Background you can feel free to skip: It’s easy to forget about Bull Hill, with its more popular sibling, Breakneck Ridge, less than a mile up the road. You can almost picture Bull Hill stomping its foot and saying, “Breakneck, Breakneck, Breakneck!” in the same way Jan Brady complained about Marcia.
But this is a hike that shouldn’t be missed. It’s not a rock scramble like Breakneck, just a good old-fashioned climb with several fantastic views and points of interest along the way.
It’s also directly across the street from Little Stony Point, which is a perfect place to wind down after you return from conquering Bull Hill. (Bull Hill is sometimes referred to as Mt.Taurus. If I was Bull Hill’s publicist, I’d probably advise it to go by Mt.Taurus all the time, but it’s more commonly referred to by its somewhat wimpier-sounding bovine appellation.)
Whatever you call it, this is a beautiful spot, and a choice place to watch the sun dip behind Crow’s Nest and Storm King Mountain on the other side of the river (assuming you have a good flashlight and a sense of adventure to attempt the rocky descent of Bull Hill at dusk, which someone with good sense probably wouldn’t try.)
The town of Cold Spring is blessed with several awesome hikes just outside of town. Whenever I visit this hike, my itinerary goes something like this: Bull Hill, Little Stony Point, Cold Spring Pizza. Perhaps there’s a better way to burn half a day. Perhaps not.
**Update June 2017** If you’d like to make a longer loop (5.9 miles) out of this hike and check out some interesting ruins on the far side of Bull Hill, please visit my Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) II – Cornish Loop trail guide. The up/back version outlined below is a great way to hit the highlights of Bull Hill, but the longer loop has some more good stuff to see. It’s good to have options in life, right?
If you find this free trail guide useful, please provide payment by picking up at least one piece of litter on your hike. Cha-ching! Thanks for being awesome! (And here’s a quick primer on Leave No Trace, too, to help us keep the trails nice and fresh for each other.)
1. From the parking area directly across Route 9D from the Little Stony Point parking lot, begin your ascent on the white-blazed Washburn Trail. Check out the trail map box or snap a picture of the posted map before you begin. If you’re the planning type, you could also print out a Hudson Highlands trail map before you come here. (If you snag a map from the box, it’s good karma to put it back at the end of the hike.)
2. You’ll immediately come to a well-marked junction with the blue-blazed Cornish Trail. Stay right on the White (Washburn) Trail.
3. Ascend through a deciduous forest for about ten minutes as you approach an old abandoned quarry. It’s about .4 miles and 150 vertical feet from the parking lot to the quarry.
4. Emerge into the old quarry and take a look around. The low grasses and small trees make this place feel like a savanna. I always expect to see gazelles hopping around in here, but so far, my search for the elusive Bull Hill gazelle has yielded only disappointment. Good thing it’s such a cool place otherwise.
Right at the entrance to the quarry, the trail takes a hard right (almost a U-turn), while an unmarked trail heads into the quarry. Turn right here to continue ascending on the White Trail.
5. Now the serious climbing begins. Our next point of interest is Table Rocks, at which we’ll arrive in another .3 miles and 297 vertical feet. It took me about ten minutes to get there. (Per Kelsey’s comment below, it can be easy to lose track of the trail markers in this section – they are spread a little thin here, and the correct trail itself isn’t always obvious, as the White Trail has been rerouted here and it’s easy to step off onto an old unmarked section of trail. You’ll want to very carefully play a game of “Find the Next White Blaze,” keeping the quarry close — but not too close — on your left while you head uphill. Per Jeff Kent’s helpful comment below, you can also “look for a pipe on the right side of the main trail…follow the pipe off to the right and you’ll stick to the white trail.”) **UPDATE June 2015** Per ML’s helpful comment below, it looks like there are some fresh blazes here to guide the way. Enjoy not getting lost anymore, everyone!
As you ascend, keep an eye on your right for the rocky outcropping that affords a very nice view of Cold Spring, West Point and the river valley beyond. If you’re feeling lazy, nobody would blame you if you decided to make this your final destination. Table Rocks would qualify as a grand finale anywhere else.
6. From Table Rocks, we’ll continue climbing around the quarry, eventually heading past it and up the hill beyond. It’s .6 miles and nearly 600 vertical feet to our next milestone: the junction with the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail. Happy climbing! Keep following those white blazes, and we’ll see you at the junction with the Yellow Trail.
7. When you arrive at the White Trail and Yellow Trail junction, you’ll find it marked with blazes and spray-painted arrows. You are standing close to some very awesome views. Take a left on the Yellow Trail to start checking ’em out. (We’ll be coming back to this junction in just a few minutes.)
8. Stroll along the Yellow Trail as some river views open up to your left. We’re going .3 miles from the junction with the White Trail.
Keep walking until you come to a rocky viewpoint that lets you look up the river to the north. This is your turnaround spot. Stop here and soak in the view for a moment.
If you find the trail bending hard to the right, heading back towards Bull Hill and away from the river, you’re going too far.
9. After you’ve checked out the views, retrace your steps back to the White/Yellow junction.
10. Turn left to head uphill on the White Trail. The best viewpoint on Bull Hill is .21 miles and 180 vertical feet up the trail. I promise, it’s worth the climb.
***IMPORTANT UDPATE POSTED MARCH 2020***
The following two steps (11 and 12) detail how to visit an unmarked, off-trail viewpoint that I have been calling the “money spot” for many years. Evan Thompson, Hudson Highlands State Park manager, reached out to me recently to ask me to amend these instructions — people have been getting lost trying to find this spot. Besides, it’s generally bad practice to wander off-trail, or to encourage others to do so, and I *think* this is the only trail guide on this entire site where I do tell people to go off-trail, since it seemed to be a travesty to climb Bull Hill and miss the awesome view at the top.
Fortunately, I got this awesome update from Evan a few days after we started emailing each other:
“There is [another] view right off the trail to the south at that location that: has a wider and better view, can accommodate more people and is safer. For now, we spray painted, “view” on a rock that leads to the new $$$$$ spot. So, if you could update your article to reflect this information, that would be great. And we’ll leave the old spot to the fence lizards and rattlesnakes.”
Please look for the NEW AND IMPROVED MONEY SPOT on your next Bull Hill hike! I need to get back out here to visit it for myself. I’ll get this trail guide updated as soon as possible with the new details and pictures. In the meantime, I’ve put Steps 11 and 12 in strikethrough — please disregard them, and keep a sharp eye out for the painted sign to the new Money Spot!
And a special thanks to Evan Thompson for helping us all find the new Money Spot, and keeping us from wandering around lost in the woods!
11. READ THIS STEP CAREFULLY OR YOU’LL MISS THE WHOLE POINT OF CLIMBING BULL HILL! The trail doesn’t take you to the best viewpoint on Bull Hill if you aren’t looking for it. You have to wander about 30 feet or so off the White Trail to get there. It’ll take just shy of ten minutes to reach the viewpoint from the White/Yellow junction at a casual pace. Keep a lookout on your left for some boulders that you can’t see past. That’s where the action is. On my most recent trip here, I hadn’t been to Bull Hill in a few years, and I walked right past the viewpoint. After much cussing and befuddlement, I had to circle back later in the day to find it (I did a longer loop hike, and I learned that I like the shorter up/back version of Bull Hill that we’re doing today much better.) I watched several other hikers walk past this spot without stopping, not realizing that the most money spot on Bull Hill was just a few feet away. I wonder how many people come here and don’t know that they just walked right past one of the best viewpoints in the Hudson Valley. My point: keep a close eye out here or you’ll miss the spot altogether. One hint that you’re getting close: you’ll see a white arrow painted on a rock in the middle of the trail. From here, it’s just a couple more minutes up the hill – you can almost see your destination through the trees.
