14 Stunning Hiking Trails in Cold Spring, New York

Yup, affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome article. We'll receive a commission when you purchase items from those links (they won't cost you anything extra). All the details are here in affiliate disclosure.

Hiking in Cold Spring, New York

If you're looking for an outdoor adventure, Cold Spring, New York is the place to be. With stunning hiking trails and breathtaking views, you'll never want to leave.

From easy hikes that the whole family can enjoy to more challenging trails for experienced hikers, there's something for everyone in Cold Spring. So grab your boots and get ready to hit the trails!

{tocify} $title={Table of Contents}

Benefits of Hiking in Cold Spring

There are many reasons why you might want to hike in Cold Spring, and it can be tailored to fit your needs and personality!

1. Anyone can do it: Hiking is a wholesome and simple pastime that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age or fitness level.

2. It's free: There are many hiking trails around Cold Spring for free, depending on the length of your hike.

3. Stunning views: The trails in Cold Spring are just waiting to be discovered by you. Whether it's exploring the beauty of nature or testing your limits as an athlete, this area has something for everyone!

4. Mental benefits: Hiking can be very good for your mental health! Taking a hike in a natural environment can be calming and rejuvenating for the mind.

5. Can be done alone or with friends: Hiking is a great way to get out and exercise. It's also fun to do it with friends, but hiking solo can be just as enjoyable!

6. Many trails to choose from: Cold Spring is a city of many trails, all with their unique flair. You'll find the perfect one for you if your preference is gentle inclines or steep drops!

Best Cold Spring Hiking Trails

People who want to get out and explore may be surprised by how many natural areas there are not too far from urban comforts. 

We think one such area is Cold Spring, which has all different types of terrain for hiking or wildlife watching!

Easy Cold Spring Hikes

  • Old Mine Loop Trail

Easy Hiking Trails in Cold Spring
Length: 3.7 miles Elevation gain: 97 m Guide

Old Mine Trail is a 6.0-kilometer loop trail located in Clarence Fahnestock State Park in Cold Spring, New York.

This is an excellent hike for all levels, with views of three different lakes.

The trail starts by crossing the dam at  Robinsons Pond and follows the eastern shore of this lake, where you get a view of both Robin's Point and Three Brothers Islands.

From here, the trail crosses an intersection with a bridge that leads to a picnic area on Porter Island. Not far after this is another bridge; this one leads to the Old Mine Road Trail.

Heading south along this trail brings you to Peas Eddy Lake and another intersection. Following straight will take you to the second lake in the Three Lakes Loop, Great Gully Pond, and a tiny island (patrolled by Blue Herons).

Turning right will take you on a more direct path to the final stop, the third lake. This lake is also known as Little Gully Pond. Here you can see the remains of an old mine shaft and plenty of wildlife such as turtles and ducks.

As always, hike safely! Carry water, dress for the weather and wear proper footwear. Also, keep children close by as this is bear country, and they can show up at any time.

  • Little Stony Point Short Loop Trail

Hiking trails beside river
Length: 0.9 miles Elevation gain: 25 m Guide

The Little Stony Point Short Loop is a nice 1.4-kilometer loop trail found within the Little Stony Point County Park located on the Hudson River in Putnam County, New York.

The short hike begins at the Little Stony Point parking area off of New York State Route 403.

The hike itself is easy, leading to a rock outcropping, which provides visitors with an excellent view of the Hudson River, West Point, and Bear Mountain Bridge.

The lovely views from the high ground at the Little Stony Point Short-Loop make it a perfect location for a picnic or family outing.

The Little Stony Point Short-Loop can be done during any season and is especially lovely in the fall when changing leaf colors of trees and shrubs paint the landscape.

Though not a challenging hike by any means, this short loop does have some rocky terrain and a few significant elevation changes. In addition, there are a few portions of the trail where the footing is loose rock and dirt. When doing this hike in wet conditions, it can be rather muddy and slippery too.

But if you're not concerned about getting your hiking boots/shoes dirty, then this short loop trail makes for an enjoyable quick hike any time of the year. 

The Little Stony Point Short-Loop hike is a great workout and suitable for families with small children because it's easy and short enough to ensure that even beginners can make their way around the loop without much trouble.

