The aqua-blazed Long Path -- which will be your route for the first part of the hike -- crosses the road near the barricade. Follow the Long Path to the north (left) as it begins to climb the ridge of Hook Mountain. In a short distance, you'll notice an old cemetery (the Wells Family Burial Ground) behind an iron fence on the right, with gravestones dating to the 1840s. You'll want to stop and...
The aqua-blazed Long Path -- which will be your route for the first part of the hike -- crosses the road near the barricade. Follow the Long Path to the north (left) as it begins to climb the ridge of Hook Mountain. In a short distance, you'll notice an old cemetery (the Wells Family Burial Ground) behind an iron fence on the right, with gravestones dating to the 1840s. You'll want to stop and take a look at this interesting feature.
A short distance beyond the cemetery, the climb steepens. As the grade moderates and the trail bends to the left, there is a view over the Hudson River to the right of the trail. After reaching the top of the rise, the trail begins a steady descent. Towards the base of the descent, as the trail bends to the left, you'll come to an unobstructed viewpoint over the river. Croton Point Park juts out into the river on the left, and the Village of Ossining is on the right.
Directly below you is the site of a former quarry. Beginning in the 1870s, a series of quarries were opened along this stretch of the river. Public outrage over this defacement of the Palisades led to the establishment of the park in 1911, but the scars carved into the hillside are a permanent reminder of these quarrying operations. Down below, along the river, you can see the Hook Mountain Bike Path, which will be your return route. The drop to river level is quite steep, so caution should be exercised when approaching the edge.
At the base of the descent, you'll notice an area surrounded by a chain-link fence on the right. The trail now resumes its ascent, soon beginning to parallel a stone wall on the left, with tennis courts beyond the wall. Just beyond the end of the wall, where the trail bears left and continues to ascend, a vague, unmarked path leads ahead to another viewpoint over the river from the top of another abandoned quarry.
After reaching the crest of the ridge, the Long Path descends steadily along the east side of the ridge. It then bears left and begins to climb along the west side of the ridge, with the Park's Championship Golf Course visible through the trees on the left. After descending rather steeply, the trail again bears left and climbs to a open rocky area at the crest of the ridge, with several cedar trees, The trail now begins a steep descent, then bends left and soon again begins a gradual ascent.
For the next mile and a half, the Long Path continues along the undulating ridge, with the grades along this section being more gentle than those on the first part of the hike. The trail goes over one peak, passes to the right of a second peak, then climbs to two more peaks (the last peak, elevation 560 feet, is the highest point on this section of Hook Mountain).
After descending from the high point on the ridge, you'll reach a three-way trail intersection marked by a cairn. Here, the Long Path turns left, but you should turn right, now following the white-blazed Treason Trail (named for the treason of Benedict Arnold, who handed the plans to West Point to the British agent Major Andre along the shore of the Hudson River at the base of Hook Mountain). Soon, the Treason Trail bears left and begins a steeper descent to the river on switchbacks. Directly below you is the West Shore Railroad, built in 1883 and now operated by CSX. The railroad tunnels through the mountain, and the north portal of the tunnel is only about 150 feet from the trail. Many freight trains pass through the tunnel daily, and you may see and/or hear a train as you descend along the white-blazed trail.
As you approach the river, you'll pass a ruined stone structure on the right. Just beyond, the white-blazed Treason Trail ends at the Hook Mountain Bike Path, which is paved at this point. An abandoned stone park building is adjacent to the intersection. Turn right and follow the bike path, which continues south along the river as a wide gravel path on a shelf about 80 feet above the water level, with views over the river. You'll soon pass an abandoned quarry.
Continue along the bike path as it winds along the river, passing several ruins of former structures and two unobstructed viewpoints over the river. After about two miles of pleasant walking, you'll notice two more old quarries on the right. On the left, at the end of the second quarry, an abandoned road leads down to the river. This is the site of Rockland Landing North. Just beyond, on the right, is another vandalized stone building surrounded by cedar trees. Beyond the stone building, the site of yet another, even larger, quarry is visible on the right.
In another half mile, the bike path descends rather steeply to the river level (this portion of the path is paved). You're now at the site of Rockland Landing South, where ice from Rockland Lake was once shipped to New York City by boat. You'll pass some more abandoned buildings and see wooden pilings in the river -- the remains of former docks.
Beyond the pilings, the bike path (once again paved) begins to climb, soon reaching a junction with another park road. Turn sharply right, following the sign to "Rockland Lake," and proceed along the park road past the remnants of the largest quarry in the area and a stone building, now used as a private residence. Continue uphill on the road, now paved, until you reach the barricade which marks the crossing of the Long Path, where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 03/10/2006 updated/verified on 12/28/2020
This loop hike follows the ridge of Hook Mountain, with many views, and returns via a bike path along the Hudson River.
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.