When you get to the boulders on your left just a minute after that arrow, climb up on top. Get ready to plop down and enjoy the sweet fruit of your labor, and feel super awesome that you found a spot that so many people stroll right past. 12. Look south to see the Hudson winding its way towards New York City, where the shad enter the river from the sea and dead mobsters enter from various bridges. This is one of my favorite views in the Hudson Valley.
Straight across the river, the western Hudson Highlands smile back at you.
**UPDATE September 2013: If you’re feeling adventurous, you could follow Brittany’s comment below to ANOTHER unmarked money spot on Bull Hill. Get out, right? I’ve never been there myself, but I’ll be on the hunt for it next time I’m here. The elusive Bull Hill money spot can be harder to find than the elusive Bull Hill gazelle.
13. Once you’ve sufficiently soaked it all in, follow the White Trail back downhill all the way to your car, where you can scour under the seat for a well-deserved candy bar. If your legs have anything left in ‘em, head across the street to Little Stony Point and listen to the water lap on the beach for a little while. Really, you should check out Little Stony Point.
14. Time for some pizza!
Directions to the trailhead: From Beacon, head south on Route 9D. In less than five miles, you’ll pass under a tunnel at the trailhead to Breakneck Ridge. About one mile after that tunnel, you’ll see the well-marked parking area for Little Stony Point on your right. Park in the spacious lot directly across the street, on your left heading south. If you enter the village of Cold Spring, you’ve gone just a few hundred yards too far.
You can also get directions by checking out the Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) entry on the HiketheHudsonValley.com Google map.
Sorta nearby address for your GPS: The intersection of Fair St and Route 9D in Cold Spring, NY is directly south of the Bull Hill parking area (the parking area is immediately north of that intersection, on the east side of Route 9D).
GPS coordinates of parking area: 41.42659, -73.96534 (Clicking will open in Google Maps or the Apple Maps app, depending on your browser/device.)
Resources & Interactives
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 informative Bull Hill Wikipedia page that gives an interesting explanation for how this mountain got its name
- The official NYS Parks map for this area
- A nice write-up for a longer loop hike on the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Bull Hill page (pretty sure that 4.8-mile estimate is a lowball, though)
- The longer loop hike detailed on Localhikes.com, with plenty of user reviews
- This dude’s page where he posts a nice 12-minute video of his Bull Hill hike. If he planted the camera by himself in all those places, he must have walked 20 miles that day. Also, he missed the money spot, just like I warned about in Step 11! The trail should really take you directly there. Oh well, you’ll feel cooler when you find it now, like those nightclubs in LA with no signs.
- A nice write-up for the longer Bull Hill hike on NYCdayhiking.com
- Another nice write-up for the longer hike, on which they also appear to have missed the money spot.
- People seem to dig making videos of this hike. Here’s another one. Watching now to see if they find the money spot. Watching….watching…They missed it! “There’s nothing going on on this hike.” Unless you know where the awesome money spot is! It really should be marked. I strolled right past it the first time, too.
- Blammo! Jeremiah didn’t miss the money spot! Check out his very cool video of a beautiful winter hike at Bull Hill, complete with panorama of the money spot beginning at about 2:18.
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.)
Comments (177)Was this trail guide useful to you? Please leave a comment!
Planning to go Nov 6th and would love any advice on this trail if anyone has been recently. Especially if anyone has a sense of how long it takes to complete each of the pieces this article covers!
Articles like this are the very reason why Cold Spring has been getting flooded with people from the city and several spots I grew up exploring are now either closed off, or the trails destroyed by the insane foot traffic.
Hi, Bob — thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective here. I’ve wrestled with these thoughts and issues as well, and did my best to discuss this topic here: Loving Our Trails Too Much? Hope that gives a little view into my perspective, and wish you all the best in your continued adventures out there.
Great article! Is this hike safe if it rained the day before?
Hi, Jovan! I wouldn’t think that would present any special problems here. Some of the rocks (especially in the steepest parts when climbing past the quarry) would be quite slippery in wet conditions, so I’d try to avoid doing this hike while it’s raining, but if it’s not raining on the day of your visit, that should give them plenty of time to dry off. Bringing trekking poles could be a nice idea whenever you go, and help you keep your balance and traction. Good luck out there!
Do you know if it is open now?
Hi, Rodrigo! Your question spurred me to reach out to the Hudson Highlands park manager, who is usually very good about responding. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back! (I haven’t heard any further news on the closure here since Anna’s comment from July 6.)
It’s open! I was there when you asked actually and it was like nobody was there. I went with a group of six and I kid you not, it was literally just us for most of the trail. It was superrrrr empty, and we actually got there at 3pm and finished around 7:30pm. We went to Cold Spring to get something to eat, but some of the locals weren’t happy with us. I guess they could tell we’re from the city. A car passed us and someone within the vehicle yelled “go home!” We later learned that the people from that area (Cold Spring) don’t want any visitors because they’re afraid non-locals will spread the coronavirus in their community. Turns out they call us “citiots.”
I really appreciate this information, Jovan – thank you! I’ve updated the site’s closure page (https://hikethehudsonvalley.com/hudson-valley-trail-closures-and-parking-restrictions-due-to-covid-19/) with a link to your comment, and have removed Bull Hill from that page. I’m also sorry to hear about the rudeness you encountered, and have appreciated your thoughtful comments on this site. Here’s wishing you and your friends many more happy and safe adventures out there.
Hello! I went to do this hike today, and found the Washburn trail closed for construction. There were signs at the entry right off the parking lot. (Wish I took a picture of the signs or the huge trucks coming down the trail into the parking lot). But a quick search of nearby hikes on your site brought me to another one close by, so all was not lost. Maybe someone else has more info on how long that it will be closed for? Thanks!!!
Anna, thanks so much for the heads-up! I’ve updated the site’s closure page with the information you’ve provided. I’ll keep that updated as soon as I can find out more. Glad you found another adventure for today!
Firstly, thank you! Secondly, for anyone trying to find the updated “money spot” it’s approximately 100 feet after the “old” money spot on the RIGHT side. Hope that helps
Just another thank you for this amazing site.
You serve as an amazing conduit for so many people like myself to have wonderful adventures in nature.
I truly appreciate your compiling all this with such great detail.
Friends and I celebrated fourth of July with an early morning climb and you were right, finding the secret view off the trail was amazing.
Have a blessed Fourth of July and thank you again
Lee, I was already having a really nice Fourth of July, but reading this comment was the icing on the red, white, and blue cupcake. Thank you so much for the kind words! Very much appreciated. Glad you found the money spot, too!