  • Cornish Estate Trail

Spring park trail
Length: 1.8 miles Elevation gain: 58 m Guide

Looking to get outside but don't want to overdo it?

Cornish Estate Trail is perfect.

This easy, heavily trafficked out and back trail in Cold Spring features a river running alongside the entire route, so there's always an excuse to stop for a break.

The track is heavily trafficked, so you'll never feel isolated or alone even though the trees provide ample shade and block out most of the noise from nearby traffic.

Deer are often spotted along this path as well, especially in the early morning hours when they're looking for food before heading back into their forest homes at nightfall.

This makes it easy to enjoy nature without having to worry about coming face-to-face with an angry bear (though there's always that chance).

If you want more than just a stroll through fields and alongside rivers, head up onto one of the rocky hills on either side of your current location, where you can get some great views of both the river and forest.

Pro tip: Don't forget to pack your camera so you can get a few shots of the surrounding beauty before heading back along this trail! 

Moderate Cold Spring Hikes

  • Bull Hill Short Loop Trail

Amazing mountain view during hiking
Length: 4.3 miles Elevation gain: 345 m Guide

Bull Hill Short Loop is a 6.9 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Cold Spring, New York, featuring a river rated as moderate.

The track is primarily used for hiking, running, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round.

The Bull Hill, Short Loop trailhead, is just south of Cold Spring, NY, on Old Route 9D off River Road.

The loop starts by taking you westward up some stone steps, which then begin to level out into a gentle hill.

To complete the loop, take your first right at this intersection and follow the orange blazes downhill.

After heading down the hill, you will pass a small pond and after handing over an old bridge, take your first right onto the red/yellow-blazed Bull Hill Connector.

From here, head right and follow the red/yellow-blazed Bull Hill Connector back uphill to where you passed the pond. Continue on this path until you meet up with the blue-blazed River Trail.

Once back on River Trail, turn right and stay on it as it loops towards the trailhead.

The Bull Hill Short Loop is easily one of the favorite trails for hikers. It has everything you could want in a short hike: Beautiful views, Stone steps, and bridges.

Be sure to check out Bear Mountain State Park's website for more information on trails within this park. It is accessible year-round, so be sure to check out this trail if you are in the area during the winter months!

  • Bull Hill Full Loop Trail

Length: 5.4 miles Elevation gain: 424 m Guide

The Bull Hill Full Loop is an 8.7-kilometer hike that features views of Rock Rift Falls, High Falls at Thendara, and the Hudson River Valley, along with the mountains of The Adirondacks.

This loop can be used by hikers at any time - day or night!

Although this hike may not be for everyone, it's best hiked during April through October - the sooner, the better to avoid inclement weather.

The hike is best when started with rain or snow; in fact, hikers can expect to see the most beautiful views in higher elevations when it's snowing.

The most challenging part of the hike is getting to the trailhead since it requires a car or a run upstate. From there, it's just the typical hike up the mountain.

Hikers are advised to bring bug spray on this hike during the summer months as there are plenty of mosquitoes in the mountains. 

Other than that, it's also recommended to bring water, snacks like granola bars or trail mix (be sure to bring it back with you), a camera, of course, and hiking gear.

It is best to go on this hike from April until October since the weather conditions are favorable to hiking on this route during those months more often than others. Since the loop is 8.7 kilometers, hikers should be sure to leave at least four hours to complete the hike.

Pro Tip: If you want to avoid the crowds at Rock Rift Falls, keep going past Phoenix Flow and up Phoenix Mountain.

  • Breakneck Ridge, Undercliff, Green Blazes, and Brook Loop Trail

Hard hikes near Cold Spring with river view
Length: 2.7 miles Elevation gain: 338 m Guide

If you're looking for a challenging hike, the Breakneck Ridge Trail is for you! It's right next to the Undercliff and Green Blazes Loop Trail if you want to add a bit more of a challenge.

The terrain changes quite a bit, and there is a lot of variety in the types of things you'll see and hear - from barking dogs and mysterious rustling in the brush to serene sections where you can only hear the sound of waves crashing on rocks or seagulls in the distance.

Visitors to these trails can enjoy a view of Long Island Sound, Long Island and may see migrating birds. In addition, the track is graced by a variety of flowers in season. Visitors can find other wildlife such as chipmunks and other small mammals.

