Hudson River Views at Manitou Point Preserve


This figure-eight hike loops around the preserve, with spectacular views across the Hudson River.

2 hours
Easy to Moderate
3.5 miles
Route Type:
Allowed on leash
Views, Public Transportation, Cliffs
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First Published:

Daniel Chazin


River trail, Hudson River, and Sugarloaf Mountain. Photo by Daniel Chazin.


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Trail Conference volunteers maintain trails in this park.
Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.339314, -73.962173
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway to its terminus at the Bear Mountain Circle, and cross the Bear Mountain Bridge. At the east end of the bridge, turn left onto Route 9D. In 1.8 miles, turn left onto Mystery Point Road, then immediately turn left into the parking area at a sign for "Nature Preserve Parking."


Metro-North has Hudson Line service to Manitou Station on a limited basis, primarily weekends. Check their schedule. From the station, proceed east on Manitou Station Road for 0.1 mile, then turn left and pass between stone pillars with a white gate onto a dirt road that runs along the southeast edge of Manitou Marsh. On the right side of the road, you will see several trailheads, including the white trail on which this hike begins. Continue on the white, and follow the directions starting in the middle of the second paragraph, where the white trail hits the dirt road. Follow the remainder of the hike description, then the directions in the first two paragraphs until you return to the dirt road.


From the kiosk at the end of the parking area, head south on the white trail. Almost immediately, a blue trail begins on the right. This will be your return route, but for now, continue ahead on the white trail, which parallels Route 9D. In a quarter mile, the white trail bears right, away from the road, and descends rather steeply to cross a stream in a ravine. It turns right and briefly parallels the stream, then bears left and climbs out of the ravine.

The white trail now begins a gradual descent towards the Hudson River, running close to the southern boundary of the preserve. About a mile from the start, after paralleling an old stone wall, the white trail ends at a dirt road. Turn right and proceed north on the road, passing the Manitou Marsh on the left.

After passing a yellow-blazed trail on the right, you’ll notice a wide red-blazed trail, also on the right. Turn right and follow this trail, which climbs gradually to the crest of a rise, then descends. After passing a blue-blazed trail on the right, the red-blazed trail ends at a dirt road. Turn left and follow the road downhill.

Bear right at the next intersection and cross over the Metro-North railroad tracks on a wide stone-arch bridge. This is an active railroad, and you may see Metro-North or Amtrak passenger trains on their way to Poughkeepsie, Albany or New York. To the right (north), the cone-shaped hill in the distance is Sugarloaf Hill.

On the other side the bridge, immediately turn left onto the blue-blazed River Trail, which parallels the railroad tracks. Across the tracks, you can see the ruins of an old brick building. Soon, the trail curves right, away from the tracks, and reaches a dirt road.

Cross the road diagonally to the right and continue on the blue-blazed trail, which climbs rather steeply over a rise, then descends steeply to the shore of the Hudson River. Follow the trail as it turns left onto a narrow footpath along a bluff overlooking the river, with panoramic views across the river. You may see a freight trains on the CSX tracks across the river. Use caution, as there are steep drop-offs to the right.

The Hudson River from the Blue Trail. Photo by Daniel Chazin.After following closely along the river for about a quarter of a mile, the trail climbs a little. If you look back to the north, you can see Sugarloaf Hill above the trees. Soon, the trail bears left and heads inland. At a junction with a carriage road (to the right, the road is blazed red), turn sharply right and continue to head south on the blue trail, which now runs slightly inland, with limited views of the river through the trees.

In another quarter mile, follow the blue blazes as they turn sharply left and head north. Soon, the trail bears further right and begins to run close to the Metro-North rail line. It then bears left and reaches a red-blazed carriage road.

Turn right onto the carriage road, continuing to follow the blue-blazes. When you reach the junction where the blue-blazed trail goes in both directions (the road ahead is blocked off with a fence), turn right and retrace your steps to the bridge over the railroad. Turn right, cross the bridge, and follow the dirt road uphill back to the parking area where the hike began.


To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.

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

First Timer Hiker

As a first time hiker, I found this to be really enjoyable. The directions were on point so I didn't get lost any part of the way. I mainly wanted to provide a trail map and explain a bit about the journey back to NYC via Metro North.   I started logging the trails a bit late so it's a little under 5 miles.   Metro North - Currently the only trains stopping at Manitou NYC bound on weekends arrive at 1:22pm, 4:26pm, 7:30pm. You have to wave them down at the little shack with the seats. Having not realized this, we missed a few trains. What you can do however is wave down any train heading towards Poughkeepsie and hop on it for one stop (Garrison). These trains arrive every hour. When you get off at Garrison, wait for the train that is going towards Croton–Harmon. Hop on that train and once you reach Croton-Harmon, you will need to wait for an express train back to Grand Central Terminal. This seems to be a bit of information that's missing. We found several other stranded hikers trying to get back to NYC. Hopefully this helps others and others leave this information on other trails they take. Happy Hiking! 

Trains at Manitou

I do not believe that the information you provided about the trains stopping at Manitou is correct.  You are correct that, heading southbound, back to New York City, only the three trains you mention are scheduled to stop at Manitou (the precise times they are scheduled to stop are 1:22 p.m., 4:22 p.m. and 7:22 p.m.).  These trains are supposed to stop at the Manitou station regardless of whether you "wave them down."  But the other trains will not stop there, even if you try to "wave them down."  This goes for both northbound and southbound trains.  One cannot just "wave down" any northbound train, take it one stop to Garrison, and then change for a southbound train.  There is, however, a norhtbound train scheduled to stop at Manitou at 2:02 p.m., so if you miss the southbound 1:22 p.m. train, you could take the 2:02 p.m. norhtbound train one stop to Garrison and change there for a southbound train.  Moreover, the train change at Croton-Harmon is a temporary one, due to construction, which will end next weekend.  After that, trains from Manitou will run directly, without change, all the way to Grand Central Terminal.

