After our hike up Breakneck Ridge, Ranger Rick and I wanted to do another hike in the Hudson Highlands. Since we hiked the trails around Beacon last time, we decided to try the trails in the town of Cold Spring.
We took the 7:54am train from Harlem-125th, giving ourselves an extra hour of sleep, figuring that this wouldn’t be as crowded as the Breakneck stop. However, Cold Spring turned out to be just as popular. This tiny upstate town was overwhelmed by a crowd of hikers making their way towards the trails in the early morning. Getting to the Washburn Trail where RR and I started proved a little tricky, as we had to walk through town, but we followed some people who knew the way and had directions from the blog My Routine Maintenance which proved really helpful!
While the NY/NJ Trail Conference offers a couple different loops for this section of the park, Ranger Rick and I made our own way. We traveled the white blazed Washburn trail to the blue Notch trail then went briefly on the red Brook trail to the yellow Undercliff trail which would bring us to the Nelsonville-Cold Spring border.
We mapped this out to summit Bull Hill (or Mt.Taurus) with the most view points possible. While not as high as Mt. Beacon, this was still a nice climb and the trip up and down afforded some beautiful vistas of the Hudson Valley even though the summit itself was enclosed. Unlike our Breakneck Ridge hike there weren’t many steep ascents, instead there were gradual upward grades for long stretches and a few small rock scrambles.
The white blazed Washburn was a fairly steady up with peek-a-boo style vistas dotted throughout the walk just a few short steps off trail. This trail leads up and down the summit of Bull Hill.
While the summit itself doesn’t have any vista on both the ascent and descent there are some pretty stunning views before the trail runs into the more level Notch trail.
Notch is pretty level with a few slight descents, but nothing too intense. The trail travels the extent of the park, so be sure you don’t miss the junction with the red Brook trail.
The Brook trail follows a stream that, had it been flowing a little faster, would have been picturesque. On this trail we bumped into a lot of groups. This is one of the popular routes mapped out by NY/NJ trail conference, people take it to get to the blue blazed Cornish Trail. Our loop was adapted a bit from those suggested paths because we were hoping to dodge these crowded sections of the park.
It’s strange, but being so close to the city makes me take crowds into consideration when planning hikes in this park. So many people travel out every weekend (which is good, I suppose) that, as Ranger Rick pointed out, it’s just as hard to keep away from people here as in the city.
For the most part though the trails were wide and the hike was incredibly pleasant, especially with Autumn foliage being close to peak.
The yellow Undercliff Trail was another steady climb up and over Mt. Taurus, though not going as high as the summit.
The trail has a wonderful view of Cold Spring and the Hudson where Ranger Rick and I took a long, much deserved break. The Yellow is quite twisty and turny so be sure to follow the blazes and read the double-blazed turns well. As you get closer to the trail head the blazes change from the state park’s round blazes to the diamonds blazed by Nelsonville, but don’t worry, it’s still the same path!
Undercliff letss off at a parking lot on the Nelsonville/Cold Spring border and following the main road through Nelsonville by going straight out of the parking lot and taking a right we found ourselves on the main drag of Cold Spring.
While My Routine Maintenance blog mentioned Hudson Hill Cafe, when RR and I got there, the wait line was out the door so instead we opted for pizza and stopped into Cold Spring Pizza where we split a whole pie and a six pack after a job well done.
One of the coolest points of interest along this entire hike was coming across a point where we were able to see the New York City skyline. But rather than guide you there, I’ll leave that for you discover on your own!