You can easily get lost in your thoughts while hiking this trail because it combines excellent views with low difficulty.

Along your way, you can stop and rest on one of several benches provided along the route or take a quick snack break at the pavilion. The hike begins at the parking lot, where you can also find changing rooms.

You can find several maps along the trail, so try using a map if you're ever feeling lost.

Pro tip:  If you do some research ahead of time and know your trails, this one won't pose a problem and will be a fun and rewarding way to spend a day outside.

  • Anthony's Nose Hiking Trail

Hiking through narrow bridge in Cold Spring
Length: 1.9 miles Elevation gain: 206 m Guide

Anthony's Nose is a 3.1 km trail near Cold Spring, New York, attracting people of all ages, especially winter hikers.

The route is easy to find and has a scenic river running through it. There are also many side trails for exploring if you want to take a break from the main course.

Fact: Anthony's Nose was named after Anthony Van Corlaer, the first non-Native American to settle in the area.

Aside from being an exciting part of local history, Anthony's Nose is also a great place to see some beautiful scenery and get some exercise without much effort. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for somewhere new to take your dog on a walk, this trail offers a little bit of something for everyone.

The first half of the trail is pretty steep and climbs up a mountain, but after that point, it levels out and becomes very wide with deep grooves from hikers' boots.

There are many different trails you can take on this hike to make it shorter or longer, depending on how much time you have.

The main trail is 3.1 km, but if you are up for a bigger challenge, a 6.2 km trail runs along the river instead of through the woods. If you want to keep it short, take the 0.6 km loop near the parking area or explore some of the side trails as mentioned before.

  • East Mountain and Round Hill Loop Trail

Moderate must do hikes near Cold Spring
Length: 7.5 miles Elevation gain: 419 m Guide

East Mountain and Round Hill Loop Trail is a must-do adventure for anyone looking to spend the weekend exploring the Hudson Valley.

The trail offers some of the most incredible views you will find in New York's Catskill Mountains! And, it includes a waterfall, which is always a welcome addition to any hike.

East Mountain and Round Hill trail is a 12.1 kilometer moderately trafficked loop located near Cold Spring. It features a waterfall, making it perfect for both adventurers of any fitness level!

The climb is moderate in difficulty but never becomes too steep, so it's appropriate for all hikers. If you're looking for a more strenuous workout, head left at the blue blaze and continue instead.

The entire loop can be completed in around two hours, but hikers have been known to stay on the trail all day! The easy-to-follow trail is blazed with white rectangles, so it's hard to get lost, but always be aware of your surroundings.

The trail crosses over small creeks and rivers, so there are plenty of opportunities for safe water crossings. However, always remember to stay on the trail because it is illegal to go off-roading.

Once you get about 5 kilometers into the hike, you will find the East Mountain Lean-to. This is a great place to rest and rehydrate, so plan on spending some time here.

Pro tip: There is a small but clean stream that runs just downhill from the lean-tos. It's a great spot to refill your water bottles!

  • School Mountain Trail, Fahnestock Trail, Round Hill Bypass Trail

Nature trails for hiking
Length: 4.9 miles Elevation gain: 219 m Guide

The School Mountain Trail, Fahnestock Trail, and Round Hill Bypass Loop is a 7.9-kilometer loop trail near Cold Spring, New York.

There are beautiful wildflowers along this trail, and it makes a great nature trip during the warmer months of the year. The trailhead can be found off St. Andrews Lane, about a mile north of Main Street and St. Andrews Lane in Cold Spring, New York.

The first half of this trail follows School Mountain Trail for about an hour until you reach the other end, meeting with Fahnestock Trail.

This section has several steep inclines along slippery rocks and rugged terrain in some areas.

The second section of this trail follows Fahnestock Trail until you reach the intersection at Round Hill Bypass, which is about an hour into the walk.

This section has more level surfaces with hardly any incline or decline throughout its duration.
If you continue onward from this point on Round Hill Bypass Trail, it will lead you back to the parking area where your car is parked in about three hours.

Overall, this path is rated as easy to moderate due to several areas with steep inclines and declines near the start of the track.

Still, after that, it is primarily an easy flat walk for another 45 minutes or so. The entire trail is about three hours to complete, with many scenic views along the way, including two beautiful bodies of water.

