split_rock_05240401The humidity is rising… the barometer is getting low… Oh wait, sorry. I got distracted by the heat and thoughts of the Weather Girls….

As the temperatures has been soaring well-past 90 degrees on a daily basis the last few weeks, we here at BGHV wanted to share a little tip with out readers about our favorite place to cool off: Split Rock in New Paltz’s Mohonk Preserve.

The great thing about Mohonk? They offer a variety of ways to cool off with – or without – clothes!

Now, to get to Mohonk, you will need to drive into the woods a bit. So wear good shoes, and be sure to bring your bug spray if the skeeters tend to enjoy you. Once you get there, you will need to pay for a daily use permit for the park – $10 per person – but it is well worth it.

Park at the Coxing Trail Head (Yes, I said Coxing), and follow the trail a short jaunt to split rock. Just cross the bridge, and set your towel on the rocks where you’ll be able to enjoy an afternoon of sun and fun while taking the occasional dip in the stream.

If you would prefer the comfort of an afternoon dip au natural, Mohonk also offers a fully sanctioned spot for Skinny-Dipping! Since this preserve is private – Mohonk makes the rules – and as you’ll note when hiking downstream from the actual split rock past the “Clothing Is Optional” signs, nudity is perfectly acceptable here. But, you will need to hike for a bit before reaching the nude spot.

To get there, cross the bridge at the beginning of the trail head (passing all the clothed individuals at Split Rock), and then follow the stream right down the trail. You’ll hike about 5 – 10 minutes to another large clearing in the woods where you’ll suddenly find lots of nude sunbathers.

The lay of the land at this swath of sun in the woods is pretty simple. In general, straight couples and singles set-up their spots at the top of the clearing, women set-up closer to the middle of the area, and gay men “camp out” at the furthest spot here in the woods.

On any given day, you’ll find lots of great people here in the woods – at both sections of Split Rock – although the gays and lesbians are more often found at the clothing optional section. In fact, many New Yorkers even make the trip up from the city to enjoy Split Rock. On Saturday, July 31st, New York City’s gay male nudist group – Males Au Natural – will be hosting their annual trip to Split Rock. We expect many of the Hudson Valley BARES to be there as well. Want to join the crowd? Just show-up. They’ll be hosting a BYO picnic, and everyone is welcome to join them.

For more information about the Mohonk Preserve, check out their website – We’ll see you up there!