There's a place in New York where you can travel down under into a hidden cave and find ice, even in the summer.

During the Dog Days of Summer, you can find a cool spot in the backcountry where it's always a comfortable 55 degrees. But you'll have to hike to find it.

Sam's Point

Inside the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, you'll find Sam's Point, located on the highest section of the Shawangunk Mountains. Among the 5,000 acres is a globally rare community of high-altitude pitch pine barrens.

The pitch pine barrens, and the matrix of chestnut oak forest that surrounds them, provide habitat for abundant flora and fauna, both rare and common.

Shingle Gully Ice Caves

Inside the forest is Shingle Gully, a place where ice persists in deep caves all year long. It's at the end of an all-day strenuous, six-mile hike that ends with a 1,500-foot drop. And you can only get through the rugged, protected landscape on guided tours led by Park staff and volunteers.

It includes off-trail bushwhacking and steep rock scrambles and is only appropriate for experienced hikers.

Ice Cave Tours

Two ice cave tours are scheduled for August 2022. You can spend the day hiking to the Shingle Gully ice caves on Monday, August 15. You must preregister by August 10. Or you can join the New York State Park Preserve Staff every half hour, starting at 10:00 AM for a guided tour of the Sam's Point Ice Caves on Saturday, August 20.

This nearly four-mile hike includes one steep hill on a carriage road, but the reward of walking through the cool, dark, talus cave is worth the effort. While in the cave, educators will explain the geology of this unique natural area and why it's so special. The footpath section of this outing does include two primitive ladders and a steep stone staircase, which some may find challenging.

For more information or to register for the Ice Cave Tours, call the Sam's Point Visitor Center at (845) 647-7989. Or book online at Parks.NY.Gov.

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