Hi. I’ve used your guide a number of times in different hikes when I lived in New York. Thanks again! I’m coming home to visit for a few days and wanted to do Bull hill again (this was my favorite weekend hike!). But this time, I wanted to take my nieces with me (ages 7 and 4). I know snakes are out for the summer and I wanted to do more research on what kind are there in Cold Spring. I’m not confident I can keep them safe with very little I know about the wildlife in this area. Does anybody know the kind of snakes we have? I’ve seen the black ones in a few of my hikes but I’m not sure what they are. And does anybody know any tips for taking little ones? I’ve taken then to short hikes here in the West and also the very kid friendly Little Stony Point. My main concern is their safety, especially with the snakes hanging around. Thank you!
Hello, C! The question about “snake risk” is one that comes up fairly often around here (and was on my mind as well), so I took a crack at giving the most comprehensive answer I could in this blog post: Snakes on a trail. Take a look at that post and see if it doesn’t help shed some light on the very minimal (but non-zero) risks of running into dangerous snakes out there, and my decision process with my own family. (If it gives you some peace of mind, the black snakes you mentioned are harmless, unless you’re a mouse. The blog post discusses the two kinds of snakes around here that humans need to watch out for.) Hope you find it helpful!
Hi! Just stopping by to say thank you for this guide – I just did the full loop of Bull Hill a few days ago, and this was a wonderful reference to have!
Hi, do you think I can include my boys ages 6 and 8 for this hike?
Thank you for this lovely informative website.
The parking lot has really been cleaned up and it’s nicely paved now.
The tree with the markers and arrow at the white/yellow junction seems to have died, but there’s a new sign just behind it. You can still see the yellow arrow, but the yellow trail marker is gone.
Hey all. Thanks for keeping this going. I’m going to bull hill for my first time on Tuesday with a friend. We are bringing my puppy. It’s a little dog. I figured it may be difficult to walk this dog there so I am prepared to carry the little guy. We wanted to go for the sunset. Coming from manhattan. What time do you think we should start the hike and which trails should we stick to? I don’t wanna be put in a dangerous situation trying to make it back in the dark. Any tips and recommendations would be greatly appreciated. We want to enjoy the hike and some great views! Thanks again!
Hi, David! I’m afraid this advice may be coming to you too late, but for anyone else with a similar question, to avoid tumbling down Bull Hill in the dark, I might suggest catching the sunset from the clifftop on Little Stony Point, directly across the street. You could descend Bull Hill while it’s still light out, give yourself a giant high-five for a hike well-done, then meander (carefully) across Route 9D to Little Stony Point to do the five-minute walk to the clifftop, which would also be a marvelous place to catch a sunset. Hope this helps (you or somebody else)!
Which part of this hike would you consider the best spot to catch the sunset? Thank you so much for this helpful site!!
Hi! Just wondering if parking is free
Hi, Sarah! Indeed it is. (I always put a “Cheapskate alert” near the top of the guide if there’s a fee associated with a hike. ) Happy free hiking!
Be VERY careful if you are venturing anywhere near the edge of the quarry. It’s no joke. A 25 year old man fell 100 feet to his death while free climbing there recently. I’ve seen people off trail doing yoga perched on the edge balancing in a handstand. To each his own I suppose, but know the risks. The signs remind you to stay on the trail for a reason.
Sure you can go look, but watch your step and BE CAREFUL.
Hello! I wanted to thank you for this very helpful guide. The trail was beautiful on a slightly overcast Sunday. I realized that it was very crowded at the beginning of the trail but the higher we got, the fewer hikers we saw.
Hi Mike! I love your site, and I love how this comment section on Bull Hill has become a kind of bulletin board for that place. I love Bull Hill!. I just noticed the awesome Google Earth flyover you have, hadn’t seen it before. How did you do it!? I would love to plot out the backside of the mountain, I’m really curious on a flyover of that cornish valley, and how the back trails cover them.
I’m also adding here a shot i took yesterday from the nyc asterisk at the top of BullHill
Thanks again for you really cool website!
You can hike up the backside of Bull Hill/Mt. Taurus via the Nelsonville Footpath. It joins this hike from the right (East) at the White Yellow junction.
I did that just once but wasn’t impressed. It was crazy with bugs (though that could have been the time of the year) and not very scenic except of one spot. Also…don’t know if this has been mentioned, but the white and yellow trails have new and improved signage at critical junctures. It would be very difficult to get lost at this point.
Hi, Marcelo! Thanks so much for the kind words and the cool photo, and apologies for my late reply! For the Google Earth flyover videos, you can create them in Google Earth Pro (which is now free, used to be $400!) using the files from your GPS device. There are plenty of free programs for manipulating GPS files into a format that Google Earth Pro can use (for instance, I convert my Garmin .GDB files into .KML files that can be imported directly into Google Earth). Here’s a link that can help get you started, and I’m happy to answer any other questions that may come up if you give it a whirl. Good luck!
I’m planning on hiking Bull Hill in May with my ~80 lb dog and I’m a little concerned about how steep it will be, because there’s no way I can lug him up onto large rocks. Can anyone tell me if this hike will be manageable for us?
I don’t have a dog now, but I’ve seen many dogs running up and down the front side of the mountain, the steepest side, with no problem. Bull Hill doesn’t have any climbing or scrambling like Breakneck Ridge has. As long as he’s not a bulldog! 😀
Excellent! Thank you for the reply. I was looking into Breakneck Ridge also but that one’s going to be for another time. 🙂
I can second MarceloA’s advice — my dog loves this hike, has done it many times, and never had any issues. It’s steep in many spots, but never in a rock-scrambling sort of way that might give a dog trouble. Hope you and your pooch have a great hike!
I followed these directions to a T on my birthday, November 2nd. Thank you so much! The photos were great at guiding us! I loved it. I second the other recommendations to go early. I went at 9 AM on a Wednesday and saw only two other people. By the time I was heading down I saw at least 6 more, on a Wednesday no less!
I’m a morning hike kinda guy. Sunset views here are incredible, but there’s nothing like the peacefulness of a sunrise hike.
The other reason this works out? The crowds. This hike (and Breakneck) understandably get congested, as does the parking. Going early affords great views, silence, and no parking issues! That’s the only pro tip I have to add after hiking this so many times.
Do a little bushwhacking once on top of the mountain and explore some of the hidden ledges off the trail. If you’re afraid of getting lost, use your phone’s compass to guide your direction (and location).
Lastly, check yourself for ticks!
Hi – How far do you estimate the hike is to table rocks? time/ distance? My fiancee and I are driving through Cold Springs and wanted to break up the day&drive if its nice out with a shorter hike. We aren’t experienced hikers in any way stretch of the imagination but figured this would be a good way to get some exercise/fresh air instead of being in the car all day. Thoughts?
Hi Jay — it’s about .7 miles and 450 vertical feet to Table Rocks from the parking lot. Should take half an hour or less, but it does involve some steep climbing. You could also visit Little Stony Point right across the street for a lighter stroll that still has some very nice sights. Hope that helps – have a great trip!
For a shorter hike to stretch your legs, you could just go up to the Cornish Estate. Go up the blue blaze trail, the Cornish Trail, see the burnt down farm ruins, and further up, the odd circular pond filled with the huge black frogs. And if you wanna keep going, continue up the Brook trail, with the red blazes. That’ll give you a good shot of nature for you biophilia, and still make for an easy bailout if you run out of time.
