April 10, 2021 – Cortlandt, NY
Difficulty: Moderate – strenuous
Length: Approximately 3 miles
Max elevation: 910 ft. – total elevation gain: approximately 749 ft.
Route type: Out and back
Trailhead parking: Anthony’s Nose U-Bend Parking Lot – Bear Mountain Bridge Rd, Cortlandt, NY 10567 (room for about 6 cars)
Details on hikes to Anthony’s Nose via different routes:
- Anthony’s Nose via Military Road
- Camp Smith Trail
- Anthony’s Nose from South Mountain Pass
- Anthony’s Nose Rock Scramble
- Anthony’s Nose from Route 9D
Anthony’s Nose is a peak along the Hudson River at the north end of Westchester County, New York. Together with Dunderberg Mountain, it comprises the South Gate of the Hudson Highlands. The 910 ft. peak has been known as Anthony’s Nose since at least 1697, when the name appears on a grant patent. Pierre Van Cortlandt, who owned this mountain, said it was named for a pre-Revolutionary War sea captain, Anthony Hogan. This captain was reputed to have a Cyrano de Bergerac type nose.
Anthony’s Nose is one of the more popular hikes in the Hudson Valley and on weekends the cars are lined up along Route 9D as a testament to its popularity. The short, but steep hike to the summit offers some spectacular views up and down the Hudson River. There are several approaches to the summit with varying degrees of difficulty, but none are easy due to the sometimes rough terrain and/or sudden elevation gain. Due to the crowds, this is a hike better done on weekdays.
Anthony’s Nose was strategically important during the American Revolution. The road at its base along the Hudson River (present day US 202) was a choke-point in the Hudson Highlands north of Peekskill. The only wagon road on the east side of the Hudson River, the Albany Post Road, ran from NYC to Albany, and passed along the river here. It could be easily defended from atop the steep rock face.
During 1777, George Washington ordered the construction of a large chain across the Hudson from the shore near Anthony’s Nose to the opposite shore below Fort Montgomery. Although meant to keep the British ships from passing, it didn’t work. The chain was sunk after several well placed British cannon shots. It was blown to bits and on October 6, 1777, the British sailed through the opening, destroyed Fort Constitution, attacked Forts Montgomery and Clinton and sailed up to Kingston and burned most of the city to the ground. During April 1780, the chain was again stretched across the river and taken out of the water on October 16 (after the defection of Benedict Arnold). On April 10, 1781 the chain was once more reinstalled across the river.
The Bear Mountain Bridge was constructed in 1924 along approximately the same alignment where the chain was laid out. An airway beacon was once located on the summit.
Please Note: Camp Smith (military reservation) is about 50 feet to the right of the trail in most places on the way to the Nose. It is heavily used by the military and may include live gunfire. For your safety, you must stay on the marked trail. Many places to the left of the trail there are steep cliffs that drop down to the Bear Mountain Road. For your safety and the motorists below, please stay on the trail lest you dislodge rocks onto the cars.
This hike climbs Anthony’s Nose from the south and begins at a smaller parking area on Route 6/202 at a large bend in the road, 2.2 miles north of the entrance to Camp Smith, also known as the U-Bend Parking Lot. Since the trailhead parking is smaller, there is a lot less foot traffic than from the trailhead on Route 9D.
You still wind up at the same great viewpoint, which more times than not, is crowded on a nice day. There are also several viewpoints along this route that give hikers a different look.
The climb is steep, gaining over 250 feet in elevation in the first 1/2 mile and almost 500 feet by the first mile. There are several sections that are somewhat level along the way that give a reprieve from the steep climb. The trail travels through very rocky sections and over open rock slabs. Probably not a good hike under wet conditions.
The trail is well marked, but one should keep their eyes on the blazes so as not to wander onto Camp Smith property on one of the unmarked trails. There are numerous signs along the boundary to let you know.
This hike is a basic out and back, which means that you will be returning the way you came. Since the mountain borders a busy road on one side and Camp Smith on the other, a loop is not possible here.
You can see by the elevation profile the steepness of the climb and the descent on the way back.
From the parking area, head into the woods past the kiosk and turn left on the blue-blazed Camp Smith Trail.
Heading north towards Anthony’s Nose, the trail crosses Broccy Creek and leads gradually uphill, parallel to the road.
After turning away from the road, it joins and leaves woods roads and crosses streams.
Rising out of a ravine, in about a 1/2 mile, the trail turns right onto a rock outcropping with views of the Hudson River, Iona Island, and Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park.
The view was somewhat obscured by the early morning fog.
The same viewpoint on our way back around noon.
Paralleling the river high over the road, the trail first drops slightly then begins to climb steeply. In another 0.3 mile, another rock outcropping with a view offers an excuse to stop before tackling the remaining unrelenting assault up Anthony’s Nose. Along the next 0.4 mile, there are both seasonal and year-round views from open rock slabs.
The trail drops down off the summit and turns right to join a woods road, but you should continue straight ahead to panoramic views of the Hudson River, the Bear Mountain Bridge, and Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park.
When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back to the woods road that you crossed to get to the overlook. Turn left on the woods road (the continuation of the Camp Smith Trail) and head north, following the sign for the Appalachian Trail. Continue on the woods road for about 400 feet. Look for a faint footpath to the left of the trail. Follow this unmarked trail a short distance uphill towards some concrete footings. This was the site of an airway beacon that once stood guard on Anthony’s Nose. There are two survey markers, one on the footing and one on a rock slab nearby.
Continue past the concrete footings a short distance to a large slanted rock slab with views to the north of the Hudson River.
There are at least three more survey markers in close proximity at this viewpoint.
When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back to the Camp Smith Trail and turn right (south). When you arrive back at the junction with the Overlook, turn left and follow the blue blazes of the Camp Smith Trail south, now retracing your steps, for another 1.4 miles back to the U-Bend Parking Lot, where the hike began.
Another great Hudson Valley hike. Although the viewpoint can get crowded, depending on which day and what time you get there, the views are totally worth it. This approach, from the U-Bend Parking Lot offers more views and sees less foot traffic. On the way back, I don’t remember passing any other hikers. This hike is best done on a weekday when there are less people on the trails. The small parking lot fills up early. We got there just before 8am on a Saturday and got the last spot.
Anthony’s Nose, American Flag, Hudson Valley views, Hudson River, well marked trail, survey markers.
Popular spot that does get crowded.
Take a hike!