the Gunks - Near Trapps

the Gunks - Near Trapps

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elevation: 370 m

waypoint_type: climbing_outdoor

climbing_outdoor_types: multi

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quality: medium


The "Nears" (as most local climbers call it) is a popular cliff in the Gunks, less than 200 km from New York City. Many good routes from 5.3 to 5.12. On private land mostly owned by the Mohonk Preserve - but the bottom parts of some climbs and a section of the access trail are claimed by another owner who (as of 2013) forbids access.

The rock is generally sound quartzite conglomerate ... fairly hard rock often with many positive edge holds and horizontal cracks and ledges. So easy climbs can be steep and even have overhangs, unlike most climbing areas where the easy routes are just friction slabs. The cliffs are at low altitude.


West Trapps parking lot: On route 44 west from its intersection with route 299. This parking also gives convenient access to the bigger Trapps cliff. If this lot is full, could also walk to the Nears from Wawarsing or Visitor Center parking of the Mohonk Preserve, but that would take much longer.

driving: From Interstate 87 (New York State Thruway) take Exit 18 New Paltz. Turn left on route 299 West through the village of New Paltz, and continue on route 299 to its end. The Trapps and Near Trapps cliffs are easily visible from the road. Turn right on route 44 West. Go 2.8km / 1.75 mile on route 44, up the hill past the hairpin curve, over a high point of the road, under the iron bridge, and down a little ways farther along N side of road to the West Trapps parking (GPS latitude/longitude approx N41.7374 W74.1975) on N side of road.


To walk to the cliff ... From the east end of the West Trapps parking lot, walk about 225 meters (750ft) NorthEast then SouthEast on the wide trail mostly uphill to a portable toilet next to stone steps leading up steeply to an iron bridge. Do not go up those steep stone steps, instead turn Right a couple of steps to the side of the route 44 highway. Immediately turn Left and walk under the iron bridge, SouthEast about 120 meters (400ft) along high-speed high-traffic route 44, and at some point cross over to the other (southwest) side of the highway. After passing by a rock-cut cliff along the southwest side, just before a steel guardrail, turn Right off the highway (lat/long ~ N41.7363 W74.1935) onto an unmarked narrow dirt trail which starts gently downhill.

Walk South-SouthWest about 55 meters (180ft) on this unmarked trail, first down, then up, until meet the base of the cliff -- at a junction of trails (lat/long ~ N41.7358 W74.1939). The trail climbing up to the right is the normal Descent route for climbs in the north section of the Near Trapps -- so it's good to make a little side-trip and go up and check it out now. so you'll recognize how to find it when coming from the top of the cliff. The trail more horizontal to the left (SW) is the way to the bottom of the climbing routes.


As of 2013, the most detailed and accurate guidebook for the Nears is
The Climber's Guide to the Shawangunks: The Near Trapps + Millbrook (2nd edition), by Dick Williams (Vulgarian Press 2008).

The guidebook by Todd Swain covers all of Trapps, Nears, Millbrook, Skytop in a single volume - but in much less detail than the Williams guidebooks.

For most climbs, the most accurate and current and helpful info is covered by using the Williams guidebook together with the Comments for that route on

More ...

for info about
Difficulty ratings
Protection + Equipment
Services in the region
selected Climbs

-> see the main page for the Gunks.

other resources ...
* all the latitude/longiture points on this page, also other helpful GPS tracks and waypoints, are in a .GPX fils linked from this page.

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Associated routes

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