Taking a group of friends to Bull Hill on Sunday. From the Cold Spring Metro North stop, would it be reasonable to walk to the White Washburn trailhead? Per Google maps, the distance is about 1 mile, but I am moreso wondering how easy it is to walk on the main road. Are there sidewalks so a large group can easily and safely walk? Or is it recommended to take a cab from the train station to the White Washburn trailhead. Thank you.
Oh yes, that walk is part of the Cold Spring visit. Every hiker that arrives by train walks to the trailhead. It’s a nice warmup too. Yes, the sidewalks are narrow at first, and later there are no sidewalks, but the traffic is so sparse, that it’ll be no problem at all.
And I recommend using the bathrooms when you come out of the station, at the bottom of main street. That’s the place to go before the hike.
I’m dying to go Sunday too. Hope I can make it… Have fun!
Thanks for your response! Sounds amazing – now I am looking forward to the walk to the trailhead. And thanks for the bathroom recommendations – very important before long hikes. Thanks again!
a little taste… This pic is one of the views of that walk to the trailhead! Have fun!
Excellent, thanks for sharing!
The hike yesterday was absolutely perfect. The trail was easy to follow, and around every corner was another picture-perfect view. There was a lot of hiking traffic, as it was the Sunday after a rainy Saturday, but everyone was very friendly. Cold Spring is also such a cute town – and the walk from Metro North to the trailhead was very easy and scenic.
OMG that looks gorgeous! Lovely photo! I must go very very soon! Thanks for posting it, Mellanie! And Thanks to Mike for letting this comment section in his website become a community bulletin board for everyone! I love this place! (the website, I mean) 🙂
Agreed, this website is extremely helpful! Thank you for your prompt responses. I recommend you go on this hike very soon, as it seems the Fall foliage is at its peak. 🙂
…a middle of the week escape to see those colors sounds like something I should really push for…. 😉 i’d probably have that whole mountain to myself! hmm… 🙂
did this hike today (saturday) Awesome sauce! overcast with the threat of rain made the trail very quiet. and saw only a few peps all day. went up washburn to the overlook. what a view. hung out there for about 15 mins enjoying the view. back down and hooked up to the yellow trail and looped back to the blue back to the car. all in about 3 hours.
debating btw breakneck or mohonk lab/ls for fall folliage in 2 weeks
thanks for the guide
This is great information! I was curious though if it is legal to bring a sleeping bag and camp out on one of the lookouts you photographed? Or are there only designated camping grounds?
Hi, Rebecca! Unfortunately, camping is not allowed here — it’s a dawn-to-dusk type situation. From the Hudson Highlands State Park homepage: “Please note that camping and use of fire are prohibited throughout the park.” You can find some other local camping ideas in the FAQ: http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/frequently-asked-questions/#Fourteen
Hope that helps!
Thanks so much for this guide, I’m taking a trip up this weekend and I’m looking forward to it! You said there are snakes though? How often do you find yourself crossing paths with them? I’ll be hiking solo so I just want an idea of what to expect so I don’t freak out too much haha
I’ve been going for around 4 years and i’ve never seen a snake there. I’ve seen deer and wild turkey but its always been late in the afternoon when there’s and less and less people hiking. The comment about the snake was from someone who actually walked away from the trail. I think animals in general avoid being near the trails, ’cause the trails have all these weird bipedal apes that invade the forest mostly on weekends. 😉
Thanks so much Marcelo! I’ll keep that in mind if I do venture away from the trail to find that beautiful spot the article mentioned. Love that beautiful photo of the flowers you posted btw!
Yes, I was off the trail. I wouldn’t really worry about snakes or animals in general posing a threat. This ain’t no Lewis and Clark! (And even none of the Corps of Discovery died at the hands of animals – or even native Americans).
FYI…I went up last week and the aforementioned brilliant plumage was already fading rapidly. It will be gone by the time you get there. Still, it’s an excellent hike and you won’t be alone on a holiday weekend – which is a good thing if you have any apprehensions. Have fun. Mother nature is the world’s most beautiful woman in so many ways.
I’m loving the yellow Undercliff trail more and more, in Mt Taurus, between the white Washburn trail and the Cornish estate area. This past weekend (jun18.2016) there was a whole section of forest that was covered in these small white and pink flowers… it was magical. In this time of year when almost everything is just green, this section of forest decided to have its own local spring party, and the undercliff trail passed right thru the middle of it! I’m leaving an instagram link also, to the photo of the flowers.
I did this climb the other day and found a “money spot” you didn’t mention. I approached from the southeast from the village of Nelsonville– the yellow Undercliff trail. However when the trail turns left, prior to connecting up with the white Washburn trail, I continued bushwhacking on through the woods, north-northwest straight up the side of the hill. It is very steep and rocky here and I do NOT recommend it for beginning hikers. The climbing is a rock scramble (somewhat less steep than the front side of Breakneck, still.) There are a few excellent clearings between 1/2 and 3/4 way up, and from one of them — a few hundred feet from the top — it is just possible to make out the NYC skyline on the horizon, 45 miles away. I almost didn’t believe my eyes at the time, because no one else has said you can see it from there, and I assumed it would be blocked by other hills; but I checked on Google Maps and the bearing is right and clear. I wish I had recorded the GPS coordinates. Will have to try and find it again next time.
Did you go back since and mark the GPS coordinates? Going to try this out next time I hike Bull Hill. Did you park by the trailhead in Nelsonville?
I have done the hike about 100 times. One spot to view NYC is clearly marked with white paint on a rock. If you go past the “money spot” outlook described above the trail moderates and goes up/down small amounts for I would guess another 0.2 miles to a point the white-blazed Washburn trail does a sharp left to pass between two house sized boulders for about 20 yards. The boulder to your east is higher and you’ll see a star and “NYC” painted on the rock. Stand there and on a VERY clear day you will see several tall buildings in NYC. In 100 times up the mountain I’ve seen NYC clearly 25 or more times. Look down the Hudson past West Point and follow the river to the horizon, there it is.
Also 100 times to this hike and I once saw a black rat snake (harmless) at the yellow/white trail intersection, and once saw a very small copper head at the road close to where the Cornish trail comes back to the parking lot.
Because of the warnings with snakes, would this be a bad place to allow the dog off leash?
I can tell you this. I found my very own private scenic overlook which requires a small amount of bushwacking to find. The last time I went and sat down to enjoy the view, I was joined by a 3 foot snake slithering down the rock next to me.
The presence of the snakes really sucks! My dog loves to hike and is well behaved but we let him explore (after all, that’s what we’re doing) and I just couldn’t be comfortable knowing that he could – seemingly easily – cross paths with a snake and either be unaware and get attacked or, worse, confront/provoke the snake and get attacked. I guess I’ll have to hike these parts when I don’t have him with me, though I can’t foresee ever wanting to hike without him!
I have never seen any reptiles around the Cold Spring after dozens of hikes – but I have seen 10 foot black racers up in the Garrison hills (also horrible mites in the oak trees) and almost stepped on a 6 foot rattlesnake coming down the side of Beacon Mt headed towards the firetower on the way back to the Breakneck – I think its on Sunset Hill or something on the map. I’d be more worried about my dog getting into all that poison ivy down by the ruins below Breakneck and inadvertedly transfer it to me when I patted the dog (although I did notice last week they cleared some of it out this summer).
