High View Tunnel

June 26, 2016 – Mamakating, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 2 miles

Route type: out and back

There is an updated version of this hike HERE.

High View Tunnel is an approximately one mile long railroad tunnel that bores through Shawangunk mountain from Bloomingburg to Mamakating. The New York, Ontario and Western Railway, more commonly known as the O&W or NYO&W, was a regional railroad with origins in 1868, lasting until March 29, 1957 when it was ordered liquidated by a US bankruptcy judge. The O&W holds the distinction of being the first notable U.S. railroad to be abandoned in its entirety. This was the main line of the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad, which was the major travel route to the Catskills in the heyday of the Sullivan County resorts.


High View Tunnel

While doing some research on abandoned train tunnels, I came upon this one and it seemed an interesting place to visit. The information that I gathered stated that this tunnel was haunted and that people have drowned due to the tunnel being flooded up to nine feet in places. One of the key points about my desire to visit High View Tunnel was that it was accessible without having to trespass. So, after having located it on Google Maps, I decided to combine this trip with two other places I wanted to visit in the area.

Across Mamakating Road is an old abandoned bridge abutment where an unmarked trail was off to the left.


bridge abutment

After climbing up the hill I encountered the railway grade which I began to follow.


railway grade

After a short walk along the grade I saw an odd looking small structure through the vegetation on the left. I thought initially that it might have been a guard shack, but have since found out that it is a cast concrete telephone booth.


cast concrete telephone booth

I continued ahead through a rock cut.


rock cut

The trail began to get muddy which led me to believe that I was getting close.


muddy trail

Then on the right I came upon the ruins of a small stone building. This building was used for the “day storage” of explosives.


stone magazine

It was not too far past the stone building that the tunnel came into view.


High View Tunnel

The trail leading up to the tunnel was very muddy and I had to stay to the left so I wouldn’t sink in the mud and risk losing a boot. It had an eerie atmosphere and was relatively quiet except for the road noise from New York State Route 17 which the tunnel runs under.

Here are some images that I captured of the High View Tunnel. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.

I did not try to explore inside the tunnel as it was filled with water and some bats. I also left my flashlight in the car so any desire to venture inside was quickly diminished. It is not advisable to enter this tunnel because it has not been maintained since the 1950’s, it is flooded and there is the danger of falling debris along with other hazards when exploring abandoned places.

After hanging out and taking some photographs I retraced my steps back to the car. I was now off to find a lead mine with a waterfall in front of it that was a short distance away.

Until next time, happy trails……


High View Tunnel

20 thoughts on “High View Tunnel

  1. I walked through the tunnel many times as a young boy, no big deal, yes it was dark and damp with big water ponds but it was safe ko.


  2. You are right Jim, it was a great place to cool off in the summer and explore before the private citizen purchased the south portal end. That and the lead mine.


  3. You missed so much on that walk. All the battery boxes are there and the switch plates. I have photos of them. The children and I walk that trail every summer. I have since I was my daughters’ age.


  4. Jim, Love all of the places you have posted. One thing I want to mention was on the Grossinger site. Growing up, my family and I used to visit many of the Catskill resorts. Back in 1972, I had the first Bar Mitzvah at Grossinger’s. My name was on the sign when you first pulled in. This started a trend of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs there. We spent 4 days there and then had to return to a camp just up the road in Parksville, which is still there. I believe it was called Camp Gan Israel. My parents were big business people. At my weekend there in July 1972 there was the Miss USA pageant. I had my picture taken with Miss USA. Also for my weekend there was Jim Jensen and Hank Aaron. Hank Aaron gave me his signed baseball mit and a baseball also signed by him. I had them both mounted in a frame. Would like to know where you will be next. Maybe take a hike with you to explore. I am a hiker from way back when also.. Keep me posted..


  5. My parents had a house next to the railroad station in High View. My dad showed my the sights many years ago, he was a kid when the station was running. It brings back many memories.


    • My uncle owned the hotel in high view…sha-wan-ga lodge. Before being sent off to camp, we spent our summers there. Hiked the trails, including the railroad tunnels, the lead mines, and explored the various mineral deposits. One day we decided to hike down from the hotel to the airport (we were 10 or 11). It was a different time. My brother and cousins all have fond memories of the pure joy of childhood and freedom today’s kids will never have.


      • I walked thru the High View Tunnel several times in the ’70s when you could still get in it.We’d walk thru it,down the railbed,across old 17 and then all the way to Summitville+ back.Wish I could still get in it.


  6. Thanks for the great pictures of the Highview Tunnel. I hiked thru the whole tunnel back in the ’70s. Also hiked there a few years ago but as you said,you can’t hike thru it anymore.I also explored the lead mines back in the 70s. I Tried to find them again a couple years ago and walked the railway all the way to Summitville w/o finding them.Where are the mines relative to the HighView Station that’s there?


  7. I spent sumners as a kid in 67, 68 in highview, and loved exploring the inside of the tunnel. I also explored the ols station. No one thought of the dangers back then.


      • I read that too or an account of it. Now it’s written-up as an ‘urban legend’ – some guy from the south end supposedly walked through the tunnel into Wurtsboro to party and drowned in the tunnel on his walk back. No sign or talk of a body and no further info or retraction from the Record.


  8. I am related to the Engineer who designed Shawangunk Tunnel for the New York Oswego & Midland. One of the first men through was Sam Gumaer of the Gumaer House (Danny’s)


  9. Going here Sunday 9 2 7 2020. Will take pics and let you know how it looks I can’t wait. My girlfriend and I climbed to the lead mine about a month back. It was so cool. Safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Grandfather owned a property along the railroad just past the station down a gravel road past the old bungalow colony past the old barn, old car junkyard, last house at the end of the road. We slept on the top floor where we were almost even with the tracks and could watch the trains go by. I was in that station when I was very young. We smashed pennies on the rr tracks. Walked that tunnel after it was closed once or twice. The only damage I remember was a big pile of shale in the middle we had to walk around. There was a fresh cold stream of water running along the side of the tracks from end to end. We were warned it was to dangerous to be doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My friend and I walked through and back in 1984. We had on hip boots and we needed them. There were stories we’d heard of people driving through it. The tunnel was brick lined a ways in, and there were alcoves to the side.

    Liked by 1 person

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