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This mostly undeveloped, 7400 acre state park is known more for a couple of very popular day hikes that are located within the park. The Breakneck Ridge Trail hike, located in the northern part of the park, is not only one of the top day hikes in New York State, but also as one of the top 10 day hikes in the USA. The 4.6 mile Breakneck Ridge Trail rises 1,250 feet in only 0.75 miles. The North Trail Map from the NY State Parks Website includes the Breakneck Ridge Trail.
The famous 2180 mile, white blazed Appalachian Trail travels 5.1 miles through the southern part of Hudson Highlands State Park. The South Trail Map (from the NY State Parks website) includes the Appalachian Trail. The AT enters the park near the Bear Mountain Bridge and leaves the park near the US 9/NY 403 junction. For more information on hiking on the Appalachian Trail, check out Exploring the Appalachian Trail: Hikes in the Mid-Atlantic States - Maryland Pennsylvania New Jersey New York and Appalachian Trail Guide to New York-New Jersey.
There are over 50 miles of trails, which give numerous hiking opportunities within this state park. Anthony's Nose is another popular day hike located in the southern section of this park. Check out the
East Hudson Trails Map for more information on the trails in this area. Look below for more information on the many hiking trails in Hudson Highlands State Park.
Hudson Highlands State Park encompasses much of the eastern side of the scenic Hudson River gorge. The park is broken into several different sections, as the park is not continuous. Many of these sections have dramatic scenery or history and sometimes both. The area was strategically important during the Revolutionary War, resulting in fortifications on both sides of the river, and provided the backdrop for several key events from that era.
Trails in this park often include steep climbs and panoramic views of the Hudson River. The hikes to Breakneck Ridge and Anthony's Nose are those "must do" hikes that most hikers dream about. There is no camping available in this park, however you can find a campground at Clarence Fahnestock State Park. Check out the NY State Parks website for more info on Hudson Highlands State Park.
Hiking Trails of Hudson Highlands State Park
Trails north of NY 301 are more strenuous, extremely scenic, and probably more popular than the trails to the south. South of NY 301, the trails offer gentler terrain compared to the north, while still offering vistas of the Hudson.
Trails north of NY 301:Breakneck Ridge Trail (4.6 miles) - This white blazed trail is the most rugged, scenic, and popular trail in the park. It starts with a very steep climb to a panoramic viewpoint on the Hudson, then follows an open ridge ending at South Beacon Mountain, the highest point in the park. The initial ascent on this trail is dangerous in wet, icy or windy weather. This hike is one of the most popular not only in NY State, but in all of the USA.
Breakneck Bypass Trail (0.8 mile) - This trail provides access to the Breakneck Ridge Trail while bypassing the most difficult climbs. Access is from NY 9D via the Wilkinson Memorial Trail.Brook Trail (0.9 mile) - The trail parallels Breakneck Brook and follows several old roads, making it one of the more moderate trails in the area ending at the Notch Trail.
Cornish Trail (1.0 mile) - This blue blazed trail follows an old road through an old estate with the ruins of the mansion visible.Crossover Trail (0.3 mile) - This trail connects the Fishkill Ridge Trail with the Wilkinson Memorial Trail.
Fishkill Ridge Trail (4.9 miles) - This trail is located in the northernmost section of the park and travels from the City of Beacon to the top of Fishkill Ridge, where it makes a loop with many views.Lone Star Trail (1.0 mile) - This trail follows a woods road gradually uphill that connects with the trails around Bull Hill.
Nelsonville Trail (2.6 miles) - This trail starts in the hamlet of Nelsonville and gradually ascends almost to the top of Bull Hill ending at the Notch/Washburn Trails.Notch Trail (5.8 miles) - This trail meanders in and out of the park, mostly following woods roads. A short section of the trail coincides with the Breakneck Ridge Trail.
Overlook Trail (1.7 miles) - This is the most northern trail in the park. It initially climbs, but then follows the ridge to several viewpoints.Split Rock Trail (0.3 mile) - This is a connector trail between the Lone Star Trail and the Nelsonville Trail, making a short loop hike possible.