Did a sort of modified version of this hike today. I went up the white trail to the money spot bypassing the yellow for the moment…well actually walked past the money spot, rambled up the white trail awhile, said to self, “This has been way more than two tenths of a mile,” and then doubled back and found the money spot. After chilling out at the view for awhile I headed back down the white trail to the junction with the yellow, took a right and hopped on the yellow and the followed that to the red trail and the blue cornish trail back to the parking lot. I actually liked the version I did a lot. It’s certainly longer than the up and back. My phone counts my steps and told me I walked 6.7 miles…it was also bouncing around in my pack so take that with a big grain of salt, but I’ve done the up and back hike before and I found I really don’t like descending the white trail that much. The last time I did it I had some loose rocks skid out from under my feet and I wound up on my butt, nothing more than my pride hurt (because of course a large group of other hikers were coming up the trail at that exact moment to witness my gracefulness).
Anyway, the yellow trail is a little less rocky and not as steep (there are actually uphill sections on the yellow even as you “descend,” but nothing a steep as the white trail can be) and it does give you nice view even past the point where the guide suggests you turn back to the white trail. I found a very nice view of Breakneck pretty far down the yellow trail (or it felt pretty far down, sorry I didn’t have my gps with me). It then turns into a pleasant hike through the woods, mostly down hill or flat and the yellow runs into the red trail that runs along side a creek. I beared left to get on the blue Cornish trail that pretty much carriage road for most of it. It also leads you through the ruins of the Cornish Estates which were pretty cool/creepy. There’s nothing that you probably couldn’t live without seeing, but if you have it in you it’s worth the extra distance (or at least I thought it was). Next time I think I’ll try doing the loop over the summit.
But thank you for this site, I use it all the time (and tell friends to use it) to find places to hike. I would have never hiked Bull Hill in the first place if not for this site.
That exact route you took I think is becoming my favorite Bull Hill hike. The Yellow trail has some magical moments, but a visit to the big asterisk (the money spot) is worth the slight detour. And I agree that the front of that mountain, the white trail, is too steep to go down comfortably. Man… your post is making me want to go this weekend! Thanks for the push!
I’ve done the white trail up and back a few times and this year hiked the entire loop white to blue to red and back to blue. Up and back on the white was better. Putting my feet in the stream on the red trail was the only saving grace of the extended hike. I wondered about doing exactly what you just described and it was to be my next excursion. Now it definitely will be. Thanks for the info.
Quick story: I found a nice overlook just off the white trail on the top which nobody knows about. It takes a little bushwacking but well worth it. On the last trip I sat down on a slanted rock and was joined by a 3 foot snake as I was sipping on a brewsky! Hello! Welcome to the wild!!
FOR HIKERS TAKING THE TRAIN FROM MANHATTAN:
After getting off, you have to climb the stairs and cross over to the Manhattan bound side. Walk through the parking lot and turn right…and then make another right after about 50 or 100 yards taking the small bridge over the tracks. Bear left around the curve and in 100 yards you’ll arrive at Main Street. Turn right, go two blocks and then left on Fair St. Follow that until you intersect with 9D. Continue north on the right side of the road for about 300 or 400 yards until you see a parking lot and the trail head on the right. All in all about 1 mile from train to trail head.
Thanks! This is exactly the info I was looking for! Im a city kid without a car.
I have to say that the first part of these directions sound like the wolf sending little red riding hood down the long path to grandmas house. Getting from the train to Main St is wayyyy easier than that! 🙂 When you get off the train, you walk down the platform going north (same direction as train) and the platform becomes a trail that leads you straight to Main St. That it! Then the rest of the directions are fine… Left of Fair St. and blah blah… 🙂 Oh and there’s a public bathroom at the head of Main St. where the train station trail ends, which can be really useful.
No shit. Gotta check that out! Thanks for the info.
The public bathroom being open in Cold Spring is not reliable. I always make a point of using the bathroom on the train.
Hiked up there yesterday, a Monday. Passed approximately twelve hikers during a 4-hr period. My route was from Rt. 9D up the White-blazed trail to the junction of the Yellow trail, turn left for approx. half a mile, and then come back down via the White trail to the parking lot. Started at 2pm and was back at around 530-6pm. Took photographs at all the lookouts and took 3 10-min rest stops. From these stats, allocating 4 hours is just a little too tight a schedule. Five – six hours would accord you enough time to sit around the lookouts and ruminate for a while. Many hikers said that the summit does not provide a good view and it is better to go along the Yellow trail. I didn’t get to the spot mentioned above that provides the best views on the mountain. Maybe next time. Rocky trail up and around the quarry. Steep.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write up these directions. I had such an amazing time hiking this trail Wednesday and owe it to you. Can’t wait to try the others!
Thanks for all the helpful advice! Has anyone ever backpacked / camped around there? Is it allowed or are there signs saying camping is prohibited? Many thanks!
I don’t believe camping is allowed. The closest place to camp is at Fahnestock State Park.
Thank you very much for that speedy reply. Ok. Do you know if there are No Camping signs posted near or along the trail? I was hoping to backpack & pitch a tent for 2 nights… Thanks.
The Hudson Highlands State Park page says no camping or fires in the park. I would guess that it’s posted at the trail head.
Ok, thanks Jeff. Appreciate it.
If you’re up for modifying your plans just a wee bit, there are some great camping options at nearby Harriman State Park: http://www.myharriman.com/overnight-camping-in-harriman-state-park/ (check out the link for the lean-tos on that page). Hope that helps!
Thanks Mike. Appreciate that! Yes, familiar with Harriman although I am looking specifically for backpacking spots not too far from city to hike in & camp for a night or 2.
Since camping is allowed on the AT, I’d pick a spot that’s convenient and hike in and out or do a car switch and hike a section.
Here’s a map of the AT in NY.
Thanks Jeff! Really appreciate the maps & suggestions!
Wow, what a great site, thank you for all the excellent details. Did this hike the other day just as you specified and really enjoyed it. Great info on the views – beautiful. We shared the ‘secret’ view from the boulders with everyone we passed on the way down. The area closed signs were indeed outside the white trail, but I could see how someone could be confused. Looking forward to more trails. Thanks again.
This is really helpful, CF — thanks so much! Happy adventures out there!
I went to do this hike today and sadly, right after the opening/clearing where you take a “u-turn” and go up the hill about 100 meters, there were several signs saying that the area was closed do to Wildlife Preservation. They should have put a sign up sooner! We ended up driving down the road with our large dogs to do Mt Beacon instead.
Kris, I’m really sorry to hear that. Just to make sure I understand and can update the trail guide appropriately, can you verify that the White Trail was cut off by this signage? Are you certain that the blazes didn’t continue on, and that this preserve didn’t apply to a different area near the trail? I just heard from someone who successfully completed this hike last weekend, and I can’t find any information about a trail closure here, on one of the most popular trails in the area. My gut tells me that this must be a misunderstanding of some sort, but I want to find out a little bit more to make sure I completely understand the situation. Thanks for raising the alarm – I hope we can help to save others from hitting this same issue.
When I was there a few weeks ago the area along the rim of the quarry was closed, but not the white trail. The signs appear right where the white trail peels away from the quarry to the right, so I can see where it might be confusing. I posted a picture that shows the sign and the white arrow to the right of it indicating the direction of the trail.