Pro tip: Wear hiking boots or shoes on this trail as it has several slippery areas and rugged terrain. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a snack with you before beginning this hike because there are no places to get food or drinks along the trail.

Hard Cold Spring Hikes

  • Breakneck Ridge, Notch, Brook Loop Hiking Trail

Amazing view from hill during hiking in Cold Spring
Length: 4.3 miles Elevation gain: 440 m Guide

If you're looking for a longer hike with some great views, this is the perfect hike for you.

Breakneck Ridge, Notch, and Brook Loop is a 6.8 kilometers moderately trafficked loop trail that features stunning mountain scenery, great forest settings with views into the mountains beyond its edges or towards Table Mountain hills.

The hike can be difficult but has many rewards, including stunning mountain scenery, as well as some fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities for those who take their time to explore every inch of the mountain paths.

A common question among hikers is if a beginner can do this hike. The answer is yes and no, depending on the individual, but it's certainly not for someone who has very little hiking or backpacking experience.

There are places where one can fall and get hurt if they don't have a general understanding of how to maneuver the terrain.

The elevation of this hike is roughly 1350 feet, not too high, but it will leave the hiker slightly out of breath.

If an inexperienced hiker plans to do this hike, they should prepare for a harrowing experience that requires some degree of physical ability.

  • Beacon Fire Tower via Breakneck Ridge, Wilkinson, and Notch Hiking Trails

Hard yet rewarding trails in Cold Spring
Length: 9.7 miles Elevation gain: 719 m Guide

The hike is a 15.6 kilometer heavily trafficked trail that offers the chance to see wildlife with only an experienced adventurer's guidance.

The trip requires a bit of stamina, but the pinnacle viewpoint makes it worth it. The mountain peak provides spectacular views and a fresh break from the hustle and bustle.

To complete the hike, you will have to take a bus from the Cold Spring train station, about 2 miles away from where this trailhead begins.

The trail is well defined and can be accomplished in about four hours round trip, including one hour to ascend the eastern Breakneck Ridge path to the fire tower summit. Be sure to go early in the day since it gets choked off with hikers later on by midday.

A word to the wise, be mindful of bears that frequent this area, especially if you are carrying bright-colored objects or food. Also, visit during hunting season to be on the safe side. 

This trail is not for inexperienced hikers, and the weather conditions on the mountain prove dangerous, especially in harsh winter months.

Note: If the trailhead is your starting point, the Metro-North station has a parking fee of $10.

  • Bull Hill via the Washburn, Brook, Undercliff, and Notch Hiking Trails

Best hikes near Cold Spring Hard
Length: 6.1 miles Elevation gain: 614 m Guide

This trail is a 9.7-kilometer looping trail located on the east shore of the Hudson River in Cold Spring, New York.

Bull Hill is the main hike of the Washburn trail system and has a variety of trails to choose from, making it an easily accessible day hike.

It includes a combination of old woods roads, fire breaks, and new trail sections through rocky outcroppings. Once on top, there are steep descents down several ledges with rock face exposure.

The beauty of Bull Hill via the Washburn, Notch, Brook, and Undercliff Hiking Trails is breathtaking.
The trails are all about different ecosystems you explore if you're willing to make the trek.

There are many amazing things that you can see in all parts of the hiking trails, but it's best to see them when they're still alive.

The Washburn trail system consists of several Bull Hill trails, including Notch, Brook, and Undercliff Trails.

The Washburn Trail starts at the old train station in Cold Spring, New York. It is marked with red blazes and can be accessed from Main Street. The Washburn Trail is heavily trafficked and can be accessed easily at numerous points throughout Cold Spring.

The Brook Trail starts from the same place as the Washburn Trail but splits off to the left about 100 meters into the hike, marked with blue blazes. The Brook Trail is steeper than the Washburn Trails and consists of several rock outcroppings.

The Undercliff Trail is not marked with blazes but is easily identifiable as it follows an old woods road. It splits off to the left about 400 meters into the hike and is marked by a big fallen log at the Brook Trail intersection with green paint keeping it.

The Undercliff Trails splits off to the right about 1 km into the hike, marking the spot where you will leave the Undercliff Trail if you head straight.

The Notch Trail starts at the same place as the others and is marked with red blazes. It is steeper than Washburn Trails but not quite as steep as Brook Trail.

