Bouldering in the Gunks (Shawangunks, NY)


Bouldering in the Gunks (Shawangunks, NY)

trees rocks and people doing rock climbing the gunks

Everywhere we go, we always find either a place for my sons and my husband to go climbing, whether it could be outdoor rock climbing or indoor rock climbing. Today we’re going to be talking about climbing and bouldering at the Gunks in New York.

We visit my parents every year in New Jersey, maybe once or twice per year. They literally live across the river from Manhattan. You could actually see the Manhattan skyline from my parent’s balcony and there, my kids and husband go to a climbing gym called Gravity Vault in Hoboken. It’s an amazing, amazing gym.

They’ve been going to this gym now for over five years now. They’re also actually on the team there. So it’s kind of like they’re part of the crew. Even though we’re not there year-round. They are totally accepted as if they’re part of their team and the coaches, and it’s just really fun. But the coach and the team don’t only like to climb indoors. They always talk about going bouldering at the Gunk.

What are the Gunks?

The Gunks are actually a short name for the Shawangunks Mountains, and it’s located in upstate New York. It’s right next to New Paltz, actually, New Paltz, a little town of Newport, which is super adorable. It’s considered a University town, but it’s really hip and modern, and it’s adorable. The town is only several streets, and it’s literally nestled in the mountain region of the upstate New York of that area. The Shawangunks Mountains are literally like ten minutes away from this town. 

It’s a  National Park, which is really well known for bouldering and Traditional climbing. As I said, I don’t believe there’s any sport climbing there at all. I personally don’t go very often with my family because a lot of times they approach the way to get into where the actual climbing is or like the hike to where the climbing is usually uphill and it’s hard. It’s not something that I truly enjoy doing, but the Gunks is a dream come true.

people getting ready to do rock climbing in shawangunks

Bouldering at the Gunks

Bouldering at the Gunk is really one of the most popular places on the northeast side of the United States to go bouldering. And also for traditional climbing, which we don’t actually do. Climbing is very different than sport climbing and bouldering, which my sons and my husband do.

The Entrance

You park in a beautiful parking lot.

The entrance, if you’re only going one time, it’s $20. It’s $20 per person. That includes parking. You can buy a very affordable season pass. It’s like $110 for unlimited use. So obviously, if you’re going to be using it more than six times, definitely recommend going for the season pass.

You park your car at the beginning of the trail and the trail is completely flat. It is one of the most manicured, beautiful national parks that I have visited. Granted, we don’t go to too many US National parks, but I’m sure the majority of them are beautifully taken care of compared to the national parks we go to in Guatemala. But the fact that I could join my family as they go bouldering, it’s a huge deal for me.

woman standing on top of rock with her arms wide open1

Gunks Bouldering Grades

The bouldering grades vary from v zeros, which is the easiest, to v 15, which is crazy hard, and everything in between.

I said there is a big Trad climbing sector. I don’t know much about it, but you can certainly find out more. Just Google gunks Trad climbing, and you’ll find a lot of information.


You do need to bring your own crash pads, or you could call any local gym to rent crash pads, and it’s just one of the best places to visit. It’s only about an hour away from New York Or the Northern parts of New Jersey where we came from. So if you have a date to go and check out bouldering again, all levels.

people doing rock climbing gunks, ny

Best Time To Visit the Gunks

Obviously, during the summer, it’s a great spot but the best time to visit the Gunks is during the fall foliage because that’s when all the leaves are changing. Also, other great time to visit is September, October and beginning of November.

Other Activities at the Gunks

For people who are non-boulders and non-climbers, it’s an amazing park with incredible views. But if you are a boulder or into climbing, this is one of the absolute best places to go climbing. It has this beautiful loop of almost 5 miles all around. Biking is also huge there. We see tons of mountain bikers and hybrid bikers and hikers. If you just want to go hiking, it’s absolutely fantastic.

If you have a chance to simply go to that region and just go hiking and then go and have lunch in one of the cute little restaurants in Newport, you will have a fantastic day and make every day an adventure. You could find something cool to do if you live near that region. To go and try something new, and it really is that cool.

hiking trail in the shawangunks, ny

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Last Updated on May 28, 2023

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