and the next summer brings the gaggles back to build a new round
It was early in the season, so the creations were less impressive than at most times. Someone had built a giant lean-to up there, so anyone crazy enough to undertake a multi-day project was able.
According to my Trusted Source In Local History, McWilliams, the first season of the Rock Gardens occurred sometime in the 70s, when a bunch of SUNY New Paltz Undergrads decided they needed to alert spaceships where to land when aliens made first contact. The students must have given up, because I didn’t see anyone up there. Or the plan worked, and the aging students are whizzing around the multiverse right now.
To Get to The Rock Gardens from New Paltz:
– Get yourself to the intersection of 299, 32 and 208.
– Travel West on 299 for 12.4 miles
– There is a small parking area on your right directly before the road straightens out. Pull into it.
– Cross 299 on foot and mount the rocks on the opposite side of the road.
– Climb until you’ve reached the peak (only a minute or two)
– Turn right and continue, walking parallel to 299 below you
– In less than five minutes, you’re there.
– MAKE SOMETHING
2 thoughts on “DIY Sculptures at the Shawnagunks Rock Gardens”
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This is not a designated trail head. In other words don’t encourage people to do this. Crossing over 44/55 is very dangerous because there is a blind turn from the upper lookout and the speed limit is 55 mph. As for people visiting this area, two fires were started here over the last ten years due to humans. They came very close to residential homes and luckily they didn’t take them. This area is being loved to death by tourism. Articles like this do not help the situation. You can enjoy this ridge but please respect it. And leave no trace of your presence.