Manitou Point Preserve
Directions to trailhead
From the east end of the Bear Mountain Bridge, head north on Route 9D for 1.7 miles and turn left into the parking area for the preserve at a small sign for the "Manitou Point Nature Preserve." The parking area is 750 feet north of the intersection of Route 9D with South Mountain Pass.
Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to Manitou station (only limited service is provided, primarily on weekends; check their schedule). From the station, proceed east on Manitou Station Road for 0.1 mile until you see on the left two stone pillars with a white gate. Go around the gate and turn left onto a dirt road that runs along the southeast edge of Manitou Marsh. In 0.3 mile, the white trail begins on the right. Continue along the dirt road until you reach the start of the green trail (on the right) and follow the hike description, beginning with the third paragraph of the text. To return to the train station, when you reach the intersection of the blue trail with the white trail (last paragraph of description), turn right onto the white trail and follow it to its terminus on the dirt road. Turn left on the dirt road, follow it back to Manitou Station Road, then turn right on Manitou Station Road and follow it back to the station.
From the kiosk just below the parking area, head south on the white trail, which parallels Route 9D. Soon, a blue trail begins on the right, and then a yellow trail begins on the right, but continue ahead on the white trail In a quarter mile, the white trail bears right, away from the road, and descends rather steeply into a ravine, where it crosses a stream on large boulders. It turns right and briefly parallels the stream, then bears left, climbs out of the ravine. The trail now bears right and continues to parallel the stream.
At the crest of the rise, the pink trail begins on the right, but you should bear left, continuing to follow the white trail, which begins to head south. You’ll immediately pass the start of the orange trail, on the right. Soon, the white trail begins a gradual descent towards the Hudson River, running close to the southern boundary of the preserve. About two-thirds of a mile from the start, after descending through a shallow ravine on rock steps and paralleling an old stone wall, the white trail ends at a dirt road. Turn right and proceed north on the road, passing the Manitou Marsh on the left.
Soon, you’ll notice an orange-blazed trail and then a wide green-blazed trail on the right. Turn right onto the green-blazed trail, which climbs gradually on a woods road to the crest of a rise, then descends. After passing a pink-blazed trail on the right, the green-blazed trail ends at a dirt road. Turn left and follow the road downhill.
Bear right at the next intersection and cross over the Metro-North railroad tracks on a wide stone-arch bridge. This is an active railroad, and you may see Metro-North or Amtrak passenger trains on their way to Poughkeepsie, Albany or New York. To the right (north), the cone-shaped hill in the distance is Sugarloaf Hill.
On the other side of the bridge, immediately turn left onto the blue-blazed River Trail, which parallels the railroad tracks. On the right, beyond a wooden fence, is the historic Livingston Mansion, built in 1897 (the mansion and its grounds are privately owned and not open to the public), and on the left (across the tracks), you can see the ruins of an old brick building. Soon, the trail curves right, away from the tracks, and reaches a dirt road.
Cross the road and continue on the blue-blazed trail, which climbs over a rise on switchbacks and stone steps, then descends to the shore of the Hudson River. The trail turns left onto a narrow footpath along a bluff overlooking the river, with panoramic views across the river. You may see a freight train on the CSX tracks across the river. Use caution, as there are steep drop-offs on the right. At one point, the trail crosses a wooden bridge over an area where the footpath had become eroded.
After following closely along the river for about a quarter of a mile, the trail turns left and steeply climbs rock steps. If you look back to the north, you can see Sugarloaf Hill above the trees. In a short distance, the trail bears left again and heads inland, soon reaching a complex junction, with a grassy carriage road on the left and two branches of the blue-blazed River Trail on the right. Turn sharply right and follow the branch of the blue-blazed trail that runs closest to the river.
In another quarter mile (after bearing right at a fork), the blue-blazed trail ends at a south-facing viewpoint, with a stone bench. After taking in the view, retrace your steps on the blue-blazed trail for 200 feet, then bear sharply right at a trail junction. You’re now following the inland branch of the blue-blazed River Trail, which leads to the complex junction you encountered earlier in the hike. Turn right onto the carriage road (still following the blue blazes), which curves to the left and heads north.
When you reach the next junction (the road ahead is blocked off with a gate), turn right and retrace your steps on the blue-blazed trail to the bridge over the railroad. Turn right again, cross the bridge, and follow the dirt road uphill.
After crossing a stream, the road curves to the left. On the right, you will see stone steps, which mark the start of the yellow trail. Turn right, climb the steps, and follow the yellow trail uphill to a T-junction, where you turn left onto the blue trail. When you reach the white trail, turn left and follow it a short distance to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.