Fall is the perfect time to go hiking! I highly recommend exploring Dover Stone Church in Dover Plains, NY for a day of outdoor family fun. Back in the spring, my daughter and I enjoyed a nice visit here.
Let me be clear right at the start, Dover Stone Church is not actually a church. It’s actually a cavern, formed over the years, in a silhouette reminiscent of a cathedral’s stained glass window. The property was originally private but was purchased by the Town of Dover in 2002, when it became available for sale. Through grants and donations, the property has been renovated and expanded. In the summer of 2015, three miles of nature trails were opened for visitors to enjoy.
But let’s back up. Before you get to the cavern, you must park across the street in the school parking lot (only when school is not in session). After crossing the street, a sign helps point you in the right direction.
A giant sign welcomes you the Dover Stone Church!
And then you encounter this amazing view! This was taken back when we visited in May. I’m sure the view with the fall foliage is just as spectacular!
You pass another welcome sign and a display that gives a short history of the Dover Stone Church.
It’s a short 0.25 mile hike from the pedestrian path to the trails. On the way you cross a footbridge where underneath, the Stone Church Brook flows.
As you approach the Stone Church will pass a sign directing you to the hiking trails towards the left. Stay to the right to visit the Stone Church.
The path toward the Stone Church is pretty rocky. As you get closer to the Church, the rocks are also wet and slippery.
There are some pretty neat views of the brook.
But, of course, the Stone Church is the main reason for this visit!
The cavern was briefly closed in July of 2019 due to rockfalls in the cave. It has since reopened, but you are warned to use caution and enter at your own risk. If attempting to enter the cave, be cautious and wear appropriate footwear. Some minor rock hopping is needed to get inside. But I highly recommend going inside if you can. How often can you see a waterfall inside of a cave?!!
The Stone Church Cave Trail is only 0.3 miles round trip. After we got our fill of the cave, my daughter and I went off to hike. The red trail and yellow trails are each 1 mile round trip and the blue trail is 1.5 miles round trip. The trails are well marked with colored trail markers. We hiked the red trail which was an easy hike with no notable features.
I’d love to visit the Dover Stone Church again with the whole family, since only my daughter and I made this trip. The four of us can try out the other trails.
Dover Stone Church
Dover Plains, NY 12522
Parking: Park across the street in the Dover Elementary School parking lot (when school is not in session) and at Frescho 22 Plaza, 3156 NY-22 (when school is in session)
Hours: Open 7 AM to 7 PM, weather permitting
*No swimming is allowed
*There is a carry in, carry out policy
*Pets must be leashed
*Altogether, our visit took a little over an hour including photos at the Stone Church and a one mile hike on the red trail.
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