This hike traverses the 130-acre Black Creek Preserve, acquired by Scenic Hudson is 1992 to protect it from development and provide a beautiful natural area for people to approach and experience the shore of the Hudson River in a secluded environment.
From the kiosk at the end of the parking area, cross the road and follow the yellow-blazed Black Creek Trail, which goes under a picturesque archway and briefly parallels the Black Creek. It soon turns right and crosses the creek on a 120-foot suspension bridge.
On the other side of the bridge, the Black Creek Trail climbs on switchbacks, traversing puncheons and rock steps along the way. After climbing about 160 vertical feet, you'll pass a kiosk just below the crest of the rise. The trail now bears left and levels off. It passes a vernal pool, known as Hemlock Pool, on the right, then bears left and begins a gradual descent. It crosses a small stream on a wooden footbridge and passes a kiosk with exhibits on the adjacent fenced deer exclosure.
Just beyond, a triple-yellow blaze marks the end of the Black Creek Trail at a junction with the red-blazed Vernal Pool Trail. The trail ahead will be your return route, but for now, turn right and follow the sign indicating the way to the Hudson River. The red-blazed trail climbs over a small rise and passes several vernal pools. Soon, the trail turns left and begins to parallel a stone wall – a reminder that this forested area was once farmland. It swings through a gap in the wall, then continues to parallel the other side of the wall.
At the end of the stone wall, a triple-blue blaze marks the start of the Hudson River Trail. Turn right and follow the blue blazes downhill, steeply in places, with glimpses of the Hudson River through the trees. Soon, you'll reach the shore of the river. You'll want to take a break here to take in the panoramic views across the river. You might see an Amtrak train along the tracks on the other side of the river.
The trail continues along the river, soon reaching a jagged rock outcrop, with a pitch pine growing on the water's edge. This is another good spot to take a break.
When you're ready to continue, follow the blue blazes uphill. The Hudson River Trail climbs on switchbacks to reach to a junction with the red-blazed Vernal Pool Trail. Turn right onto this red-blazed trail, which curves to the right and heads north, parallel to the river, with glimpses of the river through the trees on the right.
In a quarter of a mile, the trail bends sharply left and follows the Old Farm Road (still blazed red), now heading south. After passing through an attractive hemlock grove, you'll reach a junction with the yellow-blazed Black Creek Trail. Continue ahead on the Black Creek Trail, retracing your footsteps to your car.
Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazinon 05/16/2013updated/verified on 05/12/2013
This loop hike crosses a 120-foot suspension bridge, winds among vernal pools, and descends to the shore of the Hudson River, with panoramic views across the river.
This hike traverses the 130-acre Black Creek Preserve, acquired by Scenic Hudson is 1992...
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.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 18 (Poughkeepsie/New Paltz). After the toll booths, turn right onto N.Y. Route 299 and continue for 5.2 miles to U.S. Route 9W. Turn left onto Route 9W, proceed north for 5.4 miles, and turn right onto Winding Brook Road. Immediately bear left at the sign for the Black Creek Preserve and park in the parking area.