Know the New Hiking How-tos
Mountainview Nature Park in West Nyack
Directions to trailhead
Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north to Exit 5N (Route 303/Orangeburg), and proceed north for 4.5 miles on Route 303. Just after passing under the Thruway overpass, turn right onto North Greenbush Road. Take the first left turn onto Strawberry Hill Lane, and immediately turn right into the parking area for Mountainview Nature Park.
The 83-acre Mountainview Nature Park was acquired by Rockland County in 1979. It is kept in its natural state, with hiking trails (maintained by the county) the only amenity provided. The park is situated on the side of a mountain, and the hike – although relatively short – involves an elevation gain of over 400 feet and a traverse of a narrow, rocky footpath that runs along the hillside. For the most part, the trails are not well blazed, but they can be followed with care. Make sure you bring along a map.
From the parking area, follow the orange-blazed Mountain Trail, which soon crosses a wooden footbridge over a stream, curves to the left, then bears right and proceeds through a gap in a stone wall. (You’ll notice many rock walls along the trails in this park.) The trail parallels the New York Thruway for a short distance, then turns left, away from this busy highway. (Unfortunately, noise from the Thruway can be heard for most of the hike.)
After passing through a grassy area, you’ll reach a junction where the white-blazed Goat Path heads straight ahead. This will be your return route, but for now, turn left and continue to follow the orange-blazed trail, which begins to climb.
After a rather steep section of the climb, the trail follows an old stone wall near the edge of an escarpment along the park boundary. Just beyond, you may be able to see the Hudson River through the trees during leaf-off season. Soon, the trail bears right, and the grade moderates.
After looping around to the southeast, the trail levels off and then bears left. A short distance beyond, you’ll notice a triple-blue blaze on the left. Turn left and follow the blue-blazed Bear Swamp Trail, which loops around, passing a wetland on the left.
When you reach the end of the blue trail, turn right onto the orange-blazed Mountain Trail. Soon, you’ll reach the intersection at the other end of the blue trail. Continue ahead on the orange trail (now briefly retracing your route), but when the orange trail turns right, continue ahead on an unmarked trail (the park map shows this short trail segment as part of the white-blazed Goat Path, but as of this writing, it is not blazed).
A short distance ahead, you’ll come to an intersection where white blazes go in both directions. Turn left onto the Overlook Spur, which descends to a south-facing overlook, partially obscured by trees. The Ramapo Mountains are visible in the distance, with the Palisades Center Mall in the foreground below.
Return to the Goat Path and turn left. The trail now begins a steady descent, soon reaching a T-intersection, where you should turn left.
This rugged section of the trail you are about to traverse is aptly described by its name “Goat Path.” The trail descends on a narrow, rocky footpath that curves around the side of the hill. It climbs a little, but then levels off and continues along a rocky footpath that follows a narrow sidehill track. Extreme caution should be exercised if the trail is covered with snow or ice; some kind of traction aid (such as Stablicers or Microspikes) is highly recommended under these conditions.
When the trail approaches the park boundary, it curves sharply right at a switchback and resumes its descent. As the grade moderates, the trail joins a woods road and continues west through the woods. When you reach the terminus of the white-blazed Goat Path, continue ahead on the orange-blazed Mountain Trail, retracing your steps to the parking area where the hike began.