December 4, 2016 – Cold Spring, NY
Length: approximately 3.5 miles
Route type: up and back/circuit
Map: East Hudson Trails
I hiked to the Cornish Estate Ruins (also known as Northgate) the previous day and wanted to go back and explore the ruins some more. I decided to go up the easy way as I was still recovering from hiking Bull Hill. I added Little Stony Point to the hike because I have always wanted to check it out, but didn’t want to drive 45 minutes for a short excursion. I combined the two and enjoyed an easy scenic hike on a gorgeous Sunday morning in December.
Little Stony Point, at just over 25 acres is part of the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve. It seems that many years ago, Little Stony Point was separated from the mainland by water. Quarrying operations filled in the water to provide easier shipping of their gravel from the point. In 1967, LSP was purchased by the Georgia Pacific Company as a proposed site for a wallboard manufacturing plant. The Hudson River Valley Commission stepped in, convinced then Governor Nelson Rockefeller to intervene and the plant was established in Verplanck instead. That same year, funding from the Rockefeller Family Foundation was used to purchase LSP as part of the Hudson Highlands State Park.
We arrived at the Little Stony Point/Washburn Trail parking area just after 9am. It was a sunny Sunday morning in December with temps in the low to mid 40’s. Although I was a little sore from the previous days hike, I was ready to go. We began at the trailhead at the northern section of the parking area and picked up the blue-blazed Cornish Trail. This trail is only a mile long, but we would reach the ruins at about .75 miles in. It starts out as a footpath alongside Route 9D through the woods.
In a short distance, it reaches the paved driveway of the former estate and begins to veer away from the road and up the hill.
When we arrived at the site of the Northgate ruins, I saw something just to the left of the driveway in the woods a bit. I bushwacked towards it and then I realized it was the inground pool. I guess I was so tired the previous day that I missed it.
We then walked over to the mansion and captured a few images with my wide angle lens, which I never carry on longer hikes due to the weight. In the image below you can see Storm King Mountain through the trees on the right.
I captured a few more images from several different angles. We were there early enough so that no one else was around.
As I was standing there, a Bald Eagle was hovering just above the treetops. I was able to grab a shot of it before it flew higher.
I began to wander around and ended up rock hopping the stream to check out some ruined buildings on the other side. I found out later that all I had to do was walk around the mansion and a trail with a bridge led to the same area. That trail was blazed red and it was the tail end of the Brook Trail. It led me to an old pumphouse.
Just past the pumphouse was a really nice waterfall that cascaded down Breakneck Brook.
The falls ran under a rustic stone bridge that was pretty cool looking.
Then the brook ran over a dam which created another small waterfall. I could have gotten a better angle, but the slope was a little steep and I wasn’t feeling too adventurous on this day.
There were several other ruined buildings throughout the woods. I was glad that I came back here. There was a lot that I had missed. When we were done, we retraced our steps back to the Cornish Trail and made our way back to the parking area. After a brief rest, we crossed the road and made our way to Little Stony Point.
I had read a hike description, but had failed to print it out. The area is small so I figured we would just wander. After hiking through, I determined that by staying to the right at all forks, leads you on a loop of the park. We instead crossed the bridge over the tracks and hiked up to the cliffs. There we were greeted with a fantastic view north up the Hudson River, with Storm King on the left and Breakneck on the right.
The view south was impressive as well, but the sun was shining bright and right into my lens so I guess you’ll have to take my word for it or check it out for yourself. From there we retraced our steps back by the bridge and walked the crushed stone road down by the river. A very similar view could be had from down there along the shoreline. We walked along the sand as we made our way along the beach. We walked around the cliffs looking for a cave and/or mine that I had read about. It wasn’t difficult to find, given that it is a relatively small park.
I went in to get a better look inside.
The cave got smaller the deeper I entered, I wasn’t about to crawl around in there, so I only went in part way.
This was a nice little spot to visit and I am glad that I did. The highlight for me was the cave. We sat on some driftwood facing south, with the sun shining on us. It was a nice way to end our outing. I was getting hungry and someone forgot the sandwiches. We headed out and made our way back to the parking area. I hope you enjoyed today’s hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. You’ll receive an email every time that I publish a post and you won’t miss out. I welcome any comments or suggestions that you may have as well. As always, get out there and take a hike!