Bald Mountain/Doodletown Loop from Route 9W


This loop hike steeply climbs to a panoramic viewpoint atop Bald Mountain and descends on old woods roads through the historic former settlement of Doodletown.

3.5 hours
5 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
First Published:

Daniel Chazin


Bald Mountain from Pleasant Valley Road. Photo by Daniel Chazin.


View Doodletown from Rt. 9W in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its terminus at the Bear Mountain Circle. Continue south on Route 9W for 1.3 miles to a small hikers’ trailhead parking area on the left side of the road, just past a concrete bridge over a stream.


Cross Route 9W (use caution when crossing this very busy highway) and enter the woods on the south side of the stream, following the blue blazes of the Cornell Mine Trail. The trail heads uphill on a footpath, climbing rather steeply, then levels off. It soon begins to climb again, with cascades visible in the stream below to the right. After bearing left, away from the stream, the trail levels off. For the next half mile, the trail is generally uphill, with a few minor dips and level sections.

After about half an hour of hiking, you’ll notice the huge, massive Bald Mountain directly ahead of you. The summit of this mountain is your destination! A short, level stretch follows, but the trail soon begins a steep, unrelenting climb up the mountain. To ease the grade somewhat, the trail follows switchbacks for the first part of the climb and an old woods road for the latter part, but you’ll be climbing a vertical distance of 500 feet in less than half a mile.

Near the top, the Cornell Mine Trail ends at a junction with the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. The small pit at the junction is a remnant of the Cornell Mine. Turn right onto the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and continue climbing, now somewhat more gently. Finally, you’ll reach the summit of Bald Mountain (elevation 1,080 feet), where the trail bends sharply left. Continue strraight ahead on an unmarked path to reach the summit. You’ve climbed more than 1,000 vertical feet from the start of the Three Hikers on the Summit of Bald Mountain.hike, and this is a good place to take a well-deserved break.

 The summit affords fine views over the entire area, but the best views are from the open rocks straight ahead (just north of the actual summit). The wide panorama includes Iona Island, Anthony’s Nose and the Bear Mountain Bridge to the northeast, Bear Mountain (with the Perkins Memorial Tower on its summit) to the northwest, and West Mountain to the west.Bear Mountain Bridge from Bald Mountain Summit Photo by Daniel Chazin.

When you’re ready to continue, return to the red-dot-on-white trail and bear right, now heading south. (Make sure you don’t retrace your steps, as the trail routes leading to and from the summit closely parallel each other!) The trail makes a short, steep descent, levels off and passes a south-facing viewpoint, then begins a steady descent. After climbing briefly, it descends gradually through dense mountain laurel to reach an old stone fireplace along a stream.

Proceed ahead, following the red-dot-on-white blazes, which cross the stream, bear left from a woods road, and continue over two low hills. At the top of the second hill, there is a view back over Bald Mountain from a rock outcrop. The trail now descends to a grassy woods road, the route of the 1777 Trail (which marks the route followed by British troops under Sir Henry Clinton on October 6, 1777, on their way to attack Forts Clinton and Montgomery). The 1777 Trail is marked with white circular blazes with a red “1777.”

Turn right and follow the 1777 Trail, which proceeds steadily downhill, but on a much gentler grade than the Cornell Mine Trail, which you followed up to the summit. After a while, the woods road followed by the trail becomes rather eroded. To the right, through the trees, you can see Bald Mountain, which you just climbed!

After about half a mile, the trail levels off and crosses a stream. To the right, stone foundations and a trail shelter may be seen. These are the remnants of a camp once operated by Riverside Church of New York City. Continue ahead on the woods road, now proceeding through the former settlement of Doodletown, which thrived for two centuries until it was acquired by the park about 1960. Soon, you’ll notice several white markers that show the locations of former homes. From here on, the road is paved, although much of the paving has disintegrated, as the road has been closed to traffic for over 50 years.

Continue following the 1777 Trail along the road, known as Pleasant Valley Road, passing the remnants of many homes and other features of interest, which are commemorated by markers. For a detailed history of each of these sites, you may wish to consult “Doodletown: Hiking Through History in a Vanished Hamlet on the Hudson,” by Elizabeth “Historical Marker at the Site of the Stalter Home in Doodletown. Photo by Daniel Chazin.Perk” Stalter, a former resident of the village (this book is available from the Park bookstore). After about a mile, the 1777 Trail divides into the 1777W Trail, which leaves to the left, and the 1777E Trail, which continues ahead on the road. Proceed ahead, now following the 1777E blazes.