Ahhh, thanks for the

Ahhh, thanks for the clarification there! I guess a bunch of us got lucky with the trains that day. 

Getting Lost.

Getting Lost is only a state of mind.   If you where able to post your last message;  you found your self. and walked out.

Getting Lost

Regarding the previous message, I checked the trail yesterday and: 1. The blue Riverside Trail. The section of trail close to the railroad has become overgrown in the last month or so. It has now been partially cleared. There are 4 blowdowns across the trail but they can be navigated by going over/under or around. These will be cleared soon. The trail is clearly blazed. 2. Yellow (Ice House) Trail. After climbing the rocky section from the dirt road, the trail is clearly blazed with paint blazes and cairns, however a few extra plastic trail markers have now been added. The 'evergreen grove' was unfortunately nearly all demolished by Sandy. Note that the 'mansion' has been sold to private interests (luckily to a conservationist) and all trails within the mansion property boundary are now closed. The blue Riverside Trail now starts immediately over the rail bridge, just before a 'private property' sign, and follows a new route outside the property line, crossing the woods road and climbing over the small ridge to descend to the riverside. The hike description will be amended to reflect the new line.

Great Hike

We tried this hike out yesterday, and we had a great time but had 2 hiccups: 1. When the blue trail bears left away from the river, we had a really rough time finding our way through.  As someone already posted, it was really blown over with lots of down trees and hard to find our way through.  But I could tell that the trail just led us back to the mansion so we decided to turn back and proceed with the yellow trail from the road. 2. We made it to the beginning of the yellow trail and headed uphill, but again soon lost our way once it leveled off and couldn't find the "evergreen grove" or the rest of the trail. So we headed back to the road and proceeded back to the parking lot.  Not a completely lost day and we still enjoyed it, but thought I would add where we were getting lost!

Loved it

Did this hike last weekend and it was beautiful. I took the metro-north, the trail head is very close to the station. I hiked everything from this report, in addition to the whole yellow trail, and then I did the blue trail again because it was so beautiful.  I was amazed that I was the only person in the whole preserve! Apparently nobody in all of NYC  or its metropolitan area was interested in hiking manitou that day. The isolation and peacefulness of the preserve was serene and a wonderful escape from the city.  The trail is fairly easy, and the blue trail, while narrow along the hudson, is very nice and relaxing, and I did not really find it to feel dangerous. Although you should always be careful when hiking along bluffs or ridges.   I will definitely be going back to manitou point preserve with friends and family to show them how close to home we have relaxing forests, streams and rivers.

Manitou Preserve

We enjoyed the views of the Hudson on this hike. The trail next to the Hudson is vey narrow, and might cause issues if you have vertigo, but an alternate route (red trail) can skip this part. We saw columbine on the trail and a huge patch of wisteria next to the mansion. The mansion looks empty.

Route Open, Several Down Trees, but it's all good!

My wife and I did almost all of this route today.  The route has several downed trees from the past two hurricanes, I suppose, but all are easily negotiated.  I think the deal to turn the mansion into the headquarters of Outward Bound fell through.  Neither of us saw any Outward Bound sign off Route 9D, so just look for the sign that says Mystery Point Road, that's the place.  The mansion is beautiful, but it looks very empty.  I tried to research what is going on with it, but couldn't find anything.  I'd like to put a bid in on it!  :-)   As for the route, after we crossed the first stream, we didn't see any white blazes for a bit, but trusted where the map said they would be and found them again as we climbed out of the ravine.  The end of the white trail at the dirt road was a little fuzzy also.  The blazes get you to within sight of the road, then you can just head down any number of ways.  We never saw the white trailhead blazes at the dirt road.  Everything is fine then to the mansion and onto the blue trail, which was now open (the last post here from 2011 said it was closed).  It is narrow but safe enough.  There was one down tree to be straddled over on the narrow part.  Good times!   When the blue trail bears left away from the river and connects with the red trail it can be a little confusing because the red trail isn't clearly marked and there is an unmarked footpath that follows the water to your right.  Just keep following the blue blazes generally up and right at that point and you will be fine and on your way to the sothern-most point of the hike where the blue trail makes the sharp left heading north along the railroad tracks.  This was the most blownover stretch.  Lots of trees down in this backstretch by the tracks.  All ends well here when you reach the red carriage road and head right on it back to the mansion.   When we got back to the mansion, we stopped following the route described above and just waked straight up the road back to the parking lot.  There is a nice little waterfall where the stream goes under the road.  We measured our route to be 3.79 miles and just over two hours (we are pretty slow..).  The route has more cairns than we have ever seen per mile, which was also helpful.

Change of Trail Route - maybe temporary?

I hiked this on the 13th and I just wanted to mention that the part of the trail that hugs the river (the super narrow part right after you cross the lawn of the late 1800s mansion) has been diverted into a very steep quarter mile inland path for reasons that my boyfriend and I couldn't make out. But be prepared because if you're hiking by yourself, you should bring a walking stick or something for balance. Otherwise, it will be trecherous