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Family Friendly Woodland Quest Trail at Hudson Highlands Nature Center
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 Outdoor Discovery Center'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 sign for the entrance is about a tenth of a mile west on the 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 Woodland Quest is one of four Discovery Quests available at the HHNM. These self-guided hikes are complemented 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 lowland and upland forests, primary succession, Pre-Cambrian rocks, native wildlife, and biodiversity.
To begin the Woodland Trail loop, cross the field behind the Visitor's Center, heading left towards the orange, yellow, and turquoise flags. Take this trail through the field into the tree line to the start of the yellow trail. This section of the trail, part of the Highlands Quest Trail, runs through a lowland forest where Sugar Maple, American Beech, and Shagbark Hickory grow.
Cross the stream bed on a wooden bridge to the rock stairs; at the top, bear left and continue through on the forest trail. Cross the stream a second time via a series of large stepping stones and look for a tree on the left with three orange trail markers in the shape of a triangle, this is the Woodland Quest trailhead.
Follow the orange markers as the trail goes up an incline and then curves to the right along the contour of the land. The trail is parallel to the stream bed below you; observe the various fauna below and above. The trail curves to the left again, beginning another incline. As you continue to climb, note the difference in the trees found here, in the upland forest. Chestnut Oak, Northern red oak, and Shadbush are adapted to the hilltop's dry, rocky soil.
About 1.3 billion years ago, the Hudson Highlands were part of an enormous mountain range; the Pre-Cambrian rocks found along the trail are all that remains. Look for gneiss, red garnet, and Magnetite along the trail near post 6. Continue straight to post 7, where a large tree has been blown down.
Just beyond post 7, the trail curves to the right again, still following a slight incline. The trail continues to climb, leveling off just before post 10, and begins to decline soon after. Continue straight until the trail crosses the stream for the last time; the Woodland trail ends at a T-intersection with the yellow trail. Turn right to follow the yellow trail back out to the visitor's center and the parking lot.