The Lenape Steps
A Historic Ascent,
Join the Jolly Rovers as we embark on our latest trail building adventure. 160 years ago, a pathway made of stone was created in a narrow chasm through a cliff. At the top of this pathway, was one of the most treasured views in the valley. A century later, the pathway fell into disrepair and has since faded from the public eye, until now.
"By a flight of stone steps...the visitor was led from the house to the summit of the overhanging rock, where spread before him was a scene of beauty never to be forgotten." - Ulster County Gazetteer, 1871
(Referring to the Lenape Steps)
History: Faded but Not Forgotten
In 1858 Thomas Botsford erected the Sam's Point Mountain House to provide access to one of the Hudson Valley's most visited and iconic destinations. Situated just beneath the cliffs of Sam's Point, he would install a flight of stone steps inside a stone chasm which would connect the hotel to the incredible view above. In 1862 the hotel would burn down in a tragic fire; nevertheless, the steps and view would remain, attracting visitors for the next century.
By the 1960s however, the staircase was in significant disrepair, as a century of freezing and thawing had undermined the structure. At this time the staircase had come to be known as the "Indian Steps", after the Lenape Nation of Native Americans which inhabited the territory until the 18th century. Increasingly unsafe and unattractive to park patrons, the route has remained an unofficial route in what is now the Minnewaska State Park Preserve of NY. Overgrown but not forgotten, The Jolly Rovers, in partnership with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, are ready to put this historic ascent back on the map.
Ambitious restorations like this are often funded jointly by the teamwork of state funding and charitable giving through nonprofit organizations like our own. Please join us, alongside the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, to become a sponsor and help make this dream project a reality. Scroll to the bottom of this page to find out how!
Project: Rediscovery Through Restoration
The Lenape Steps are ready to rejoin the pantheon of iconic attractions in the Hudson Valley. Our teams of volunteers, alongside our staff, will be crafting and installing each stone by hand inside the chasm to restore this historic ascent to ensure it will last for many centuries to come.
Each stone is being sustainably harvested within the park, transported to the top of the cliff, and deployed into the narrow chasm using a custom built timber ramp rigging system and a 'sky hook'. With these large slabs of stone (Shawangunk conglomerate), the Lenape Steps will blend the primitive with the polished. Stone work will only display naturally weathered surfaces with placement emphasizing natural shape by integrating them into the rugged features around them. The final product will provide an incredibly dramatic experience that will ultimately reveal the breathtaking view atop Sam's Point.
Construction began in July 2019 and will continue through the spring of 2021. Watch the video below to learn more about this restoration and see our volunteers get into gear!