Cross Route 9W (use caution when crossing this very busy highway) and enter the woods on the south side of the stream, following the blue blazes of the Cornell Mine Trail. The trail heads uphill on a footpath, climbing rather steeply, then levels off. It soon begins to climb again, with cascades visible in the stream below to the right. After...
Cross Route 9W (use caution when crossing this very busy highway) and enter the woods on the south side of the stream, following the blue blazes of the Cornell Mine Trail. The trail heads uphill on a footpath, climbing rather steeply, then levels off. It soon begins to climb again, with cascades visible in the stream below to the right. After bearing left, away from the stream, the trail levels off. For the next half mile, the trail is generally uphill, with a few minor dips and level sections.
After about half an hour of hiking, you’ll notice the huge, massive Bald Mountain directly ahead of you. The summit of this mountain is your destination! A short, level stretch follows, but the trail soon begins a steep, unrelenting climb up the mountain. To ease the grade somewhat, the trail follows switchbacks for the first part of the climb and an old woods road for the latter part, but you’ll be climbing a vertical distance of 500 feet in less than half a mile.
Near the top, the Cornell Mine Trail ends at a junction with the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. The small pit at the junction is a remnant of the Cornell Mine. Turn right onto the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and continue climbing, now somewhat more gently. Finally, you’ll reach the summit of Bald Mountain (elevation 1,080 feet), where the trail bends sharply left. Continue strraight ahead on an unmarked path to reach the summit. You’ve climbed more than 1,000 vertical feet from the start of the hike, and this is a good place to take a well-deserved break.
The summit affords fine views over the entire area, but the best views are from the open rocks straight ahead (just north of the actual summit). The wide panorama includes Iona Island, Anthony’s Nose and the Bear Mountain Bridge to the northeast, Bear Mountain (with the Perkins Memorial Tower on its summit) to the northwest, and West Mountain to the west.
When you’re ready to continue, return to the red-dot-on-white trail and bear right, now heading south. (Make sure you don’t retrace your steps, as the trail routes leading to and from the summit closely parallel each other!) The trail makes a short, steep descent, levels off and passes a south-facing viewpoint, then begins a steady descent. After climbing briefly, it descends gradually through dense mountain laurel to reach an old stone fireplace along a stream.
Proceed ahead, following the red-dot-on-white blazes, which cross the stream, bear left from a woods road, and continue over two low hills. At the top of the second hill, there is a view back over Bald Mountain from a rock outcrop. The trail now descends to a grassy woods road, the route of the 1777 Trail (which marks the route followed by British troops under Sir Henry Clinton on October 6, 1777, on their way to attack Forts Clinton and Montgomery). The 1777 Trail is marked with white circular blazes with a red “1777.”
Turn right and follow the 1777 Trail, which proceeds steadily downhill, but on a much gentler grade than the Cornell Mine Trail, which you followed up to the summit. After a while, the woods road followed by the trail becomes rather eroded. To the right, through the trees, you can see Bald Mountain, which you just climbed!
After about half a mile, the trail levels off and crosses a stream. To the right, stone foundations and a trail shelter may be seen. These are the remnants of a camp once operated by Riverside Church of New York City. Continue ahead on the woods road, now proceeding through the former settlement of Doodletown, which thrived for two centuries until it was acquired by the park about 1960. Soon, you’ll notice several white markers that show the locations of former homes. From here on, the road is paved, although much of the paving has disintegrated, as the road has been closed to traffic for over 50 years.
Continue following the 1777 Trail along the road, known as Pleasant Valley Road, passing the remnants of many homes and other features of interest, which are commemorated by markers. For a detailed history of each of these sites, you may wish to consult “Doodletown: Hiking Through History in a Vanished Hamlet on the Hudson,” by Elizabeth “Perk” Stalter, a former resident of the village (this book is available from the Park bookstore). After about a mile, the 1777 Trail divides into the 1777W Trail, which leaves to the left, and the 1777E Trail, which continues ahead on the road. Proceed ahead, now following the 1777E blazes.
Soon you’ll reach a T-intersection, where Pleasant Valley Road ends. Turn right, now following Doodletown Road. Bear left at the next intersection and go around the Doodletown Reservoir (built in 1957). Continue ahead at the following intersection, where Lemmon Road leaves to the left. A short distance beyond, after passing the stone walls of a former garage on the left, you’ll notice a marker to the right. Here, a woods road (part of the Doodletown Bridle Path) leads down to a waterfall in the stream. Just ahead, the 1777E Trail leaves to the left, but you should continue along the road (now unmarked), which begins a steady descent.
Soon, the blue-blazed Cornell Mine Trail joins from the left. Continue to follow the road downhill as it makes a sharp right turn and narrows to a footpath. After descending wooden steps, the trail ends at Route 9W, just north of the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 05/06/2005 updated/verified on 03/18/2016
This loop hike steeply climbs to a panoramic viewpoint atop Bald Mountain and descends on old woods roads through the historic former settlement of Doodletown.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.