The Notch Trail is also known as the North Washburn Trail or Bull Hill Trail, although it does not lead to Bull Hill. It ends about 1.5 km into the hike near some communications towers on top of a hill, making for an exciting destination if you are looking for more adventure.

Notch Trail is the only trail in the Washburn System where dogs are allowed. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times so as not to disturb other hikers.

The Bull Hill via Washburn trails is rated moderate/difficult and should take about 5 hours to complete if you include time for stops. The trails are very rocky but are not considered difficult if you are physically fit.

Pro tip: Carry a map of the trails with you! It is not difficult to get lost if you're not familiar with the routes.

  • Breakneck Ridge Trail to Peak

Hiking in the hill peak near New York
Length: 1.8 miles Elevation gain: 354 m Guide

The Breakneck Ridge Trail to Peak is a challenging yet rewarding hike for experienced and want the best views in this part of New York.

The trailhead for this hike is located at the end of Fort Montgomery St. in Fort Montgomery, New York. From the city of Beacon, which is about 30 miles north of Breakneck Ridge.

The Breakneck Ridge Trail to Peak begins with a descent into a rock gulley (0.1 miles) and continues downward primarily to the northern terminus of the blue-blazed Loj Road near a quarry (0.8 miles).

The trail continues descending along the rocky terrain before leveling out at about 1 mile in. Once you reach this point, it's mainly uphill to the peak.

The trails on offer with painted blazes will guide you through some beautiful scenery that's not one-sided like most other hills around here!

You will hike this area on very rocky trails with steep, moderate elevation changes. While this area is not flat, it is less difficult than the northern part of the trail in which you will be descending a steep incline.

There are a few sections in which the trail becomes much rockier and more uneven. Be careful to observe your step during these sections to avoid any injury from slipping or rolling an ankle.
Hikers return from this trail very sweaty and tired with big smiles on their faces.

Pro tip: Hikers have seen spotted deer, porcupines, turkey, birds, and other wildlife on this hike. Hikers may want to pack a pair of binoculars for this trail if they are interested in these sorts of things.

  • Breakneck Ridge Trail to Casino Trail

Best nature hiking trails
Length: 5.7 miles Elevation gain: 686 m Guide

This challenging trail is known to be a demanding hike with a river.

The scenery on the trail is often breathtaking, and you can go on this hike all year long (except in times of heavy snow).

This trail takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of the Catskill Mountains.

The Breakneck Ridge Trail starts at an elevation of about 2100ft. At lower elevations, there are many spots to see waterfalls, cascades, and even small lakes.

You'll also typically see wildlife like bears, deer, and coyotes. As you climb higher up the mountain, you'll find fewer trees but more cliffs to walk alongside. Along the way, stop to take in the views over hilly forests and the Hudson River Valley.

Breakneck Ridge is a steep, rocky, dangerous area with cliffs on both sides where hikers have died. The route up this mountain has recently become more traveled by rock climbers than by hikers due to its almost vertical faces. The hike is said to take about 3 hours round trip.

The Casino Trail, which starts at the intersection by a parking lot at around 2000ft elevation, is 8.6 miles long and takes hikers over some of the most beautiful parts of the Catskill Mountains.

The Casino Trail ends at a parking lot where hikers can also find the Kaaterskill Falls, a gorgeous 200ft waterfall.

Hikers often spend a few hours here to explore the falls and eat lunch before heading back down the mountain on the same trail they used to climb up.

This trail is a little less challenging than the Breakneck Ridge Trail. The hike is said to take about 5.5 hours round trip.

Each has its challenges and rewards, but both offer an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful parts of this region.

Pro tip: If you go during the winter months, bring snow gear and make sure to take the route less traveled. The more used routes will typically be covered in snow and can be dangerous or difficult for travelers without proper equipment.

14 Cold Spring, NY hiking trails


There are so many great hikes in Cold Spring that it can be hard to pick just one. We've put together a list of our favorite trails and hope you find one that best suits your needs! Whether you're looking for a quick stroll or an all-day hike filled with scenic views, we have something here for everyone.

Don't forget to share the post on social media when you're done hiking - who knows? You could end up inspiring someone else's next outdoor adventure!

Get updates from all sorts of things that matter to you!

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post