Soon you’ll reach a T-intersection, where Pleasant Valley Road ends. Turn right, now following Doodletown Road. Bear left at the next intersection and go around the Doodletown Reservoir (built in 1957). Continue ahead at the following intersection, where Lemmon Road leaves to the left. A short distance beyond, after passing the stone walls of a former garage on the left, you’ll notice a marker to the right. Here, a woods road (part of the Doodletown Bridle Path) leads down to a waterfall in the stream. Just ahead, the 1777E Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue along the road (now unmarked), which begins a steady descent.

Soon, the blue-blazed Cornell Mine Trail joins from the left. Continue to follow the road downhill as it makes a sharp right turn and narrows to a footpath. After descending wooden steps, the trail ends at Route 9W, just north of the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

1777 Trail Changes Made?

Just got back from trying this trial today and came out 3.4 miles to the south of where I started on the blue blazes on Route 9W?  Did they do away with the 1777E and 1777W trails?  I never found the T intersection or the old settlement.  And the 1777 blazes (badges on trees and painted blazes) seemd very fresh. Hmmmm....I'm not an expert hiker but not a noivce that I can't find my way around.  Just a warning to everyone else!

to Bald Mt summit from 9W by Iona Island

Just hiked it again on Friday 11/13/15 day after rain fall. The stream and small waterfalls were active and beautiful. Thick layer of leaves on a good part of the trail. I'm glad we decided to use the poles. It took us 4 hours to do loop. We had to slow it down alot due to leaves - slipping and losing balance several times because of leaves - wet green slippery moss on rocks. It was quite dangerous at times, maybe that why we didn't run into anyone. The payoff was looking off bald moutain to the Bear mt bridge area.  Don't try it without poles this time of year and anticipate a few falls and risk of injury is at least medium.

to Bald Mt summit from 9W by Iona Island

After hiking for about 25 minutes (blue haze) you will come across an unmarked trail which if you turn right will take you towards Doodletown.  After hiking a total of almost 90 minutes following the blue blaze.  Near the top, the Cornell Mine Trail ends at a junction with the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. If you want to go to the top of the summit at Bald Mt. make a right on the red dot and white blaze.and in about 10 minutes you will be at Summit of Bald mt. There were about about 4 groups or couples on the top with tents- view is as good as it gets. ***just be kind to little dogs it is more then they can handle- they will need help.

Wach out for Ticks

Came home from this hike and found 2 Ticks on me. Make sure to spray yourself before heading out. Made this a little longer and headed to the Timp, went down the T/T and followed the Timp Pass down to Pleasant Valley Road. Great hike despite the Ticks :)

Great View

The strenuous climb (thankfully with some switchbacks) up Bald Mountain is worth it for the view from the summit. The Cornell Mine trail is very well blazed now (a few years back it wasn't well blazed and we, as well as some other hikers, lost the trail on the way up to the summit). We had no problem with finding the right way to continue along the R-D trail after enjoying the summit (thanks for the warning about that spot). There were lots of people out on the trails today.   Some photos:

good hike - but a warning

I sat down for a few minutes at the intersection of Cornell Mine Trail and R-D -- I guess I got disoriented and took a left on R-D instead of a right. This takes you to viewpoints on dunderberg mountain which I mistook to be the summit of Bald mountain. The trail then goes for another mile down hill to the beginning point of a white blazed trail which was not on the trail map. By the time I realized my error, I was 2 miles down the wrong side of R-D trail. Since there was only an hour of sunlight left I retraced my steps back to the parking lot which meant climbing up dunderberg and down bald mountain in fading light. Just a word of warning to pay attention at the intersection of R-D & CMT.

Gorgeous Hike

My husband and i did the Bald Mountain Hike today in 3 hours 40 minutes, despite spending 40 minutes at the viewpoint at the summit. It was a clear, perfect spring day and worth every drop of sweat we shed on that incredible uphill! We also enjoyed reading all the signs marking the homes and cemeteries in the lost village of Doodletown, and we also took the "detour" near the end, down to the waterfall and back. A beautiful and wildly varied hike!

Hike 2 DEC 12

Did this hike yesterday.Great Hike even through the fog!  All trails Clear, Great job to all Maintainers!   

Bald Mountain/Doodletown

Perfectly crisp fall day for a strenuous climb up Bald Mountain followed by a leisurely amble through the ghosts of Doodletown.  Not only is the view from the Bald Mountain summit breathtaking; just as you start the descent on the R/:D trail, you can see Manhattan on a clear day such as today.  And that cemetery in Doodletown is downright spooky!  Great hike. [photo removed because no access to it]

Bald Mountain/Doodletown

I did this today and thoroughly enjoyed most of it, including the climb. Glad that the description included a warning abut going the wrong way on RD trail after enjoying the view because I did! Caught my mistake very quickly probably because the warning made me extra alert. The road is not my favorite terrain, but enjoyed that also and had a good lunch at the waterfall. Will try the DD/RD loop next!