Undercliff/Brook/Cornish Trail Loop from Cold Spring Station


This loop hike climbs to several outstanding viewpoints over the Hudson River, Cold Spring and Storm King Mountain.

4.5 hours
6 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
Views, Public Transportation, Historic feature
Buy Trail Map:

Buy Book:
First Published:

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

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its northern terminus at the Bear Mountain Bridge. Cross the bridge and proceed north on N.Y. Route 9D for about 8.5 miles to a junction with N.Y. Route 301 in Cold Spring. Turn left onto Main Street and follow it downhill towards the Hudson River. Near the bottom of the hill, turn left onto Lunn Terrace and follow it over the railroad tracks. Turn left onto Market Street and park in the parking lot for the Cold Spring railroad station (parking is free on weekends and holidays).


Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Cold Spring station.


Cross the tracks on the pedestrian footbridge. From the south end of the northbound platform, descend a ramp and follow a wide path that heads south and then east, entering the West Point Foundry Preserve. This path follows the route of a rail spur that once served the foundry. The West Point Foundry, which operated here in the 1800s, produced munitions used in the Civil War. To the right is Foundry Cove, named after the foundry.

View of Foundry Cove from the trail through the West Point Foundry Preserve. Photo by Daniel Chazin.After passing a parking area on the left and a kiosk on the right, bear left, leaving the wide path, and continue on a yellow-blazed trail that leads through the ruins of the foundry. You’ll pass a partially restored water wheel, along with interpretive signs that give the history of the foundry. After passing Battery Pond, the trail (now blazed blue) climbs on a switchback to Chestnut Street.

Cross Chestnut Street and continue ahead on Paulding Avenue. Make the first right onto Pine Street, a quiet residential street, and continue for three blocks to Pearl Street. Turn left onto Pearl Street, cross Main Street, and continue to Secor Street, where Pearl Street ends. Proceed ahead through an unpaved parking area to a kiosk, where the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail begins.

Follow the yellow blazes of the Undercliff Trail, which bears left, then turns right to cross a small stream on rocks. The trail makes several more turns and soon crosses a wide stream on rocks (this crossing may be a little difficult when the water is high, but at other times, the stream may be dry). A short distance beyond the stream crossing, the green-blazed Nelsonville Trail joins from the right. The two trails run jointly for about 750 feet. Be careful to follow the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail as it turns left and leaves the route of the Nelsonville Trail.

The Undercliff Trail soon begins to climb Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus). In the next mile, the trail will gain about 750 feet in elevation. After crossing into Hudson Highlands State Park, where the diamond “bull logo” blazes are supplanted by round DEC blazes, the grade steepens.

South-facing view over the Hudson River from the third viewpoint on the Undercliff Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.About a mile from its start, the trail reaches a viewpoint to the south and east over the hills of Fahnestock State Park, with the Hudson River visible to the right. This is a good spot to take a break. The trail now descends briefly, then turns right onto a woods road and resumes its climb. It continues along the side of the hill, crossing several intermittent streams. Soon, the trail bears right, climbs past a seasonal cascade, and finally reaches an panoramic viewpoint over the Hudson River. The Village of Cold Spring is visible below to the left, with Constitution Island and the West Point Military Academy beyond. Crows Nest Mountain may be seen directly across the river. 

Continue ahead on the Undercliff Trail, which bears right and climbs to a junction with the white-blazed Washburn Trail. Bear left to stay on the Undercliff Trail, which continues to head west along the southern shoulder of Bull Hill. In a short distance, you’ll reach another south-facing viewpoint, with an even broader view. From here, you can see the Constitution Marsh to the left of Constitution Island.

Upon reaching the far end of the southern shoulder of Bull Hill, the trail emerges on a rock outcrop with a sweeping view to the north. Breakneck Ridge is the ragged ridge to the north, and Storm King – with its cut for the highway – is directly across the river. Down below to the right, you can see the highway tunnel and the twin railroad tunnels under the western end of Breakneck Ridge.

The Undercliff Trail now turns sharply right and begins to head in a northeast direction. After crossing an intermittent stream, the trail turns left, descends on switchbacks, and continues to descend on a rocky footpath. Upon reaching the stone foundations of a road that was never completed, the trail bears right and proceeds along the road. At first, the road is surfaced with rough rocks, but in a short distance, the surface changes to dirt and gravel. After crossing a stream on a one-log bridge, the trail bends to the left and resumes its steady descent, soon beginning to parallel a stream on the right.

