Background you can feel free to skip: The piece of Appalachian Trail that ascends from Route 9D towards the overlook at Anthony’s Nose feels like a 500-vertical-foot staircase.
It feels like that because that’s pretty much what it is: a well-maintained outdoor staircase that brings you to one of the nicest overlooks in the Hudson Valley, with a sprawling, rocky clearing that affords plenty of nice places to take it all in. It’s like you’ve scored tickets in the skybox for the Bear Mountain Bridge.
This hike is only steep for the first .6 miles, then it’s smooth sailing all the way to Anthony’s Nose, following an old, relatively flat road for about .75 miles to the overlook.
On the warm weekend afternoon when I was here last, there were a decent number of fellow hikers taking in the view, but there’s plenty of room for everyone. If you’re looking for a little more solitude, there’s a smaller viewpoint just around the corner on top of a huge rock, perfect for plopping down for a picnic.
If you have a couple of hours to burn and you’re looking for a decent workout on the way to a beautiful overlook, you should definitely pick Anthony’s Nose. You’d have a hard time finding a nicer nose to pick in the Hudson Valley.
**UPDATE May 15, 2015** Here’s another trail guide for an alternate path to Anthony’s Nose, one that features a few more nice views along the trail. Both great hikes, and you’d be well-advised to try each of them once. Or more than once.
1. From the parking area on the shoulder of Route 9D, just north of the Bear Mountain Bridge, head north along the shoulder of 9D, away from the bridge. Believe it or not, you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail right now. (I hate hiking along roads, too, but this is a short jaunt, and you’ll be in the woods soon.)
2. Just past the Putnam County sign on the right side of the road, you’ll see a kiosk and white blazes marking the start of the hike. Turn right to head uphill here, following the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail. (You might also see a car or two parked here, but there’s not much room, so I like to park closer to the bridge, even though walking along the road isn’t my favorite thing to do.)
3. Climb! The rocky trail heads steeply uphill, occasionally leveling off for a moment or two. There are some unmarked trails weaving around the hillside here – be careful not to get bucked off the white-blazed Applachian Trail, which is very amply marked.
4. The next junction is coming up in about .5 miles, after you climb 415 vertical feet from the road. It took me 25 minutes from the road to get to this junction with the blue-blazed Camp Smith Trail. At the junction, turn right.
**UPDATE July 2019** According to Connie’s helpful comment below, the tree pictured below with the white-and-blue blazes looks different now, perhaps with just some blue circles on it? Whatever the tree and its blazes look when you venture past, be sure to turn right here! (And make note of this junction so that you can find it on your return trip!)
5. Take note of the beautifully tagged trail register on your left. You just might find some jars of PB&J inside.
**UPDATE 2/28/2015** According to Sonya in the comments below, this trail register is no longer there. Looks like you’ll have to get your PB&J at the grocery store instead (and thanks for the update, Sonya!).
6. Enjoy the calm, gradual ascent of the Blue Trail – at this point, you’ve earned it. It’s about .6 miles to Anthony’s Nose from here, and you’ll only gain about 100 more feet in elevation along the way. This section of trail is so easy, the freeloading toddler on your back may want to walk it himself.
7. After .6 miles (which took me 30 minutes, walking at toddler pace, but will probably take you more like 15), you’ll come to a T-shaped junction, where the Blue Trail splits off to the left, up and over some rocks. Straight ahead, an unmarked trail is blocked with some branches that are correctly advising you not to proceed in that direction. Anthony’s Nose is just a hop-and-a-skip to the right – follow the clearly tromped trail to the right to arrive at your destination.
8. And what a destination. As you emerge onto the rocky clearing, the view opens wider with every step you take, and the Bear Mountain Bridge stretches across the river right under your feet.
9. This is a prime place to munch some snacks. If the rock formation heading down the slope is Anthony’s Nose, then Anthony’s Forehead makes a great picnic spot.
10. When you’re done hanging out, wandering the length of the rock formation to make sure you’ve taken in all the views, head back to the T-shaped trail junction in the woods just behind you.
11. Optional step: There’s another small view if you follow the Blue Trail just beyond the junction (a right/straight turn onto the Blue Trail, opposite the way you came in), just beyond a small cairn (pile of rocks). This is also a nice spot to have a picnic, on the off chance Anthony’s Nose is congested. It’s smaller than the view you’ve already seen, but it’s a nice spot – check it out if you’d like, then come back to the junction. Total travel time for this step: five minutes or less.
12. Retrace your steps back to your car. Follow the Blue Trail back to a left turn onto the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, just past the graffiti-emblazoned trail register (that might not make the best landmark anymore, on account of it no longer being there). Hop down the stone steps all the way back to Route 9D, then turn left along the road, keeping a lookout for traffic, all the way back to your car.
Aren’t you glad you picked Anthony’s Nose?
Directions to the trailhead:
From the village of Cold Spring, head south on Route 9D. About 8 miles after Cold Spring, look for the Appalachian Trail kiosk on the left side of the road, just before you get to the Bear Mountain Bridge. That kiosk marks the start of the trail, but you’ll park a few hundred yards south of there, where there’s a nice wide pull-off on the right-hand side that can hold plenty of cars. (You might also be able to squeeze into one of the few spots on the northbound shoulder next to the kiosk, but I’ve never been able to score a spot there, and having to jockey around on a busy road is enough to scare me off of trying. If you get lucky and find some room, though, parking here would save you from some road strolling.)
You can park right in front of the “End 9D” sign on the right-hand side of the road. Straight ahead, you’ll be able to see the cables of the Bear Mountain Bridge stretching over the road. Carefully hop out (cars travel fast here – stay on your toes!) and let the adventure begin.
You can also get directions by checking out the Anthony’s Nose entry on the HiketheHudsonValley.com Google map.
Sorta nearby address for your GPS: The intersection of Route 9D and Route 202 in Cortlandt Manor, NY is just a couple hundred yards south of the pull-off for the trailhead, which is on the right-hand side of Route 9D if you’re heading south.
GPS coordinates of parking area: 41.32033, -73.97879 (Clicking will open in Google Maps or the Apple Maps app, depending on your browser/device.)
Super-cool Google Earth flyover of hike route:
Google Terrain Map of hike route:
Related resources: If you’re looking for actual facts and/or useful information, visit these resources:
- The concise Anthony’s Nose Wikipedia page
- A cool Anthony’s Nose panoramic photo from this location scouting site
- A longer hike to Anthony’s Nose detailed on NYCdayhiking.com
- For several Anthony’s Nose options, plus many other excellent hikes in the area, check out this page from CatskillHiker.net
- My other Anthony’s Nose trail guide, approaching from the other side of the mountain
Want to support trails in the Hudson Valley? Here’s one great way: Visit the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference homepage and click on Volunteer, Donate, or Shop! (Then you can volunteer, donate, or shop, depending on your mood.)