Know the New Hiking How-tos
Storm King State Park
Take US 9W northbound from its intersection with NY 218 and NY 293. Two parking areas are available: the first is about 2 miles north of this intersection and the second, about 0.75 mile further. There is no access from US 9W southbound lanes. Storm King State Park parking area, Route 9W traveling north – GPS Coordinates: 41.423085, -74.000989
Limited parking is available in a lot off NY 218 at the Esty and Hellie Stowell Trailhead (15-69 Bayview Ave, Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY 12520) – GPS Coordinates: 41.441484, -74.005108
Public Transportation: Coach USA to Cornwall NY
Storm King Mountain looms above the Hudson River like a fortress, dominating the rugged river gorge on the west. Its glowering eastern end rises sheer from the river to more than 1,300 feet and is the dominating feature of Storm King State Park. It offers unsurpassed views of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley.
Aside from the Bobcat Trail, there is nothing easy about the trails in Storm King State Park. However, views of the Hudson Highlands and the Hudson River reward hikers far beyond the effort required to arrive at a viewpoint. Since the network of trails is small, hikers can minimize retracing their steps, and various loop hikes are possible
- The Bluebird Trail (0.6 mile blue and red) provides a shortcut across the Stillman Trail (yellow) enabling shorter loop hikes while traversing a hemlock grove and viewpoint.
- The Bobcat Trail (0.4 mile white) allows Hikers wishing to enjoy the views from the North Ridge of Crows Nest without a climb. (This trail also provides access to the North Ridge of Crows Nest when NY 218 is closed.) It begins on the north side of a small parking lot off the northbound lanes of US 9 about two miles north of its intersection with NY 218 and NY 293 (there is no access to or from the southbound lanes of US 9W). After leaving the parking lot, the trail descends gently, loops to the left, and terminates at the Howell Trail (blue) in 0.4 mile.
- The By-Pass Trail (0.4 mile white) connects the Howell Trail (blue) on the southern flank of Storm King to the Stillman Trail (yellow) near the brow of the mountain. The Howell Trail (3.6 miles blue) steeply climbs the eastern face of the North Ridge of Crows Nest Mountain, passing a series of panoramic viewpoints over the Hudson River, the East Hudson Highlands, and Storm King Mountain. Limited parking is available on the east side of the road at the trailhead (additional parking is also available both north and south of the trailhead).
- Two large stone pillars mark the Stillman Trail's (4.0 miles yellow) entrance to Storm King State Park on Mountain Road, about a mile north of US 9W. Limited parking is available at the trailhead. It ascends Storm King Mountain passing a number of viewpoints, traverses Butter Hill where the white blazed Butter Hill Trail heads for 0.5 mile to a large parking lot off northbound US 9W. The Stillman Trail then descends passing many other viewpoints until just before reaching US 9W, it bears left and crosses under the highway in a narrow tunnel (this tunnel is open to vehicular traffic, so hikers should use caution). The trail continues ahead on the paved road, reaching the main parking area of Black Rock Forest.
- Since many hikers do not wish to reclimb Crows Nest after hiking the Howell Trail, the Stillman Spring Trail (0.7 mile white) offers a quick return to cars parked on NY 218.
To find detailed descriptions of specific hikes, click here and scroll down the "Parks" column to the name of this park.
Storm King State Park
Storm King is more than just a serene mountain. Its name is associated with a watershed court case that became the basis for environmental law in the United States. In the 1960s, Consolidated Edison announced elaborate plans for Storm King. They wanted to build a powerhouse at the base of the mountain, a 260 acre reservoir within Black Rock Forest, and ten-story transmission towers running across the river to Putnam County. In 1963, a small group of people met and formed the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference. The Nature Conservancy, the New York- New Jersey Trail Conference, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Hudson River Fishermen's Association joined with Scenic Hudson to contest the project.
Finally in December 1980, a negotiated settlement was worked out, calling for Con Ed to drop its plans for the project. The outcome of the conflict established the right of citizen groups to sue a government agency to protect natural resources and scenic beauty. It set a precedent for national environmental issues dealing with the question of whether commercial developers could carry out development to meet one need at the expense of others.
In the course of extinguishing a forest fire in the park during a dry spell in the summer of 1999, firefighters encountered exploding ordnance. The ordnance had apparently been fired well over a century ago to test cannons manufactured at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, across the river, and it exploded due to the heat generated by the fire. Because of the danger presented by other unexploded ordnance, Storm King State Park was closed to the public. Subsequently, it was determined that artillery shells fired from the West Point Military Reservation may also have landed in the park. Following a clean-up of the unexploded ordnance, the park was reopened to the public in 2003.