Undercliff Trail (4 miles) - This yellow blazed trail travels along the base of cliffs. In another section it follows the shoulder of Bull Hill, and features some steep climbs and open viewpoints. The trail travels from Nelsonville to the Breakneck Ridge Trail.Washburn Trail (2.3 miles) - This is a very strenuous trail that ascends 1400 feet from the river to the summit of Bull Hill.
Wilkinson Memorial Trail (9.5 miles) - This is the longest trail in the park. It follows three ridges after a steady, fairly steep ascent from the river. There are numerous viewpoints along the route before it descends to the trail's end.
Trails south of NY 301:Appalachian Trail (5.1 miles) - The famous white blazed AT runs through the southern part of the park, starting as the trail crosses the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge and exiting the park near the junction of NY 403 and US 9. The first part of the trail is very popular for those hiking to Anthony's Nose.
Camp Smith Trail (4.3 miles) - This rugged trail rewards hikers with numerous view points. Much of the trail is in the southern section of Camp Smith Military Reservation with a small section located in Hudson Highlands State Park. That short section of trail in the park includes the very popular Anthony's Nose. Take the AT to this trail to reach the popular hiking destination.Carriage Connector (0.9 miles) - This trail follows old carriage roads to bypass a strenuous section of the Appalachian Trail.
Curry Pond Trail (0.6 miles) is a connector between the Osborn Loop and the Appalachian Trail, increasing loop length options.North Redoubt Trail (0.3 miles) - This red blazed trail is a fairly short but steep climb to a lookout and the ruins of Continental Army fortifications.
Osborn Loop (3.4 miles) - This blue blazed trail when combined with the Appalachian Trail creates a loop hike near Sugarloaf Mountain.Sugarloaf Trail (1.6 miles) This trail takes hikers on a moderately strenuous ascent of 872 foot Sugarloaf Hill, which is less than half the height of the north section peaks, but provides one of the highest viewpoints in the southern section of the state park.
Separate from the main body of the park are Dennings Point and Little Stony Point:Dennings Point is located along the Hudson River in Beacon. The trail follows a woods road for a loop of 1.2 miles and is open for hiking and x-country skiing. Dennings Point is closed seasonally to protect the habitat of the bald eagle.
Little Stony Point is on the Hudson 0.6 mile north of Cold Spring on NY 9D. Its one mile of trails includes a loop and access trail. Terrain is flat, and there is a small beach at the north end.
Arden Point is separate from the main park. It is on the Hudson River in Garrison. On level terrain, it has two trails blazed with red and blue that create a 1.7 mile loop with extensions to both ends of the park. These trails are easily accessible from the Garrison Metro North station.
Here are eleven of the more popular hikes located in the park that are worth exploring according to the New York - New Jersey Trail Conference website:
- South Beacon Mountain and Scofield Ridge (8 miles, strenuous)
- Arden Point and Glenclyffe (Garrison, N.Y.) (3.7 miles, easy)
- Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) via Washburn/Notch/Brook/Cornish Trail Loop (4.8 miles, strenuous)
- Appalachian Trail/Osborn Loop Trail from Route 9 (6 miles, moderate)
- Breakneck Ridge Trail (2.8 miles, strenuous)
- Bull Hill via Lone Star/Nelsonville/Washburn/Undercliff Trails Loop (5.8 miles, strenuous)
- Undercliff/Brook/Cornish Trail Loop from Cold Spring station (6 miles, strenuous)
- Nelsonville/Notch/Breakneck Ridge Trail Loop (7 miles, strenuous)
- Sugarloaf Hill and Osborn Loop Trail (7 miles, moderate)
- Sugarloaf Mountain and Breakneck Ridge Trail (6 miles, strenuous)
- Camp Smith Trail (4.3 miles, strenuous)
Directions: There are many access points to the park's trails along NY 9D, north and south of NY 301, from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Beacon, as well as in the municipalities of Nelsonville, Beacon and Cold Spring. Some trails are accessible via the Metro-North stations of Cold Spring, Beacon, Garrison, Manitou and Breakneck Ridge.
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