Black Rock Mountain Circuit Via Footpaths and Woods Roads


This loop hike follows footpaths to the summit of Black Rock, with panoramic views, and returns on attractive woods roads.

3 hours
Moderate to Strenuous
4.5 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
Views, Waterfall
Buy Trail Map:

Buy Book:
First Published:
Daniel Chazin


Accross the Hudson to Mt. Beacon from Black Rock summit. Photo by Daniel Chazin.


View Black Rock Forest in a larger map

Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.41857, -74.01014
Driving Directions

Address: 129 Continental Road, Cornwall, NY

From the south: Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its northern terminus at the Bear Mountain Circle and continue north on US 9W for 8.8 miles. About half a mile after passing a parking area marked with a blue sign, turn right onto Mountain Road. Immediately, turn right again and proceed through a very narrow underpass beneath US 9W (large vehicles may not fit). Continue ahead for 0.2 mile to a parking area for Black Rock Forest on the right.


From the kiosk just beyond the parking area, proceed ahead on the red-blazed Duggan Trail. In about half a mile, the red trail ends at a junction with the blue-blazed Reservoir Trail. Continue ahead on the blue trail, which crosses Ben's Bridge (a wooden footbridge) and climbs along a picturesque stream, with cascades and waterfalls, following an old woods road.Cascade along The Reservoir Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.

In about a third of a mile, you'll notice a pipeline crossing the stream on stone abutments. Turn right here (there is a "1" painted in yellow on a rock) and follow a rocky footpath uphill. This trail - the route of a buried pipeline - is not blazed (except with occasional blue flagging tape), but it is obvious and easy to follow. As the trail levels off and curves to the left, a broad viewpoint opens up on the right. Just ahead is Black Rock (which you will soon climb), and the Shawangunk Mountains are visible on the horizon to the northwest.

The "pipeline" trail ends at a junction with the joint Stillman (yellow) and Highlands (teal diamond) Trails at the base of the Aleck Meadow Reservoir dam. Turn right onto the Stillman/Highlands Trail, which follows a woods road below the dam and, at the end of the reservoir, enters the woods on a footpath. Bear left at a junction with the white-blazed Black Rock Hollow Trail, then (in 300 feet) turn sharply right and climb to the summit of Black Rock Mountain (elevation 1,410 feet).

Black Rock Mountain Summit View. Photo by Daniel Chazin.The summit affords a panoramic view, with Schunemunk Mountain and the Metro-North Railroad's Moodna Viaduct to the west, the Hudson River (crossed by the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge) to the northeast, and the Shawangunk Mountains on the northwest horizon. You'll want to take a break to rest from the climb and savor the view.

When you're ready to continue, turn left and descend steeply, continuing to follow the yellow and teal diamond blazes (do not follow the faded blue-and-yellow "footprint" blazes that lead across the summit). The grade soon moderates and, in about half a mile, you'll reach a wide gravel road.

Turn right and follow this road, known as Hulse Road, downhill. The road briefly climbs a little but then resumes a steady descent, rather steeply in places. Continue along this pleasant road for over a mile until it ends at a junction with the white-blazed Black Rock Hollow Trail. Route 9W is ahead, just across Black Rock Brook, so (unfortunately) you will hear the noise of traffic.

Turn right and follow the white-blazed trail along another gravel road, with Black Rock Brook to the left. You'll pass an old stone dam on the brook and some attractive cascades. Gradually, the road moves away from the brook and the trail, and the noise level decreases.

In half a mile, you'll reach a water filtration plant. Here, the Black Rock Hollow Trail turns right and starts to climb, but you should bear left, skirting the filtration plant, and continue on the blue-blazed Reservoir Trail.

A short distance ahead, you'll come to a junction where the Reservoir Trail turns right to cross Ben's Bridge. Turn sharply left here onto the red-blazed Duggan Trail and follow it back to the parking area where the hike began.

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

Good hiking. DIrections need a correction.

As dbsouthren stated earlier, the Right turn at the Pipeline is indeed marked with a Yellow (1) and not Blue (1) as written in the directions.

You might want to change this to avoid any confusion in the future.

As far as the hike itself, it's a very well marked trail and it was easy to follow the directions once I realized I had not missed a Blue pipeline.

Great views at the top of Black Rock and the Reservoir was quite nice. 

Hunting season

Be aware that Black Mtn. is closed during hunting season.

Closure of Black Rock Forest during hunting season

I presume that you are referring to Black Rock Mountain (not to Black Mountain, which is in Harriman).  The entire Black Rock Forest is closed to hikers during hunting season, which begins on Saturday, November 16th.

Black Rock hike

We followed the directions to the parking area, coming from Route 9 southbound, and it worked fine.

We enjoyed this hike - not just Black Rock, but also the reflections of the sky and the fall foliage in the reservoir.

Some photos:

Underpass beneath 9W

You should be fine with a small SUV.  I drove through with a RAV4 and there was ample space.

Great Hike, Great Views, Slight Confusion

We hiked this yesterday and it is well worth it. The only slight confusion we had, is that in the second paragraph when you reach the pipeline and stone abutments, the right turn is marked by a "1" but it is not BLUE, it is YELLOW, as are all the numbers up the trail.  In addition, at least to the eye, the trail seems to move away from the pipeline, not follow it.  However, the entire hike, including many different sites along the way, were excellent. 

Utterly Fantastic

This hike through the best of Black Rock Forest offers one of my favorite views on the Hudson river. The humid trek was very worth it when we got to the view. A sight of great beauty. The sight was on par with Storm King Mountain. ***Reminder, take a small car because they mean it hen it is a small underpass.  

How small is this underpass?

How small is this underpass? I have an SUV But i dont want to go and not be able to fit and not get to hike lol i have a mitsubishi montero. Thanks

There is alternative route for large SUVs

If you have an SUV that won't fit through the underpass, there is an alternatve route.  Just continue north on Route 9W to Angola Road.  Get off at that exit, turn left and go over the overpass, crossing Route 9W, then turn left and proceed south on Route 9W. Continue for 1.5 miles and take the Reservoir Road exit.  Turn right at the T-intersection, and you'll soon reach the parking area.