Site #14 Shawangunk Mountains from Sky Top


Sanford Robinson Gifford and Thomas Worthington Whittredge are the most prominent of several Hudson River School artists who painted the Shawangunk Mountains, especially the vistas south from Sky Top and Eagle Cliff. From either vantage the spectator enjoys splendid views of the indelible Trapps, which seem to crest like ocean waves surging towards the Hudson River Valley to the east. In the Civil War period when Gifford and Whittredge most frequented the Shawangunks, the famed Mohonk Mountain House hotel did not yet exist, but a ten-room tavern on Lake Mohonk had opened in 1859. Gifford represented the Trapps from both vantages. This one is from Sky Top, easily reached today by ascending a short trail from the Mohonk Mountain House. The artist posed the ridgeline—comprising the Trapps, the Near Trapps, and Millbrook Mountain—almost in the center of his composition, and flooded the vale behind the ridge with the radiant light of an impossibly low midday sun.

Plan Your Trip

Visit their Website

Admission Fee 
Day visitors pass $22-27 per person, $15 under 12 (check website for seasonal rates, family discounts)

Paid w/Admission 


Accessible with Assistance 
Meets some ADA standards and has some barriers. Many visitors with disabilities will require assistance

Open all seasons 
7AM - 4:30AM (May - Oct), 3:30PM (Feb - Apr), 2:30PM (Nov - Jan)


Map & Directions

Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 41.76419 Lat., -74.15637 Long.

Location Notes: Mohonk Mountain House is a convenient 90 mile trip from New York City. The hotel and resort is located six miles west of the NY State Thruway near New Paltz, New York and is easily accessible by auto, train, bus, or air. After leaving the NYS Thruway at Exit 18, turn left at the traffic light onto Route 299/Main Street. Follow Main Street through New Paltz. Immediately after crossing the bridge over the Wallkill River, turn right (follow "MOHONK" sign). After 1/4 mile bear left at the fork and follow Mountain Rest Road and Mohonk signs to the Gatehouse. (NOTE: The Mohonk Gatehouse is located about six miles west of the Thruway Exit.) Stop at the Gatehouse or Guest Services Desk and ask for a Mohonk Hiker's Map. The view can be found by ascending Sky Top Path and turning right on the first carriage road at the top. Proceed to the "Armstrong Seat" gazebo; medallion is just before the gazebo.

Photography / Painting Credits

Sanford Robinson Gifford. The Shawangunk Mountains. Oil on canvas, 1864, 9 x 16 in. Private collection.

Pril Smiley. Shawangunk Mountains from Sky Top. Photograph, 7 May 2013, 4000 x 3000 px. Thomas Cole National Historic Site.