Black Rock Forest

Park Overview:

Linked to Storm King State Park by the Stillman Trail, Black Rock Forest is the largest area in the Highlands with a sustained elevation over 1,200 feet. Here the mountains plunge for more than 1,000 feet to west, north and south, providing the hiker with sweeping vistas and strongly contrasting habitats.

Trail Uses:Hiking, Mountain biking, X-C skiing
Dogs:Dogs on leash
Trail Miles:23.5 miles
Park Acreage:3850 acres
City/County/
State:
Cornwall/Orange/NY
Buy Trail Map:West Hudson Trails Map
Buy Book:New York Walk Book

Park Description:

Black Rock Forest has served as a field station for scientific research and education for more than seven decades. The forest was originally set aside in 1918 by Dr. Ernest Stillman for experimentation in forest management and for demonstration of forestry methods. The forest is now administered by the Black Rock Forest Consortium, a group of public and private educational and research institutions whose mission is to promote scientific research and excellence in education while carefully managing the ecosystem of the forest. Several scientific studies are in progress at any given time, and thousands of students visit the forest each year for a variety of educational programs. Less than a mile into the Forest, the Science Center, Forest Lodge, and Pavilion enjoy spectacular views; all use green building techniques and serve as models for sustainable design principles and technologies, with award-winning environmental features. They are open to the public, but no exhibits are provided. Despite this primary educational emphasis, the Consortium is dedicated to keeping Black Rock Forest open to the public for recreational pursuits such as hiking.

Black Rock Forest's cultural history dates from about the time of the American Revolution. The Continental Army used Continental Road, which bisects the forest, as a route across the mountains from West Point to New Windsor and Newburgh. From Spy Rock, sentinels from Washington's camp at Newburgh monitored British vessels sailing up the Hudson from Haverstraw Bay.

The forest represents a characteristic slice of New York's Hudson Highlands. Botanists have described a number of distinctly different ecological zones and it also contains numerous ponds and reservoirs, which supply local communities with water and the hiker with refreshing vistas.

To hike in Black Rock Forest, organized groups should contact the Forest in advance. There is no entry to Black Rock Forest during deer-rifle season.

Trails Overview:

There are 23 blazed trails within the forest, in addition to numerous woods roads which can be used to form interesting loop hikes.

These include the Duggan Trail (0.4 mile, red) which provides the primary access to the Black Rock Forest trail system from the main parking area. The Mine Hill Trail (0.2 mile, yellow diamond) provides access to Black Rock Forest from the west. Parking for the Mine Hill Trail is available for two or three cars just above the steep hairpin turn on Mine Hill Road, 0.9 mile from Angola Road near Mountainville. The western end of the aptly named Scenic Trail (5.9 miles, white) is just south of the northern junction of Mineral Spring and Old Mineral Spring roads near Mountainville. Parking  is available 0.3 mile farther south, at the southern end of Old Mineral Spring Road. The Scenic Trail traverses many of the most interesting features of the park and ends at a junction with the Stillman Trail (yellow). From the gate across Reservoir Road, opposite the main parking area and a short distance from Storm King State Park, the Black Rock Forest section of the Stillman Trail (5.3 miles, yellow) heads east, following a footpath into the woods. At 2.8 miles, it crosses the summit of Black Rock Mountain and after passing many other features, terminates at a viewpoint overlooking Mountainville. The Highlands Trail (teal diamond) is co-aligned with the Stillman Trail (yellow), the Compartment Trail (blue) and Scenic Trail (white).

Directions:

65 Reservoir Road, Cornwall, NY 12518

The main parking area is 0.2 mile south of US 9W on the northern side of the forest. Coming from the south, drivers take the first right turn onto Mountain Road, 0.4 mile after the parking area on US 9W. A sharp right leads through a very narrow one-lane tunnel under the highway. (The tunnel is passable by small vehicles only; larger vehicles should proceed as below.) The road passes a T-intersection and continues to the main parking area. Larger vehicles, or those that miss the Mountain Road turnoff, can proceed north on US 9W to the Angola Road exit to the southbound lanes of US 9W and proceed as described below.


For visitors coming from the north on US 9W, the entrance to the forest is 1.5 miles south of Angola Road. A right turn onto Reservoir Road and another right turn at the T junction in 0.3 mile leads to the main parking area. Limited parking is available at other forest entrances, with the largest area immediately adjacent to US 9W, south of Old West Point Road. There is also limited parking on the west side as noted in the trail descriptions.

Public Transportation: Coach USA bus service to within two miles of the forest is available from New York City's Port Authority terminal to Mountainville (on the west side of the forest) or to Cornwall-on-Hudson (on the north side).

Contact Information:Black Rock Forest Consortium
845-534-4517
Region:Storm King and Black Rock Forest
Fees:None

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

Closed during Hunting Season

This privately owned forest closes to all hikers during the hunting season.

Highlands Trail

 

Visit http://www.nynjtc.org/region/highlands-trail for complete, accurate and up-to-date information about hiking the trail, including trail descriptions, current trail conditions and maps.