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Last Minute Cornish Estate Hike Tomorrow, Sunday, March 11, 2012

From: Michael W.
Sent on: Saturday, March 10, 2012 8:22 PM

Hi everyone,

Marlene (owner of the dog Boris) and I will be going on a last-minute hike tomorrow, Sunday, March 11, 2012.  This is a moderate level hike that will be approximately 3.9 miles.  In contrast to our normal hikes that I lead for this group, we will be doing this one at a somewhat quick pace and will be starting at EXACTLY 11:00 AM.  We would be glad to have anyone that is interested in coming as long as you think you will be able to keep up with our somewhat elevated pace.

The hike will be in Hudson Highlands State Park (Putnam County, Cold Spring, NY)  and dogs are allowed on a leash. The hike goes by the ruins of a once-magnificent estate and dairy farm, with amazing views of Breakneck Ridge to the north (please note, we are NOT hiking Breakneck Ridge).  For those interested in seeing pictures from the last time our group did this hike, they can be found at

For those coming, I suggest wearing layers of long sleeve shirts. Also, it's recommended to bring a backpack, 2 liters of water, chapstick, gloves, and a small trail sandwich.

We'll meet at the parking lot that is across the street from Little Stony Point Park. Driving directions and public transportation are below. I estimate the hike will take three and a half hours.  The parking lot is across from Little Stony Point Park.  While Little Stony Point Park's address is 3011 Route 9D, Cold Spring, NY; I found that my Garmin GPS picked up the address we are meeting at as 2097 Route 9D, Cold Spring, NY  For those with a GPS, the Parking Lot is located at [masked], [masked] ---- N[masked] W[masked]

My cell phone number is[masked]

Driving Directions from NY heading towards the Tappan Zee Bridge on Route 87 North:

Take exit 7A to merge onto Saw Mill River Pkwy N toward Taconic State Pkwy and take that for 6 miles. Take the ramp to Taconic Pkwy/Albany and then merge onto Taconic State Pkwy for a mile. Exit onto Highway 9A N/New York 9A N/NY-100 N/Route 9A N/State 9A N/State Highway 9A N/State Route 9A N/Saw Mill River Rd and take that for 6 miles.  At the fork, keep left, following signs for New York 9A N/Peekskill and merge onto New York 9A N/US-9 N and follow for 9 miles. Continue onto US-202 W/US-6 W/US-9 N. In a half mile, turn left at US-202 W/US-6 W/US-9 N/Jans Peek Branch/Lower S St and follow for 0.2 miles. At the traffic circle, go straight onto US-9 N/Albany Post Rd (first exit) and follow for 4 miles.  Turn left at NY-403 N/Cat Rock Rd and then immediately turn right to stay on NY-403 N/Cat Rock Rd and follow that for 2.3 miles. Turn right at New York 9D N/Bear Mountain-Beacon Hwy and follow for 4.8 miles until you will see the Little Stony Point Park (located at 3011 Rt. 9D, Cold Spring, NY 10516). Once you see the Little Stony Point Park, park at the parking lot across the street for our hike.

Driving Directions from NY via the George Washington Bridge:

After crossing the GWB from NY into NJ, take exit 74 for Palisades Pkwy and then merge onto Palisades Interstate Pkwy for 34 miles. Exit onto US-6 E/Palisades Interstate Pkwy toward Palisades Pkwy/Bear Mountain/W Point and follow for 3 miles.  At the circle, take the 2nd exit onto US-202 E/US-6 E and follow for 1/2 mile. Turn left at New York 9D N/Bear Mountain-Beacon Hwy and follow for for 4.8 miles until you will see the Little Stony Point Park (3011 Rt. 9D, Cold Spring, NY). Once you see the Little Stony Point Park, park at the parking lot across the street for our hike.

Public Transportation:

From Grand Central Station, take the Harlem line of the MTA Metro-North railroad to Cold Spring station. From there, it is a 1.0 mile hike to the trailhead/parking lot.  From the train station, walk right onto Market Street and then a quick right onto Lunn Terrace.  After walking for 0.2 miles on Lunn Terrace, turn right onto Main Street and then make the second left in 427 feet onto Fair Street.  Walk 0.6 miles on Fair Street until you make a left as it merges onto New York 9D North/Breakneck Road/Lake Surprise Road/Stearn Road.  In 0.1 miles, you will arrive at the parking lot.


Trail Description:
Begin your hike on the blue-blazed Cornish Trail leading from the parking area’s north end.  Ascend gradually up the old cement road, with the Hudson River on the left and the steep, sometimes rocky face of Bull Hill on the right. This old cement road, now known as the Cornish Trail, is marked with dark blue DEC disks.  The road is still in very good shape, and imagine yourself a millionaire coming up it in a carriage or a Dusenberg in the 1920s. Follow the trail north for several minutes to meet with an abandoned road00the former drive of the Cornish family.  You’ll soon pass a huge stone retaining wall on the right, with the massive western rock face of Taurus towering high above, and the Hudson and Storm King visible through the foliage on the left.  After swinging right, then left, the blue blazes will head to the right, and an overgrown road will swing left a short distance to the ruins of the mansion.  Reach the stone ruins of the mansion in about a half mile and again try to imagine what this place looked like in its heyday with its many fireplaces, stone patios and arches. Edward G. Cornish was chairman of the board of the National Lead Company.  His estate dates from the early 1900s.  When he died during the 1930s, the property was tied up in litigation.  It was sealed during that time, but a fire in 1956 began the process of destruction we see today.  Approach the main entrance from the circular driveway.  Peek over the vanished floor into the living room and check out the archways, double fireplaces, and fancy diamond tiles.  The estate itself was built in the 1920s utilizing stones from nearby Breakneck Ridge.
There are ruins of several other buildings on the grounds. The cement road ends at nine-tenths of a mile and becomes an old woods road. After passing a large cement cistern and crossing the Catskill Aqueduct, the Cornish Trail ends at the red-blazed Brook Trail along Breakneck Brook. You will know the large cement cistern because it is the large cylindrical concrete structure that would filter the water from Breakneck Brook for the estate.  Travel north on the red trail, with Breakneck Brook keeping you company along the way.  On the red trail, you will also see remnants of the concrete pump house.  Cross the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail, continuing on the red-blazed Brook Trail, to meet the blue-blazed Notch Trail at a y-intersection. Go left on this blue trail trail and shortly after crossing the brook on a wooden bridge, reach the ruins of a dairy farm once operated by the Cornish family.  The massive stone barn ruin is the ruins of the Cornish Dairy Farm. Beyond the ruins is a good-sized pond. This ends your tour of the former Cornish Estate -- turn around and enjoy the stroll back down to 9D the same way you came, retracing your steps.

After viewing the ruins of the dairy farm, continue north on the blue-blazed notch trail to reach a pond just steps from the farm, and following along its left side to reach a trail split at the northern terminus.  Turn around and retrace your path back to the intersection with the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail.  Bear right onto the Underclif Trail, crossing Breakneck Brook to pursue a short trip partially up Breakneck Ridge.  Follow the trail for several hundred feet to reach a breathtaking viewpoint over the Hudson River.  Views to the west are to Storm King Mountain and to the south are of Mount Taurus. 
From the overlook, return back down the way you came on the yellow trail to the intersection with the red trail and bear right on the red trail.  Head south, pass the blue trail, and hike downhill as Breakneck Brook parallels the path, passing beautiful waterfalls along the way. 
Either you can take the red trail all the way south to Route 9D and turn left onto Route 9D to walk along the road about ¾ mile to the car, or, you can split left off the red trail on an unmarked woods road.

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