Hike Dover's Stone Church

New York Dover Stone Church Trailhead

Added by Shaun O'Neill

5+ miles of year round hiking trailsTo the church and back is 1.2 milesElevation Gain: 180 feetKid and dog friendly creek side trailA gorgeous explorable cave with a waterfall in itIncredible ice formations in winter

Dover Stone Church has been a beautiful and popular destination in the Hudson Valley for some time, and recently the park purchased a new parcel of land and added three trails through the nearby woods. But the gem of the park is, and always will be, the impressive cave with the creek and waterfall flowing through it.

There is no designated parking lot for the park, and you definitely cannot park at the trailhead, but there are any number of options for public parking. Personally I park at the elementary school just a little bit south and across the street from the trail. The beginning of the trail is fairly easy to miss, though it does have one of the blue and gold landmark signs at the main road. Follow the dirt road between the houses and you'll come to a large sign that designates the beginning of the trail.

Head down the first set of stairs and cross the open field between two rows of trees, so that you can go back up another set of stairs. If you're doing this in winter and there's plenty of fresh snow, snow shoes can be a huge help through this area. After the stairs you'll head along the creek, pass an informational board about the history of the Dover Stone Church, and cross the stream on a well built foot bridge. This is where your time in the park becomes a choose your own adventure.

Just past the bridge is where the three new trails break off of the original path that ends at the cave, marked as Red, Yellow, and Blue. Blue is a 1.5 mile round trip up back, the most challenging of the three trails. Not difficult by any means, but a slight and steady uphill that ends with an open rock which is home to gnarly dwarf pines and farmland views. Yellow is a 1 mile loop that actually shares some length of trail with Blue. You can take Blue to the end, begin your way back, and then loop around Yellow for some extra mileage which is my personal favorite. Yellow winds through the woods and teases you with light through the trees that might open up to views but at this time none do. Red is a very level 1 mile loop that has one small look out with a view of... McDonald's. Keep in mind that these trails are new (as of July 2015) and while they are extremely well marked they're still not very worn so just keep an eye on the markers and you'll be good to go!

As nice an addition as the new trails are, the real payoff is the Stone Church itself. The stone path following the creek is beautiful enough on its own, but strolling straight into the mouth of the cave and rock hopping your way to the waterfall in the back truly a glorious experience. Watch your footing in winter obviously because ice can build up but the moving water usually keeps it to a minimum. Unfortunately in summer there's not usually enough water to swim, but the temperature difference in the cave is a refreshing change of pace. If you go during peak times be prepared to share the cave with plenty of others but it's worth waiting your turn. This short hike with an amazing payoff is a great place to bring kids and new hikers to get them truly excited about the beautiful places they can find with a little bit of effort.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera (Tripod suggested for those sweet long exposure water shots)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Waterfall

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

about 1 year ago

My Kind Of Church

First visit here and though a short walk it did not disappoint! Very cool spot. A bit crowded for my taste but people quickly visited and left so if you sit a but you can get a moment.

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

We did the trail yesterday, and it's a great easy hike for an awesome payout. The actual cavern and waterfall are really cool to see. Not a difficult hike by an means, but definitely worth the effort to get there. Glad I found your write up here!

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

I came here yesterday with some friends and it was really cool. The Trail Head was a little hard to find but it was just north of the Elementary school across the street with the traffic light. (my GPS wasn't very accurate). Defiantly would go again and suggest exploring around. My friends and I hiked around to the back of the cave as well and there are some neat private waterfalls back there too. NOTE: the cave with the waterfall is not on any of the marked trails, just follow the path next to the stream! (We were a little confused at first)

over 1 year ago

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to OK Slip Falls

New York / OK Slip Falls Parking

Starting at the parking area you will walk 0.2 miles west on Route 28 to the north side of the road to locate the marked trailhead.

Rebecca Nichols
3 Saves

Hike the North Point Loop

New York / Butter Hill Trailhead

There is three different trailheads to access the North Point Loop.  I chose the trailhead that would give me the longest hike.  That would be the Butter Hill parking area on Route 9W north.

John Maurizi
2 Saves

Hike the Cornish/Brook/Notch/Washburn/Undercliff Loop

New York / Washburn Trailhead

This loop is a great option to avoid crowds on the west side of the Washburn trail.  Start at the same trailhead for the Washburn Trail.

John Maurizi
2 Saves