Family Friendly Field Quest Trail at Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
Directions to trailhead
Take the New York State Thruway north to Exit 16. Follow Route 32 north for seven miles to Mountainville, turn right onto Angola Road. Turn left at the first stop sign to continue on Angola Road. The Museum's entrance on Muser Drive is just over 1 mile ahead on the right, directly across from 174 Angola Road.
Going north or south on Route 9W take the Angola Rd. exit and turn left. The entrance on Muser Drive is about a tenth of a mile ahead on the left, directly across from 174 Angola Road, Cornwall.
The Field Quest is one of four Discovery Quests available at the HHNM. These self-guided hikes are complimented by an interactive guidebook, available for purchase at the Visitor's Center. Designed with elements for all age levels, the guides combine word games, hands-on experiences, and informative field notes. Well marked posts along the trail correspond to activities and information in the Quest guidebook covering topics such as colonial land use, field succession, the Osage Orange Tree, native trees vs. the fast-growing Ailanthus, and animal's dens and nests.
To begin, walk to the red flag in the right -hand corner of the field behind the Visitor's Center; this is the trailhead for the Field Quest. Head to the right toward Goose Pond, following the numbered posts to an intersection marked by a blue flag. The field loop continues to the left across a grass field with the Museum's mitigated wetlands, a series of five man-made ponds, on the right. The path splits at the forest line, bear left to continue straight ahead.
Look for a magnifying glass and hula hoop hanging from post 4 on the left side of the trail. Toss the hoop onto the ground and use the magnifying glass to examine the variety of plants, insects, and animals that reside within. There are over 200 varieties of grass, clover, and other plants found here, not to mention countless types of insects and animals.
Continue up the trail a short distance to an amphibian breeding pond off the trail on the left-hand side. In addition to the Pickerel and Green frogs that inhabit the area, you may see a water snake. They are harmless; there are no poisonous water snakes native to New York State.
Ahead on the right look for a tree with spines and large orange fruit on its branches. This Osage Orange tree was probably planted here for use on the farm that once occupied this land. This useful tree served two purposes; livestock ate the fruit, known as the horse-apple, and the spiny branches created a kind of natural barbed wire that kept them from roaming away.
Bear right here, following the posts marked in red. Follow the trail through wooded habitats and past a stone wall until you have looped back to post 4. The trail ends here; go left to head back to the Visitor's Center and the parking lot.