Here’s the sign…it appears at the same point as the picture of the white arrow below in my comment from May 26th.
Jeff, this is awesome – thanks for the help and clarification. Between your comment and picture, CF’s comment above, and a separate chat I had with another hiker who did this hike last weekend, it looks like we can safely say that Bull Hill remains open for business.
I hope this is helpful, Kris, and hope you can get back out there soon! Mt. Beacon was a solid Plan B, though. Good call on that one.
Wow! My sister and i feel silly for missing that huge white arrow!! It is very very misleading. We were even following what the post said. I guess we should have paid more attention to the comments!
The signs really should say something about wrong way for the trail.
Hopefully we will be able to get back there soon and try again!
Thanks for all the info. Can you recommend a guided hike? FYI I did breakneck 10 years ago and I thought I was going to die.
Hi Melissa! I don’t know anyone who has used them, but a Dutchess County Tourism page linked to these guys, and their site looks very nice: http://www.hikeny.com/
Looks like a solid crew. You’ll have to let us know if you give ’em a whirl!
I just got home from hiking Bull Hill and it was awesome. I tried this hike last year but got kind frustrated with the lack of white blazes and I wound up turning around. When I saw that trail was better marked now, I figured I’d give it another go, and I’m very glad I did. The money spot is definitely one of the best views around. It’s also a really nice (though not easy) hike. I just did the up and back hike you described, but I think next time I might try the loop. Oh and while the trail is very clearly marked on the way up the white trail, I did think the blazes were a little more sparse on the way down (or I wasn’t paying as good attention). I think I lost the actual trail and went down a section that had been rerouted where I met a very large snake, but I found the blazes shortly after and made it back car without a problem, after recovering from the snake induced heart attack.
I read somewhere that the Undercliff/Yellow trail was not unlike Breakneck, but more in the woods than exposed. I also want to try the other (Southeastern) side of Bull/Taurus and make different loops in thea area.
Has anyone hiked the yellow Undercliff trail beyond the viewpoint? It connects white Washburn to the red/blue Brook/Cornish trail on the other side of the hill…by the wooden bridge. I thought about either following it all the way past the view (rather than going to the summit) and/or looping back up instead of descending via Brook/Cornish.
Yeah that’s actually the loop I took. I did it in less than 3 hours. The Washburn trail to the Yellow trail leads to the red trail for a short part and then the blue Cornish trail leads back to your car.
Hey there! Ed’s suggestion is a good one (as usual). I’ve come up the Undercliff Trail from down by the wooden bridge and Cornish Estate (after going over Bull Hill on the Washburn Trail), and that was a pretty dumb route. You essentially climb the mountain twice. That’s why the GPS flyover video above is all choppy — I cut it up to match the route recommended in the trail guide above. Undercliff is a nice trail, but I’d definitely recommend descending on it, rather than climbing Bull Hill twice.
The rim of the quarry is closed where the Washburn (white) trail peels off to the right. They posted a bunch of white Area Closed/Do Not Enter signs. Someone has also added a big white arrow to indicate the trail does indeed go off to the right and doesn’t follow the quarry.
I also saw a rather large black snake in the rocks, it was well off the trail but bigger than your average garter snake.
Nice – thanks for the info and the pic, Jeff!
I just wanted to say that you post some pretty awesome trail guides, I’ve done at least 6 hikes thanks almost solely to this site. The guides have definitely been on point from my experiences.
I also wanted to make note that while on an overlook on the Yellow Trail from this hike, I ran into two pretty large snakes so I just wanted to leave a warning for fellow hikers. Also along the same trail, I ran into a small gardener snake (definitely didn’t get the heart pumping like the first two though).
I took the White (Washbourn) trail to the Yellow trail up to the Red trail and then to the Blue trail to make it a loop. It was a pretty nice stroll, my guess is that it was ~5 miles, and considering I did it in less than 3 hours, I was moving rather quickly because of how chilly it was today at about 65 degrees. Also, not sure if you have a link to the beach on the other side of the road here, but I just walked to a cool ledge over there and turned around because of how windy it was.
Anyway, no complaints or anything at all about the trail guide, just suggestions and a warning for other hikers to keep an eye out for critters and snakes.
Thanks so much, Ed – really glad these guides have been useful! And thanks for the critter warning, too. It’s always good advice to watch your step out there!
Thanks as always for the great info! We were up there yesterday and printed off your directions in anticipation of having trouble staying on the trail. However, there are what look to be new white Taconic trail markers hung along the trees (same for the yellow trail). Still had to keep our eyes open on the way down in a few places, but absolutely no problem going up.
Thanks for the helpful comment, ML! I just updated the trail guide with a link down to your comment. Much appreciated!
I hiked this Sunday using your guide, and plan to use your guides for each Hudson Valley hike in the future! Thanks so much for taking the time and putting in the effort to do this. Everything was great!
Awesome! Thanks so much, Adam!
Hi we are experienced hiking in our home country. However, this is our first hike here. Is it fine for us to carry our 2-year-old on the back for this hike?
Hi Amy – I’ve carried my son on my back on tougher hikes than this one, but you’d have to be exceptionally careful here, especially on the stretch right after the quarry. You’ll find lots of loose rocks and dirt on this steep section, and it’d be easy to slip. Right now, it’s going to be very snowy and slippery, too — I wouldn’t chance it until things warm up. And whenever you decide to go, having a pair of trekking poles while you’re carrying your kid always improves your odds of staying on your feet. Hope this helps — welcome, and I hope your family enjoys the adventure whenever you tackle it!
I am planning hike this place tomorrow. jus wanted to know if any one hiked this trail after the snow? if so how icy was it. thanks for the response
Hi Vinnie — Sorry you didn’t get a response to this question. Hope you had a great day out there!
Hey Vinnie did you end up hiking Bull Hill with snow on the ground in February? I’ve always been curious about doing that, but I want to hear first from someone who’s done it.
Hey all! I know it’s been snowing recently and pretty cold. I was up at breakneck two Sunday’s ago and it was a bit icy. Passed by a crazy scene at the bull hill trailheads with fire truck ambulance etc. and heard a hiker was stuck halfway down face of the quarry?! I’ve been wanting to go visit on a few days, probably this Sunday … Anyway.. Considering my last experience, I have no idea what conditions could be like now or then. Has anyone been up lately or in the area? Any input/ suggestions on hiking up Washburn and taking it to cornish on the descent? I’d love any recent info
Hi Leslie! This response might be too late to do you any good, but you could hit up Richard Leiman for some recent info on the trail — here’s a photo he shared from Dec 7: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=563268067144242&set=o.230042960363651&type=1&theater
A comment on that picture would probably get you a fairly recent report.
Not sure about all the hubbub you mentioned, but I’m sorry to hear it. You’d have to wander pretty far off-trail – or be attempting to climb the quarry on purpose – to get stuck there. Hope everything came out okay!
I poked around a bit online and found this.
It explains a little about what you might have seen.
What a fantastic website! We followed your instructions to the letter and had an amazing hike this weekend on Bull Hill. THANK YOU for spelling it all out-can’t wait to try another one before it gets too cold!
Thanks so much, Ellen!
