The diverse natural beauty that defines the Town of Shawangunk makes it one of the most unique areas of the Hudson Valley. The Shawangunk Ridge or Mountains, known affectionately as The Gunks by rock-climbing aficionados, provide extraordinarily beautiful views from almost every hamlet in the town. Lakes, rivers, wetlands, waterfalls and other waterways comprise a disproportionately large portion of the town’s total square footage, further contributing to the breathtaking views that come with much of the real estate in the area. The town's name is probably a Dutch transliteration of the indigenous Munsee Lenape word meaning “in the smokey air”, a reference to the misty mountains. Sky Top, along the Shawangunk Ridge, is one of the classic rock-climbing spots in the Northeast. The private property has been off-limits to climbers for more than ten years. This spring, the owners (who also run Mohonk Mountain House) have given resort guests exclusive Sky Top access. If you’re not staying at the resort—or you’re a rock novice—you can hire a guide to show you the ropes at the Mohonk Preserve which is open to the public.
The Shawangunk Hudson Valley Wine Trail is another adventure not to be missed. The trail includes: Adair Vineyards, Applewood Winery, Baldwin Vineyards, Benmarl Winery, Brimstone Hill Winery, Brotherhood Winery, Clearview Vineyards, Demarest Hill Winery, Glorie Farm Winery, Palaia Vineyards, Robibero Winery, Stoutridge Vineyard, Warwick Valley Winery, Whitecliff Vineyard. The fourteen wineries on the Trail all follow the tradition of fine winemaking established by the early French Huguenot settlers who brought their expertise to the Hudson Valley more than 300 years ago. Each winery is different; small to medium in size, all proud of their well crafted red and white wines that range from bone dry to dessert sweet. This fresh, thriving industry has garnered a nationwide reputation for its prize winning wines. Throughout the year there are special events such as Lobster Fests, jazz concerts and strawberry festivals. Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge is one of New York's top 10 areas for the survival of grassland-dependent migratory birds at 566 acres. The significant portion of parks, preserves and other publicly accessible sites has made the town an attractive place to live and “weekend” for outdoor enthusiasts. Also a draw is its location on the border of Orange County and its proximity to New York City.