The frenzy of New York's Grand Central Station fades away just 30 minutes outside of Manhattan. My favorite days of the year are when I'm greeted with the sheer power of the 1,000 foot high hills and serenity of the Hudson River Valley from my window seat on the Metro-North train.
As the sun gleams off the surprisingly placid river Metro-North chugs along past some of the areas' most famed towns. A longtime retreat of native New Yorker's the Valley which ebbs and flows with the Hudson River from Yonkers all the way up to Albany has fully emerged as a must-see destination full of small-town charm. The changing of the seasons begins to warm the city and throngs of locals seek refuge in cooler, quieter locations. Taking advantage of one of the first warm days of Spring a hike was in order.
An hour later I did a double-take as the train came to a staggering halt at the side of a gravel road. Previously only experiencing the pristine and quaint stations of the Valley's other charming towns I stepped out onto the small footstool and imagined what it was like centuries ago as explorers accidentally stumbled upon the beauty of the Hudson River Valley. This was going to be an adventure!
As the train thundered away I looked around at my undisturbed surroundings and realized there was no trailhead marker. This is where the famous small-town charm of the Valley met us head on as a local pointed us in the direction of the Camp Smith Trail. Winding through Manitou's streets and neighborhoods we arrived at the trailhead which unbeknownst to us as also the intersection of the Appalachian Trail.
TIP TO NOTE: Be careful not to veer off Camp Smith and onto the abundantly marked Appalachian Trail as you will end up on the opposite side of the river from your intended lookout point.
Covered by a canopy of trees in the eerily silent backwoods we trekked and traversed to the peak that sparked the trip - Anthony's Nose. Guided by only small blue trail markers and the occasional fellow hiker we began to climb up along the ridge of the Hudson Highlands' South Gate.
Heavily rocky the trail slopes steeply uphill for the majority of the hike occasionally leveling off for a moment or two. As we moved closer and closer to Anthony's Nose the trees began to part and the trail split off. Although unmarked we caught flashes of Fort Montgomery, Bear Mountain Bridge, and State Park off in the distance prompting us to deviate slightly. Anthony's Nose was just a stones throw away!
An hour and a half and 3.3 miles we emerged onto a rocky clearing with the Hudson River right under our feet and seven miles of open views stretching from Iona Island up past the town of Fort Montgomery. The crowded but peaceful edge took my breath away - this is what I came for. After taking in the grandeur while picnicking on our trail snacks we retraced our steps back down the mountain.
TIP TO NOTE: For the car-less adventurer following the trail back the way you came is the preferred exit method, as further exploration will pop you out on a highway on the other side of the mountain miles away from the nearest train station.
Making a slight detour in the neighboring town of Peeskill we waited for the train ice cream in hand staring off into the distance as I pushed back the feeling of the inevitability of my return to the madness of New York City. Turning west towards the river to absorb the shimmering sunset bouncing off the water as it converges with the hills is necessary before boarding the Metro-North back south.
Sometimes a departure from Manhattan is essential. If not for your health, for an escape from the crowds to wander the untamed wilds of New York's beginnings, connecting with nature and yourself.
- Begin at Grand Central - purchase a round-trip ticket to Manitou from a kiosk or one of the windows (on the Hudson Line)
- You will find your track number on the marquees above the windows in the Main Concourse (look for the final destination on your line)
- Locate your track number (they are easily marketing throughout the terminal) and grab a window seat on your train (they are on the left side of the train if it's on the left side of the track and visa-versa)
- A quick 1-hour train ride you will arrive in Manitou (you need to be in the last two cars of the train to exit at this station)
- Follow the gravel road (Manitou Station Road) up into the neighborhoods of Manitou and turn right when you reach Mountain Pass Road
- Walk along Mountain Pass Road about .6 miles until you reach a small parking lot - you've now made it to the trailhead entrance!
- Follow the trail 3.3 miles to Anthony's Nose and once you're ready to return home backtrack along the same route
Content Creator, Traveler, Foodie, Amateur Photographer (and surprise!) Graphic Designer living in New York City. This website started in 2016 as a space to share my passion to live life to the fullest, make adventures a priority, eat all of the good food, drink all of the wine, and curate the beautiful photos that come along with it.