I was using Alltrails last night trying to figure out what hike we could do this morning. I was looking for something that would be in the 3-5 mile range, and wasn’t too far away as we had to be home by a certain time. Stumbling across the Cornish Estate Loop, I looked through the pictures, and there were some nice ruins. I’m a sucker for ruins. It was only 5.3 miles, so it seemed perfect. We got way more than we expected.
The Hudson Highlands State Park is known for Breakneck Ridge, by far the most popular hiking destination in the Hudson Valley. We haven’t hiked it yet, but know that it gets pretty busy. We arrived at the trailhead for the Washburn Trail around 8:45AM on Route 9D in Cold Spring, noticing there were already a few cars there. There are signs for the Bull Hill Loop, Cornish Trail, and the Washburn Trail. We went right for the white blazed Washburn Trail. The trail starts out well manicured, with a gradual ascent. We bumped into a deer 3 minutes in, a foot off the trail. The trail starts to get a bit rockier, still moving up. You enter a clearing then continue right. This is where it starts to get tough, but rewarding. You walk along the ridge, and through the trees you get glimpses of the Hudson River. It becomes a steep, rocky climb, while challenging, but not overly difficult. The first viewpoint looks out over Cold Spring and the Hudson, with West Point in the background. Continuing upward, you reach the summit of Bull Hill. The views are absolutely gorgeous.
Leaving the summit, you start working your way down which is very easy. You meet up with the blue blazed Notch Trail, continuing north then west. Another junction is less than a mile away, so we headed south on the red blazed Brook Trail. You are on this trail very briefly, when you meet up with the blue blazed Cornish Trail. The 1.4 mile Cornish Trail is very easy. You are still descending but very gradually. Walking through the woods you start to notice some old foundations and stone structures. There is a garage that has just the skeletal remains of the roof, and right past that is the old Cornish estate. Like I said above, I’m a sucker for ruins. These did not disappoint. Jackie and I were able to imagine what a beautiful home it once was. Stone walls still stand, three-story chimneys rise up all over. It was fantastic, and we enjoyed spending some time exploring through them. Finally, we continued to the end, which was by far the easiest, you walk down the paved driveway of the estate.
Picking this hike, I didn’t know we were in for some amazing views. I would have been happy with just the ruins, so the views blew me away. This so far might have been our favorite hike. We loved almost everything about it. The one downside is the amount of people who go through here. We ran into a bunch of large groups of people, more than we have seen on probably all of our hikes through Fahnestock. When we got back to the car, there had to be hundreds of cars along Route 9D. In the future, I would probably try to stay away from these trails on the weekend, but if I had to, I would still go early like we did today. Maybe earlier.
Click here for pictures of what the Cornish Estate used to look like.
Visit Alltrails to see the recording of our hike