Located at the site of the former Enderly family sawmill, down along the almost painfully picturesque Clove Road, Split Rock has long been one of the Shawangunks’ most popular and even iconic swimming holes – if indeed it can be called a hole. It’s really more of a split. In a rock. It is, you see, fiercely accurate in its name, if unpoetic. Maybe it could have been called “Enderly’s Schism” or something. Maybe it wouldn’t be so popular if it were. For generations and generations of Paltzonians, this is the place you go when you need a dose of Gunks and a cool dip, but you don’t have long.
Split Rock, of course, is far more than a swimming destination. It is also a trailhead that provides access to several popular trails through hemlock groves and the stream. And if you hike downstream about 15 minutes or so, it is traditionally tolerated if you take all your clothes off.
As a result of Split Rock’s timesaving accessibility and a spacious, naturally tiered rock “beach,” the nearby Coxing parking lot – the smallest lot on the Mohonk Preserve – fills quickly on the weekends and whenever the weather is fine. On summer and fall weekends, arrive early and consider carpooling to ensure a parking space.
To find this not-so-secret and literal slice (laceration?) of heaven, go seven miles west (through New Paltz) on Route 299 to the end; make a right on Route 44/55. The Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center will be a half-mile on your right. Go 1.5 miles past the Visitor Center, turn right onto Clove Road and then bear right at the fork. After one mile, turn left into the parking area. For more info, visit www.mohonkpreserve.org.