We did Bull Hill last Saturday and just loved the hike! Found another hiker with the same printout I had from your website and both groups went and found the money spot together! What fun!
That’s awesome, Rita! So glad to hear it.
Of course if you wanted to see the Cornish estate without climbing Bull/Taurus you could simply walk up the paved road from the parking lot. Just go straight at the trailhead rather than going right towards the climb. A short trail connects the lot to the road/driveway.
Good point, Jeff! That’d be a good way to see the ruins without having a mountain get all up in your business.
Thank you for all the helpful information! At the money spot, we met two other couples who also got there following this guide. Also , we returned through the Cornish Estate and would highly recommend that instead of doubling back.
Angela, that’s a great suggestion – thank you! I hope to get out and chart that hike for a Bull Hill II one of these days – the Cornish estate really is something to see, and worth the trek for those who are up for it. The NY-NJTC trail guide gives great instructions for anyone wanting to give that one a whirl: http://www.nynjtc.org/hike/east-hudson-highlands
Why would someone even post such nonsense! Good reply, Mike 🙂
There WAS a manhunt here in September of 2013 and a lot of the area was closed to hikers for a while. I don’t think they ever found the guy.
I heard he shacked up with Slender Man and Bigfoot.
I remember that, Jeff. Had totally forgotten about it until you mentioned it just now. Horrible story – and it did end when the shooter killed himself and was found in the river (the whole story is pretty much right here in this URL – don’t even need to click it): http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sang-ho-kim-update-long-island-workplace-shooting-suspect-found-floating-in-river-had-shot-himself-cops-say/
Man, this comment section took a turn for the macabre, didn’t it? Gorgeous view up there!
Wasn’t this the same place the hiker was killed by Slender Man??
Kayla, I think you might be thinking of Breakneck Ridge. Bull Hill is where the Blair Witch kills hikers. Slender Man prefers the rock-scrambling hikers up at Breakneck.
(For those not caught up on Internet lore, Slender Man is a fictional supernatural killer dreamed up on the Something Awful forums. You can read everything you’d ever want to know about him here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/slender-man/.)
Thank you!! 🙂
I also wanted to mention that you can do a shorter loop by going left at the yellow trail intersection and following the Undercliff trail. That hits the Red trail right near the wooden bridge. The rest is the same as the big loop and this one is 4.3 miles.
Great trail guides! Thanks for taking the time to make them!
Ed, thanks for this recommendation! I clocked this same hike (returning on the Undercliff Trail) at 7.7 miles. Our GPS units will just have to agree to disagree, I think. But it’s another good option, if folks are feeling especially spry and want to give it a whirl! Thanks for the kind words on the trail guides – very much appreciated.
UPDATE: Per our conversation in the comments above, I’m now totally on board with this suggestion. I may try to bust out a Bull Hill II to document that hike (though it’ll likely be a while before I can get to it). Thanks, Ed!
Thanks for the info. Wanted to try an alternative to Breackneck, since we’ve done it a bunch, already, and this was a great option.
Want to try the loop next time.
Thanks so much for your guides, as always. I wouldn’t dream of looking for information anywhere else.. Did this one today – the snow hasn’t melted yet, so it was an adventure (we almost missed the money spot!) but this was so helpful. Thank you!
Thank you, Amanda! I’m impressed you made it all the way up there in the snow, and glad you found the money spot!
This was an amazing and adventurous hike! The hike ascent was a bit strenuous and a very good cardio workout. The views are extremely amazing, whether you are at the Table Rocks, the cliff edge above the old quarry, and various rock outcroppings near the summit! I highly recommend Mount Taurus to all!
Just added your video of your Bull Hill winter extravaganza to the “Related resources” section at the bottom of the trail guide — awesome work!
this site has been such a great resource– we have done anthony’s nose , fishkill ridge and cat rock (i think that is what it is…) we want to do this or breakneck tomorrow — i am training to climb kilmanjaro and trying to find ways to get out in the real world and hike that is close -ish to home is TOUGH!–thank you SO SO SO much for the work you put into this!!!
That’s awesome to hear, Lori! Thanks for the kind words, and good luck with all your training – sounds like quite an adventure!
I think you’re the coolest hike teacher, ever! I have done Breakneck Ridge, Anthony’s Nose and Mt. Taurus using your guides! Visited Mt. Taurus again today (only went as far as the Table Rocks the first time because I had a friend with me who was sick. You didn’t need to know that, really) and finished it. It was too foggy, though… and I didn’t see anything from the “Money Spots”. I guess I’ll have to go back some other day. Thank you!
Thanks so much, Y! Hope you’ve had a chance to make another run at the money spot!
This is a great site! I’ve done this hike and mt. Stissing using your guide and they are so helpful! I originally walked right passed the little white arrow (we have found we are really good at blazing our own trail by accident), but ended up finding another amazing view rock that was really close to the trail. It’s past the white arrow a few minutes on right. its after the spot on the left where there are the two table rocks (one a little lower, but the higher one has a great view) I noticed a huge rock that looked like it had potential. Cut through the woods a little ways and a after a bit of scrambling up rock there is a really good money shot of the whole area.
Awesome! I just updated the trail guide with a link down to your comment for anyone else who might like to hunt down this other money spot. Can’t wait to get back here and try to find it myself — thanks, Brittany!
Did this hike on Tuesday – really nice, not too hard, but some decent uphill moments to get the heart racing. A little rough on the knees coming back down. Beautiful views along the way thought. Found your nice money shot, Mike, and there was a woman painting there, so my wife and I decided to look for Brittany’s spot so as not to disturb her art. Man, am I glad we looked. Will post a photo from it. Both were great views, and from the 2nd viewpoint we could even see the outline of NYC. Tanks for the tips!
photo didnt post the first time, trying again
About it being hard on the knees… I never go down the washburn trail because of that reason. Too steep. The Yellow trail towards Cornish is the sweetest way to come down that mountain.
Awesome trail, your guide was helpful. We (my husband and 3 children) did it today and added on the cornish trail. My 5 and 6 year old had a blast.
Your kids are hard-core! Glad you all had a great time out there.
You should make “Money Spot” stickers with arrows and post them on the trail 😉
Great work on the website and one of the few I trust for great hiking recommendations in the Hudson Valley. Thanks!
Thank YOU! That’s really great to hear. And great idea on the “Money Spot” stickers 🙂
Thanks for the great write up. Is this hike safe to take kids? I saw someone’s comment about the trail being right on the ledge. I think that was the wrong trail but I would love to double check before I venture out. Thanks!
The ledge trail is not the blazed trail, but you can easily venture over to the edge to have a look if you’d like. I’d say it depends on the age and ability of your kids. I would not take mine, though I did drag them up to see the quarry. The climb up from the quarry is pretty relentless with multiple steep rocky sections. Since it starts at the base of the hill, it’s also a long hike that wore me out.
Thanks, EJ! Yep, Jeff Kent is spot-on. The trail doesn’t go close to the edge of the quarry. The issue would be how much of a hike your kids are up for — this is a steep climb, but not a scramble. You could always plan on making Table Rocks your final destination, and see if your kids are pumped up to keep going from there.
