Hikes Within Walking Distance From Main Street and Metro North, Beacon, NY
Here are brief descriptions and directions for four nearby hikes, two at the waterfront and two up Mt. Beacon.
The Incline Railway Trail and the Hemlock Gorge, leading to Mount Beacon, offer steep climbs and rewarding views. Many hikes are possible, ranging from an hour to a full day. If you plan to remain on only one trail, you will be fine without a map. If trail surfing is what you’re interested in, take a trail guide or map with you—it's easy to get temporarily lost. You could end up 2-4 hours from where you began, which is disconcerting if you are not prepared with water, snacks and proper clothing. Please respect the private properties surrounding the park.
With flat topographies, the last two hikes, Dennings Point and The Beacon Shoreline Trail, are more like strolls. What makes these walks special is their proximity to the Hudson River.
Gateway To Mount Beacon Park:
The Incline Rail Trail up to Mount Beacon
Difficulty Level 4
Red Trail Markers
Follow the red trail markers appearing on trees or painted directly on the rocks. At the top of the staircase, on the concrete platform, turn around for your first vista. See the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge to the north crossing the Hudson, and the city of Beacon spread before you.
Now begins the natural trail into the woods. At the crossroads with the yellow trail markers, bear right. There is loose rock and rubble here; be sure to watch your footing. As you gain altitude and climb the rock path with the boulder slabs, look back to catch spectacular views of the Hudson, the City of Beacon, and off in the distance, Poughkeepsie and the Mid-Hudson Bridge. At all crossroads, continue climbing. It is common to lose the red trail markers temporarily, but then pick them up soon enough ahead. If you do not see another one within a few hundred feet, you are probably off trail. Go back, find the last one, and try again.
At the top of the mountain lies the foundation of the old casino. It is easy to see why generations have enjoyed this view and why this has been a favorite spot for many—the views are incredible. You can see the Catskills, New York City, and far to the north into Columbia County on a clear day. This is where the trail markers end, but the path eventually hooks up with the white, red, yellow and blue blazes, leading north and south. The climb down, facing west, provides a constant vista of the Hudson River and the city, making it a nice way to end a hike, especially at sunset.
The Hemlock Gorge:
Up to Mount Beacon or the Reservoir
Difficulty Level 2
Fishkill Ridge Trail, White Trail Markers
Walk through the gate, and pass the City of Beacon water tank on your left. (Don’t worry about the no trespassing signs, hikers are allowed to pass through these gates). At the split in the road, bear right, and look for your first white Scenic Hudson trail marker secured to a tree. On your left is Dry Brook. You will be walking alongside of this beautiful creek for a while. Ahead it opens up to the cascade of a multi-level waterfall, which freezes in winter. It is a glorious sight, in any season, set against the green of the hemlocks and grays of the rocks and boulders.
Follow the white trail markers up the gorge until you reach the dirt road. To continue on to the reservoir, make a right up the road. It is another 15 minutes to the reservoir. If you are feeling more adventurous, or have more time, instead of taking a right, cross the road and follow the white trail markers back into the woods, and the trail, until you reach the Mount Beacon Fire Tower on the ridge beyond the reservoir, where expansive views of the Hudson River Valley await.
Beacon Shoreline Trail
Connecting Metro North and Dennings Point
Out and back- 45 minutes (2 miles total)
Difficulty Level 1
Trail head: Train station parking lot, river side, south end. Starts right at the roadway underpass.
This one mile recreational trail is open to walking, biking and fishing. It includes a fishing station with wheelchair access. Constructed by Central Hudson and Electric Corporation, the $1 million dollar project was part of a settlement of a legal suit brought by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) against the utility for smoke emissions at the Danskammer and Roseton power plants in Newburgh. Environmentally sensitive materials are used and the design conforms to NY State protection laws regarding storm drainage.
The project, conceived by Scenic Hudson and overseen by the DEC, crosses land owned by Scenic Hudson, New York State Parks, Metro North and the City of Beacon. The team of stakeholders working together is an example of reclaiming one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.
The straight course of the trail and the sound of waves lapping against the shore can be a meditative experience. Thich Nhat Hanh, in A Guide To Walking Meditation, says, “In our daily lives, we usually feel pressured to move ahead. We have to hurry. When walking, you go for a stroll. You have no purpose or direction in space or time. Going is important, not arriving. Walking meditation is not a means to an end; it is an end. We seem to move forward, but we do not go anywhere; we are not drawn by a goal. Thus we smile when we are walking.”
The city of Beacon maintains the trail and enforces rules & regulations.
Open from Dawn to Dusk No Littering
No Dogs- leashed or unleashed No Motorized Vehicles
No Camping and Fires No Firearms
Difficulty level 1.5
White Trail Markers
Trail head: Dennings Road at water treatment facility, or continue walk above, taking a right at the end of the Shoreline trail and then a left before entering the Beacon Institute. At the river, turn right into the woods. At the fork, the choice is yours; this is a loop.
The trail markers appear sporadically. Just stay on the main path when confronted with a fork. There is one fork worth taking, though. When you begin to hear waves lapping the shore, after you go around a bend to the right, look for the path leading directly west, down to the river and a rocky beach. Emerging from the woods, the vast expanse of the river and sky provides a sharp constrast. A few trees offer shade, and scattered about are beached logs to rest on. If you arrive at high tide, there is not much of a shore, but it's still worth it for the views.
Look south and see Bannerman Island with its rather distinctive castle, and just beyond it the Northern Gateway to the Highlands. You can see where the glacier carved its way, creating the east and west shoreline and, of course, the river itself. Across the river is Newburgh. At times, a salty whiff of ocean hints at the tidal nature of the Hudson.
Trail maps and hiking guides are available at Mountain Tops and The Beacon Institute, on Beacon’s Main Street.
Gateway to Mount Beacon:
Main Street to Tioronda to 9D. Left on 9D. From the train station, make a right onto 9D, traveling south.
You will see the park entrance on the corner of Howland and 9D, across from Bob’s Corner Deli.
Walk towards the kiosk. The trailhead is just beyond it, running along side the old Mount Beacon Incline Railway tracks.
Take Main Street to East Main Street, taking a right onto East Main Street. Follow East Main, which veers right at the corner deli. Make a right at Pocket Road and park at the end of the street.
Beacon Shoreline Trail:
Accessible from metro North Train Station or Denning’s Point
From Metro North:
You can access the trail from the riverside of the train station. If driving to the station, take 9D to Beekman St. Make a right over the overpass heading back towards the train station. Make a sharp right into the Metro North parking lot. Take it all the way to the southern end of the lot where you will see the fence.
From Denning’s Point:
Take 9D to South Ave. Head west towards the river. Bear right onto Dennings Ave. Left at the stop sign. See the Beacon Water Treatment Plant on your left. Go all the way to the gate and park.