The town of Shawangunk was first settled in the late 17th century by European settlers. The name comes from the Lenape Natives who referred to the Shawangunk mountain range as having “smokey air,” which is where the prefix “schawan” comes from.
Shawangunk is home to many parks, as well as natural areas such as the Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail, Verkeerder Kill Park, Galeville Park, and the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge. One of more notable aspects of Shawangunk and the mountain ridge is its geology, especially the high levels of quartz. The beautiful quartz landscape attracts tourists and climbers. It also leads to the growth of rare plant species that otherwise would not grow in the Northeast.