|Park Description:|| |
This park encompasses much of the eastern side of the Hudson River gorge. Totaling 7,400 acres, it has many sections, all administered by the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Many of these sections have dramatic scenery or history -- often both. The area was strategically important during the Revolutionary War, resulting in fortifications on both sides of the river, and provided the backdrop for several key events from that era. Trails in this park often include steep climbs and panoramic views of the Hudson River.
Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, maintains a web site with additional descriptions of the parks, their histories and events.
|Trails Overview:|| |
Trails north of NY Route 301 tend to be more strenuous, scenic, and popular than the trails to the south. South of 301, the trails offer gentler terrain, while still offering vistas of the Hudson.
Trails north of NY 301 are [see Trail Conference, "East Hudson Trails," Trail Map 102]:
- The Breakneck Ridge Trail [white blazed; 4.6 miles] is the most rugged, scenic, and popular trail in the park. It starts with a very steep climb to a panoramic viewpoint on the Hudson, then follows an open ridge ending at South Beacon Mountain, the highest point in the park. The initial ascent on this trail is dangerous in wet, icy or windy weather.
- The Breakneck Bypass Trail [red on white blaze; 0.8 mile] provides access to the Breakneck Ridge Trail while bypassing the most difficult climbs.
- The Brook Trail [red; 0.9 mile] parallels Breakneck Brook and follows several old disused roads, making it one of the more moderate trails in the area.
- The Cornish Trail [blue; 1.0 mile] follows a disused road through an old estate. Ruins of the mansion are visible. Click to see historic photos of the Edward G. Cornish estate.
- The Crossover Trail [blue; 0.3 mile] connects the Fishkill Ridge Trail with the Wilkinson Memorial Trail.
- The Fishkill Ridge Trail [white; 4.9 miles], in the northernmost section of the park, runs from the City of Beacon to the top of Fishkill Ridge, where it makes a loop with many views.
- The Lone Star Trail [blue; 1.0 mile] is a gradual uphill woods road that connects with the trails around Bull Hill.
- The Nelsonville Trail [green; 2.6 miles] starts in the hamlet of Nelsonville and gradually ascends almost to the top of Bull Hill.
- The Notch Trail [blue; 5.8 miles], except for a short section, follows woods roads. ATVs may be encountered, as parts of this trail are outside the park.
- The Overlook Trail [red; 1.7 miles] is the most northern trail in the park. It initially climbs, but then follows the ridge to several viewpoints.
- The Split Rock Trail [red; 0.3 mile] is a connector between the Lone Star Trail and the Nelsonville Trail, making a short loop hike possible.
- The Undercliff Trail [yellow; 4 miles], as its name suggests, runs in part along the base of cliffs. In another section it follows the shoulder of Bull Hill, and features some steep climbs and open viewpoints.
- The Washburn Trail [white; 2.3 miles] is a very strenuous hike ascending 1400 feet from the river to the summit of Bull Hill.
- The Wilkinson Memorial Trail [yellow; 9.5 miles] is the longest trail in the park. It follows three ridges after a steady, fairly steep ascent from the river. There are numerous viewpoints along the route before it descends to the trail's end.
Separate from the main body of the park are Dennings Point and Little Stony Point [TC Trail Map 102]:
- Dennings Point is located along the Hudson River in Beacon. The trail here is a woods road loop 1.2 miles long and is open for hiking and x-country skiing. Dennings Point is closed seasonally to protect the habitat of the bald eagle.
- Little Stony Point is on the Hudson 0.6 mile north of Cold Spring on Route 9D. Its one mile of trails includes a loop and access trail. Terrain is flat, and there is a small beach at the north end.
Trails south of NY 301 are [TC Trail Map 101]:
- The Appalachian Trail [white blazed; 5.1 miles] which runs through the southern part of the park, starting as the trail crosses the Hudson on the Bear Mountain Bridge and exiting the park near the junction of NY 403 and US 9.
- The Carriage Connector [yellow; 0.9 miles] follows carriage roads to bypass a strenuous section of the Appalachian Trail.
- The Curry Pond Trail [yellow; 0.6 miles] is a connector between the Osborn Loop and the Appalachian Trail, increasing loop length options.
- The North Redoubt Trail [red; 0.3 miles] is a fairly steep short climb to a lookout and the ruins of Continental Army fortifications.
- The Osborn Loop [blue; 3.4 miles] combines with the Appalachian to make a ring trail through the middle of the southern section.
- The Sugarloaf Trail [red; 1.6 miles] is a moderately strenuous ascent of Sugarloaf Hill, which is about half the height of the north section peaks, but provides one of the highest viewpoints in the southern section at over 700 feet.
Arden Point is separate from the main park. It is on the Hudson in Garrison. On level terrain, it has 2 trails blazed with red and blue that create a 1.7 mile loop with extensions to both ends of the park. These trails are easily accessible from the Garrison Metro North station.
Click to find detailed descriptions of specific hikes.
The regional park office is in nearby Fahnestock State Park, but there are many access points to the park's trails along Route 9D, north and south of NY 301, from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Beacon, as well as in the municipalities of Nelsonville, Beacon and Cold Spring. Some trails are accessible via the Metro-North stations of Cold Spring, Beacon, Garrison, Manitou and Breakneck Ridge.