Normally, you associate slot canyons with the West, but here in Dover Plains NY, about 35 minutes to the east of Poughkeepsie and near the Connecticut border, there is a fissure in an enourmous rock called the Dover Stone Church.
As you approach the Stone Church, you will cross over a small bridge, then bear to the left. There is this meadow with two ponds, which makes for a perfect picnic spot, changing the nature of the event from “just” a hike to see a spectacular rock formation to a pleasant afternoon’s diversion.
Head back towards the bridge and continue up the path, following the stream. Someone, (a group of VERY dedicated volunteers), did a great job of creating the trail. Make sure you take a moment to appreciate all the hard work that was put into it. There are several spots along the way where you can just stop and enjoy the mini waterfalls and patterns that the water makes as it works its way downstream.
Here you can see the entrance to the Stone Church.
Once inside, you’ll be amazed at how it opens up. Be careful, as the rocks can be quite slippery, but do make sure you go up the (very sturdy) ladder. There is a great view of an upper pool and the gentle cascades of water.
This is definitely worth multiple visits at different times of the day and different times of year. Seeing how the light changes the look and feel of this incredible chamber is something that I’m looking forward to. I hope you enjoy this hidden gem as much as I did!
Here are some links that give more information on finding the trail and its history: