November 5, 2022 – Haverstraw, NY
Length: Approximately 4.5 miles
Max elevation: 131 ft.– total elevation gain approximately 373 ft.
Route type: Out and back
Buy Map (Paper & Avenza): Hudson Palisades Trails Map #111 (2018)
Trailhead parking: Hudson River Greenway trailhead & parking
Riverside Ave, Haverstraw, NY 10927
Paved parking area for about 8 cars – No restrooms on site
The park is open year-round, from dawn to dusk.
The 73-acre Haverstraw Beach State Park is nestled between the high cliffs of Hook Mountain and the Hudson River. It is a component of the larger Rockland Lake State Park complex. The park complex is located on the Hudson River in central Rockland County in the lower Hudson Valley. Haverstraw Beach State Park is minimally developed, and is NOT a swimming beach, but primarily offers trails for biking, hiking and dog-walking. Scenic vistas overlooking the Hudson River, can be found within the park. The Hook Mountain/Nyack Beach Bikeway/River Trail runs through the park.
Haverstraw Beach, Rockland Lake, Hook Mountain and Nyack Beach state parks are together nearly 2,000 acres of public land. The four adjacent state parks are linked together by hiking and biking trails and function as one park system.
The park complex is located in the Palisades Region that is jointly administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).
In Dutch, “Haverstroo” means “oat straw,” possibly suggested by the wild oats that grew at the waterfront beds of natural clay in the area. This clay helped the Haverstraw area play a significant role in the brick industry, due to the clay content in the soil and the large quantity of wood available nearby, including wood from Hook Mountain that was needed to fire the furnaces. Some evidence from this time period remains in the area in the form of ruins and discarded bricks.
On the night of September 21st, 1780, British spy Major John André traveled north on a British sloop, the H.M.S. Vulture. At the same time, American General Benedict Arnold traveled south from West Point to Haverstraw. Arnold met Andre along the Hudson River shoreline near Haverstraw’s Dutchtown in the early morning hours of September 22, 1780. A stone marker identifies the place where Andre landed (Andre’s Dock).
The H.M.S. Vulture was anchored in Haverstraw Bay just off Teller’s Point (Croton Point Park), while a rowboat brought André ashore for the meeting with Arnold. A historical marker along the River Trail designates the area where American General Benedict Arnold met secretly with British Major John André in the pre-dawn darkness on September 22, 1780 in order to finalize plans for Arnold’s betrayal of West Point to the British.
The park’s location was formerly known as Snedeker’s Landing then later on Waldberg Landing. Early in the 19th Century the Snedeker family’s landing on the Hudson shore below, came into use for local shipping. In 1845 the Snedekers established a shipyard with marine railway for repairing brickyard vessels and a dock for scheduled steamboats. The entire yard was demolished by fire in 1854 and abandoned. Later during the Conger family ownership it became known as Waldberg Landing.
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission purchased what was to become the park in 1911 to protect the land from the effects of quarrying that were impacting the Hudson River Palisades during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many of the historic structures and sites found on Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach and Haverstraw Beach State Parks are remnants of a former park complex developed by PIPC after the purchase of the land in 1911.
The Long Path runs along the escarpment above, while a bike path follows the river’s edge from Haverstraw Beach State Park in “Dutchtown,” a quaint section of Haverstraw, to Nyack Beach State Park in Upper Nyack. Visitors can bike, hike, walk, or run for almost 5 uninterrupted miles along the Hudson River. The River Trail is the only trail along the lower Hudson River in New York, that does not share its waterfront with a train line or highway. The Long Path parallels this trail high above atop the cliffs.
Three connecting trails to the Long Path, one each at the north, south, and middle points of the magnificent facade of Hook Mountain, allow for circular hikes of varying lengths. The full loop of the Long Path and bike path is 12 miles.
The section of the River Trail chronicled here, runs near the base of Hook Mountain and is part of Hudson River Valley Greenway. The approximately 10-foot wide path is paved at the northern end, but transitions to crumbling asphalt then gravel as it heads south.
Looking to get outside on a warm November day, I was looking for more of an easy stroll than an actual hike. Originally, I was going to walk the River Trail from Nyack Beach State Park, but having walked that section numerous times, decided to start at the northern end in Haverstraw. I also wanted to check out “Treason Rock” also known as “Traitor’s Rock.” An engraved boulder on the shore of the Hudson River, marking the spot where Major John André landed in Haverstraw to plot the surrender of West Point with General Benedict Arnold. The problem is, the engraved boulder can only be viewed during low tide. I will have to go back another time to actually see it. The NY-NJ Trail Conference map shows Treason Rock on land, but it is actually on the shore of the river.
This section of the River Trail is less popular and thus less traveled than the area around Nyack Beach State Park. There being only 8 parking spaces may be one of the reasons that this section sees less foot traffic. We saw about a 1/2 dozen people walking and about the same amount of bikers. Unlike the section at Nyack Beach State Park which runs mostly at river level, the River Trail in Haverstraw Beach State Park runs higher above the river with a few spur trails that descend to river level.
This is an easy out and back which can be easily turned into a longer and more challenging hike by utilizing the Long Path, or continuing along the River Trail 4.9 miles to Nyack Beach State Park.
As you can see below, the River Trail is mostly moderate rolling terrain, with little elevation gain.
This hike begins at the Hudson River Greenway trailhead parking area, at the end of Riverside Avenue, where there are lined parking spaces for 8 vehicles.
Proceed past the gate on the paved River Trail. This is a multi-use path so be vigilant of passing two-wheelers and runners.
As you walk south on the River Trail, the Hudson River is visible through the trees on the left. In about 250 yards, there is a historical marker alongside the pathway detailing American General Benedict Arnold’s meeting with British spy John André.
In about 0.3 mile from the parking area, there is a footpath on the left that leads down to old Redstone Beach, which was abandoned sometime after World War II. We continued past and explored this area on the way back.
Just ahead are the remains of the caretaker’s home, barely visible through the vegetation.
A short distance ahead, there is a deteriorated old park building on the left.
Soon, the River Trail passes stone quarries that were abandoned in the early 1900’s. A few hundred yards south, one can see the foundation and massive concrete footings of the Foss stone crusher (Wilson Perkins Foss), down below on the left.
The River Trail climbs gradually and passes a concrete and brick shelter built into the hillside. Possibly a crude blast shelter to protect workers from blasts, explosions and rock slides during quarry operations.
Fencing has been placed at points of erosion to warn visitors of steep slopes and reduce the risk of accidents.
About 1.5 miles from the start, the River Trail comes to a viewpoint over the Hudson River and Croton Point Park. There are a couple of large stone blocks placed here to sit upon. This makes for a good spot to take a break and enjoy the view.
I spotted something floating in the river, possibly a personal flotation device that fell out of a boat.
The viewpoint makes for a good turnaround spot, but we continued south for a short distance and were glad that we did.
A large hollowed out fallen tree which would make a nice shelter for some critters.
I happened to spot a Bald Eagle perched on a tree overlooking the river. He stayed there posing for us for quite some time, then flew off looking for something to eat I presume.
We then retraced our steps on the River Trail and when we got to the footpath to Redstone Beach, we turned right and descended towards the river’s edge.
The area is now in ruins and a little overgrown, but in its heyday was quite active. There are remnants of park benches and walkways designed to accommodate visitors who used the Hudson River for swimming and other recreational activities.
What remains of an old park building, possibly a changing room for beach-goers, is situated close to the edge of the river.
Shoreline view of the Hudson River east to Croton-on-Hudson in Westchester County.
Looking south, that strip of land jutting out into the river behind the buoy, is Teller’s Point in Croton Point Park
Looking directly across the Hudson River to Croton-On-Hudson.
Looking north towards Haverstraw and beyond.
This location throughout history has had a number of names. originally it was called Snedekers Landing, then Waldberg Landing, and finally Redstone Beach.
The concrete table tops are pretty much intact, but have been separated from the legs.
A small park building, a concession stand perhaps?
After exploring Redstone Beach for a bit, we returned to the River Trail, turned right and walked back to the parking area, where the hike began.
A really nice walk with little foot traffic. The trail is mostly shaded and with minimal elevation gain, makes it ideal for a hot summer day. In winter, probably a good spot to view Bald Eagles and other birds of prey. In Autumn, the scenery is quite nice.
Easy walking trail, historical features, Hudson River views. wildlife.
Take a hike!
- Haverstraw Beach State Park
- South of the Mountains 1993-10, Vol. 37, No. 4
- Hudson River Valley Greenway
- Treason Site Historical Marker
- Treason Rock
- Wilson Perkins Foss – Find a Grave
- Revisiting Upper Nyack’s Most Expensive Estate – Wilson P. Foss