Thanks so much for your awesome guide! We went to Fishkill Ridge last weekend using your guide and this weekend I think we will do the MT Taurus day plan you have here. We are new to the area (from Seattle) so we have really enjoyed using your detailed guide to hikes in the NYC area. Maybe we’ll see you on the trail some day!
Welcome to the Hudson Valley! So glad to hear that these guides have been useful for you in exploring the area. Hope you like what you’ve seen so far!
Are there other nearby trails to Cold Spring that are not as far as Bull Hill? I read somewhere that the trailhead is not that far from the train station.
Bull Hill (and Little Stony Point right across the street) are the closest to the center of town, as far as I know. Breakneck Ridge, a mile up the road, has its own weekend-only MTA stop. Constitution Marsh and Indian Brook Falls are also very close, but would be a long-ish walk from town. Hope that helps!
This is a rough hike, but the views are well worth it I ran into a guy who said he hikes a lot and this is the hardest one he’s done. As for the disappearing white trail blazes…once you start climbing, don’t stick too close to the edge of the quarry, even if you see people there like I did. That trail is RIGHT on the ledge and not for the faint of heart. Instead, look for a pipe on the right side of the main trail…follow the pipe off to the right and you’ll stick to the white trail.
Wish I had read this before! Me and my mom blazed our own barely hiked path up the side away from the edge. Not sure how we missed all the white markers, but eventually we did reconnect to the trail.
Glad you found the trail again! I’ve updated that section of the trail guide with a link to Jeff’s comment. Hope that’ll help future hikers – thanks for your feedback!
Is this hike possible for new to Hiking people and close to the metro north?
Google Maps gives it as 1.0 miles and 20 minutes walking from the Cold Spring Metro North station to the Bull Hill trailhead. Not ideal, but doable. Someone new to hiking could do this hike, but it is a tough one. You could always bail after seeing the view at Table Rocks if it’s no longer enjoyable to keep climbing. Hope that helps!
Thanks! I think we might try it
I just came back today and taking the metro north is totally doable. It might take you a little longer, but it’s not difficult at all. Very straight forward and simple. I highly recommend it!
Thanks for the great guide! We printed it out for our hike last weekend, and passed some other hikers who were using it as well. There seem to be some trail markers missing around step 5, but we eventually sorted it out thanks to people coming down who had gotten lost there as well. All the photos and time estimates were very helpful! Looking forward to trying another one soon.
That’s too cool! I still haven’t bumped into anyone using my guides out on the trail, but that would really make my day. As for the part about getting lost at step 5, that is far less cool. Is there anything I could have changed in the guide to make it clearer? My guess is that you successfully made the U-turn at the quarry, then lost the white blazes as they headed up to Table Rocks. They re-routed the trail through that section a while back, and it can be difficult to pick up the next trail marker. I’ll put a warning at step 5 above — let me know if that doesn’t do the trick, and thanks for the helpful feedback!
Yes, that was the trouble spot — no markers to be seen for quite awhile. That warning should help people out, thanks!
If you do the loop described by the NY-NJ Trail Conference, it is 4.9 miles – honest to goodness. I plotted it with my GPS. It took me 3 hours with several stops to take in the sights. Once you get to the top of Bull Hill, the rest is either flat or downhill. It’s a great way to relax after hiking up the Bull! The Blue trail takes you through a nice section of woods and through a really cool cairn garden. It’s super trippy. The Red trail runs along a swift moving stream with mini waterfalls. Finally the Blue Cornish trail takes you through the old estate. I definitely recommend the loop as opposed to going up Bull Hill and back down. Trust me – this is a lot more fulfilling!
Ed, thanks for the information and recommendations! This is my frustration with GPS units – they can give wildly different results. On my last visit here, I did the loop to the Cornish Estate, coming back on the Undercliff Trail (too much up-and-down to recommend in the trail guide, I think – you end up climbing Bull Hill twice this way). This should be a bit shorter than the loop returning on the Cornish Trail described by the NY-NJTC (which would be a much better way to make a loop here, just as you recommend), and my GPS clocked my hike at 7.7 miles. It felt like 7.7 miles, too. 4.9 sounds low to me, but it’s possible your GPS gave you better results than mine gave me. And like I said above, I’d trust the NY-NJTC way before I’d trust me, too. Can somebody bring a tape measure out here?
You’re welcome, Mike! I’ve used the yellow Undercliff trail as well, except I tuned onto it while still on my way up the Washburn trail. I took that to red trail to the Blue Cornish Trail. I measured that loop at 4.3. So if you went to the summit of Bull Hill first and then doubled back to the yellow Undercliff Trail, you added at least 1.3 miles to the loop I did. So at the very least you did 5.6 miles! I have an older Garmin GPSmap 76CSx. I clear the track log right as I start my hikes. when I finish, I save the track and import it into the Garmin Case Camp software and that is where I get my distances from (as well as an elevation profile). I did notice that the Trip page of my GPS always reads longer. I’ve started using an app on my phone called Run the Map as a backup and it has been very close to imported tracks.
Anyway, thanks again for this awesome website. I’d highly recommend that people download the free Android and iPhone app called PDF Maps. You can then purchase NY-NJ Trails – 102 – East Hudson (North) for $3.99. This covers from Mt. Beacon down to Cold Spring. I also purchased NY-NJ Trails – 113 – West Hudson (East) which includes Storm King to Black Rock Forrest. These maps are just like the NY-NJTC printed maps and it will show your location right on the map! This way people can make their own hikes and add pinpoints to highlight places they would like to share 🙂
Ah, that makes way more sense! On my trip, I went on the Washburn all the way over Bull Hill and down to the Cornish Estate, then took the Undercliff back up, trying to make sure I hit all the views, but it’s not a route I’d recommend. I really like your suggestion — Washburn up to the money spot described in this trail guide, then back down to Undercliff all the way down to the Cornish Estate, then Cornish Trail back to the parking lot – that would be a really nice way to hit the highlights without overdoing it. I’ll probably try that next time I’m here. Glad we had this conversation!
And I’ll have to add that app to the recommended resources section of the FAQ, too. Very cool. Thanks for all of your comments!
My girlfriend and I followed this exact path (White-Blue-Red-Blue) and it certainly was very fulfilling. Walking along the brook and then seeing the estate made it the perfect journey. We’re thinking of getting really crazy and doing Bull Hill + Breakneck (White-Blue-Red-Yellow-White) or (White-Yellow-White-Red-Yellow).
Thanks to both of you!
P.S. Here’s the general PDF map we used (just in case): link
Hi! Thanks for posting and sharing…we use your site to figure out which hikes we want to do depending upon the time we have and how much energy we want to waste. 🙂
Keep it up!
Very cool! Thanks for the kind words, and happy hiking out there!
Hi! I did this hike today, as well as Bash Bish Falls & Little Stony Point, using your guides. I just want to say, thank you so much for creating this resource! So often there is NO info about a hike out there, and usually I don’t mind striking out and having an adventure, but hiking alone, far from home and on a tight schedule, it was nice to have some honest and solid info in my pocket. I might not have tried these hikes if you hadn’t made the info so accessible! Many, many thanks. 🙂
Awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I’m really glad to hear that these guides have been useful to you, and that you’ve been having some good new adventures. And also that these guides didn’t lead you into the wilderness. I mean, further into the wilderness than they were supposed to.
Here’s to many more happy trails!