Camp Smith Trail

Overview

Without a doubt, the most rugged trail in Westchester County is the Camp Smith Trail, which rewards a hiker with many panoramic views along its route.

Details
Time:
3.5 hours
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Length:
4.3 miles
Route Type:
Shuttle/Two car or Public Transportation
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Public Transportation, Birding, Cliffs
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Westchester
State:
NY
Publication
First Published:
10/22/2009
Submitter:
Jane Daniels

Photo

View from Camp Smith Trail.

Parking


View Camp Smith in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.301419, -73.951288

Driving Directions

Take Route 6/202 north from the traffic circle located just north of Peekskill. The toll house is 0.7 mile north of the entrance to Camp Smith. Parking is available along Route 6/202 at the toll house and at the hike's midpoint. Access to the trail's northern terminus is via the Appalachian Trail with parking along Route 9D just north of the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Train

Metro-North Hudson Division Peekskill station. Take a 2.5-mile taxi ride to the trailhead at the toll house. After the hike, follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail downhill to Route 9D. Cross the Bear Mountain Bridge to the Bear Mountain Inn where there is stop for the Short Line Bus heading to Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal

Description

The blue-blazed Camp Smith Trail starts behind historic Bear Mountain Bridge toll house, 0.7 mile north of the entrance to Camp Smith on Bear Mountain Road, Route 6/202. At first, the trail parallels the road, climbing steadily. It drops steeply through a rock field and turns left before reaching a massive cliff. Staying within sight and sound of the road, it works its way gradually uphill, crossing small ridges. At 0.6 mile, it begins a serious ascent of Manitou Mountain, soon climbing very steeply on a series of rock steps. It turns left to reach a viewpoint to the south. Turning right, it crosses the top of an open rock face.

The Camp Smith Trail drops slightly and resumes its steady ascent of Manitou Mountain. It passes through a gully as it approaches viewpoints on the brow of the mountain. Two pines beckon hikers to sit and savor the view of Iona Island at 0.9 mile. The trail turns away from the river and then left again toward a rock outcropping with views. It then turns right and away from the views to begin its descent. The rock steps, switchbacks, and sidehill construction make it possible to safely descend the extremely steep talus slope.

At 1.2 miles, the Camp Smith Trail reaches the bottom of the slope, crosses a flat area, turns gradually left, and arrives at a small rock outcropping with a view. From the viewpoint, the trail leads inland and then turns once again towards the river for another view to the west. Leaving the view, the trail continues the gradual descent, crossing intermittent brooks. At 1.9 miles, it reaches a parking area on Route 6/202 at a large bend in the road, 2.2 miles north of the entrance to Camp Smith.

Continuing north to Anthony's Nose, the trail crosses Broccy Creek and heads gradually uphill, paralleling the road. After turning away from the road, it joins and leaves woods roads and crosses streams. Rising out of a ravine, the trail turns right at 2.4 miles, onto a rock outcropping with views of the Hudson River, Iona Island, and Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park. Paralleling the river high over the road, the trail first drops slightly then begins to climb steeply.

At 2.7 miles, another rock outcropping with a view offers an excuse to stop before tackling the remaining unrelenting assault up Anthony's Nose. Along the last 0.4 mile, there are both seasonal and year-round views from open rock slabs. The trail drops down off the summit to join a woods road. Follow it straight ahead to panoramic views of the Hudson River, the Bear Mountain Bridge, and Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park. A right turn takes hikers to the Appalachian Trail, where the Camp Smith Trail ends at 3.7 miles. Follow the white blazes to the left and descend steeply for 0.6 mile to Route 9D.  

Camp Smith (military reservation) is about 50 feet to the right of the trail in most places on the way to the Nose. It is heavily used by the military and may include live gunfire. For your safety, you must stay on the marked trail. Many places to the left of the trail there are steep cliffs that drop down to the Bear Mountain Road. For your safety and the motorists below, please stay on the trail lest you dislodge rocks onto the cars.

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

Camp Smith Hike

My husband Tim and i hiked the Camp Smith Trail today, and it is just so gorgeous! We printed out these directions and brought them along. We took just 3 hours to do the whole thing, from the Bear Mt. Bridge Toll House to where our other car was parked on Rt. 9D, and found the directions easy to follow. The only place we had trouble was when I didn't realize i was at the top! We had climbed up the AT section from Rt. 9D so many times in the past, retracing our steps to return, that i assumed that the lovely area to the RIGHT of the woods road (coming up from Rt. 9D) was the "summit." So today when we dropped off the ACTUAL summit "to join a woods road," as the directions state, i was confused: Where was the "summit" that i knew and had been on so many times, almost directly above the Bear Mt. Bridge?

The directions don't say which way to turn when you "drop down off the summit to join a woods road." The answer is, you should turn RIGHT. It's confusing there, because as soon as you drop off the summit you see a tree with three blue blazes as though it's the end of the Camp Smith Trail, and also 2 blazes indicating a right turn.  If you go straight ahead (the directions say, "A left turn takes you..." but we both felt it was more like staying straight) you get to the false "summit" that i love so well, in about 2 minutes ... and from there, to get back down to your "other" car on Rt. 9D, you retrace your steps to that woods road and then turn LEFT.

Anyway, we figured it out and had a fabulous, albeit very strenuous, hike. Thanks!

 

 

 

Fixed a bit

Thanks for pointing out the confusion. I also added the GPS coordinates of the toll house starting place.

Decent hike with views

I hiked this trail from the bear mountain toll house to the last view from the top of Anthony's nose and then hiked back to the parking lot. Total distance is about 6 miles and the elevation gain is about 2000 feet.  The trail is well marked and easy to follow. It took me about 3 hr 15 mins including a 10 min break on Anthony's nose. The Manitou mountain portion of the hike is very rocky -- having stiff soled hiking shoes will prevent sore feet. Although you can hear cars for most of the hike, I met only one hiker on the trail until I reached the view on Anthony's nose (there were several hikers there). Overall it is a good strenuous hike -- the only part I didn't enjoy was the rock hopping on Manitou mountain.

What happened to the flag?

I noticed that the flag is not on top of Anthony's Nose anymore.

Does anyone have an idea why this is?

The climb up the face from 9D is so much fun.

Anthony's Nose winter video

Last weekend we hiked to Anthony’s Nose and back from 9D north of Bear Mountain Bridge. Here is the video form this trail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPME3gUKdIU

Alternate route to Anthony's Nose

For a less strenuous route, you can start from the public access Camp Smith Military road on South Mountain Pass which you can get to from either 9 or 9D. This is a wide and rocky woods road with a gentle uphill grade. A few hundred yards into it, the AT veers off to the right with an overnight campsite near the junction that is quite popular with thru hikers. From here, you can take the AT or continue straight on the woods road since they reconnect about a mile up the hill. If you take the woods road, there is a junction ahead with a sign to the Nose on a tree where you turn right. [If you keep straight here you will enter the base proper which is frowned upon (there is a no access sign). Webmaster - just don't go there.]  When you come to the junction with the AT, the woods road merges with the AT for awhile until the AT heads to the right down the hill to the 9D parking area north of the Bear Mountain Bridge. At this junction keep straight on the blue blazed Camp Simth Trail which takes you to the summit. I have done both and prefer this way as I like to take my dogs and this is a more dog friendly hike as it does not invlove any grabbing or scrambling. It's 3.8 miles round trip and the walking time is just over an hour. Take a lunch or even a book as the Nose is a pleasant place to kill some time.