View of Breakneck Ridge from the north-facing viewpoint on the Undercliff Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.About four miles from the start of the hike, the Undercliff Trail turns right, crosses the stream, and reaches a wide woods road – the route of the red-blazed Brook Trail. The Undercliff Trail immediately turns right again and crosses a wider stream on a wooden bridge, but you should continue ahead on the red-blazed trail along the woods road. After passing a small abandoned building to the right, you’ll reach a fork. Bear left here onto the blue-blazed Cornish Trail, which follows an old road through the former estate of Edward G. Cornish, who served as Chairman of the Board of the National Lead Company.

The road crosses the cleared right-of-way for the Catskill Aqueduct and bears left. After passing a large cement-and-rock cistern on the right, the road curves around two switchbacks and continues with a concrete pavement. Soon, the stone ruins of the Cornish mansion are visible below on the right. A side road leads down to the ruins, which make an interesting side trip.

The paved road descends steadily to Route 9D, where it ends at a gate. Just before the gate, the Cornish Trail turns left and continues on a footpath parallel to Route 9D for a quarter mile. When the Cornish Trail ends at a parking area, proceed ahead for a short distance on Route 9D, then cross the highway and follow a trail parallel to the road. The trail ends at Fair Street, which branches off to the right. Bear right onto Fair Street and follow it to its end at Main Street, then turn right on Main Street, continue down to the railroad tracks, turn left and return to the station parking lot where the hike began.w it down to the railroad, turn left and return to the station parking lot where the hike began.

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

First time hiker - this was great!

I had left NYC for a couple days to relieve myself from the stress of daily life in the city.  Many people recommended Cold Spring.  I wanted to hike, or spend time in the forests, near water, and this seemed ideal.   I didn't plan anything ahead of time and was staying at a hotel in Highland Falls, about a 20 min drive from Cold Spring.  On the 2nd day, I decided it was time to hike.  I spent about 30 minutes searching online and all I could find were hikes in Breakneck Mountain.  It seemed beyond my capabilities.     I found this and decided it sounded perfect.  A 4 hour hike with the Cornish estate towards the end as a payoff was the adventure that fit my vision for the day. I texted the directions here to myself and was prepared not to have a cell connection.  I did have GPS capabilities on my phone.   I did not know about trail markers when I began my hike.  It was when I walked 30 minutes past where I was to have turned that I found a post with a map of the trails, along with the indication of colored markers.  Aha!  It was then that it turned into a game of finding the next marker.     About 2 hours into the hike, I reached the first outlook.  It was amazing.   It was as described, strenuous. There were 2 other views, before the descent.  Here's one of the Hudson with Cold Spring on the bottom left.   After that, I came upon the bridge, which is where you turn to head towards the Cornish Trail (look for a red arrow.  Do not cross the bridge.   Then later, you find the cistern (screen grab from video)   And for me, the payoff was Cornish Estate     As you walk back, don't forget to stop and check out the geese and the passing trains just near a pavilion on Fair Street. The trains will pass by often (I waited 10 minutes at most for a train after missing a photo opportunity on the first).  

The path through the Foundry

The path through the Foundry Cove Historic Site was closed for construction yesterday (8/12/12). I just looked up an alternate way to get to the parking lot by Pearl St. and Main St.   Some of the instructions for the Undercliff Trail were difficult to follow. There were several forks in the trail where it was difficult to see which was the main path since there were no yellow markers on them. And I saw a lot more markers for the Nelsonville Trail than the Undercliff Trail ones (which didn't actually say 'Undercliff Trail' on them, they were just yellow circles vs Nelsonville's yellow diamonds) sooner than the instructions mentioned.   I think someone needs to revisit this trail and update the instructions.

Foundry Cove Historic Site is closed until fall 2013

The Foundry Cove Historic Site is closed until fall 2013.  To bypass this site during the period of closure, follow the alternative route shown in bold in the hike description.


Driving directions should read, turn left onto Main Street. Last paragraph should read turn right on Main Street at end of Fair Street. Also, hikers may want to continue on the blue Cornish Trail for about 1/10th mile to a dirt lot which is the terminus of the Washburn and Cornish trails to avoid walking on hazardous section of Rt 9D.

Hike description has been corrected

Thanks for bringing these corrections to our attention!  The directions in the hike description have been corrected.  The directions were correct in the original version of the hike description (as printed in The Record), but it seems that they somehow got garbled when posted on the web.

Did this hike yesterday 8/10/14

Beautiful day to hike. Beginning of hike was a bit confusing, Nelsonville Park has lots of turns and rogue(unmarked)  paths, so some doubling back was necessary.  After the start the path became much better marked with newish looking trail makers.