Last Tuesday was Jackie’s birthday, and what did she want to do? Take a hike. After viewing it many times from our side of the Hudson River, we decided to hike Storm King Mountain. This writeup won’t be as much of a walk-through, as it will be more some interesting tidbits from our day and our observations. For a detailed walk-through, use what I used, Hike the Hudson Valley’s writeup. He does a much better job than I could do. Now, our story begins.
The day started out like any other, scrambling to get Robby ready for school and drive him there. After dropping him off, we drove to pick up Jackie’s sister, Elizabeth, who was going to join us on the hike. We stopped and grabbed breakfast, because when we aren’t hiking, we are usually eating. I plugged Storm King State Park into Waze and off we went. Mistake. While it was a beautiful drive past West Point and around the mountain via the Storm King Highway, it didn’t take us anywhere near where we needed to be. After doing some thinking, I opened up Alltrails and used the button for directions from the app, which we ended up being like 20 minutes away from. We headed back to 9W south, where it was slow going due to construction, had to turn around to get back on 9W north, and try to find the parking area. Luckily we found it, it appears to be just a scenic overlook area, but it was the right area. Don’t expect to see signs for State Park, there were just signs for Parking Area. We exited the car, doused ourselves in bug spray, and headed off.
When you head to the trails, stay to the left to get on the Orange blazed trail. I hope you stretched before hiking, this is intense from the get go. For the first major hike of the year, I had a tough time. Between being out of shape, and allergies making it hard to breathe, I felt like I was going to die. Luckily, no matter where you stop on this section, you are guaranteed tremendous views of the area. This section is called Butter Hill, because deep underground is the largest butter deposit in the world (not true, just made that shit up, but I bet somebody believed it). While the hike is Storm King Mountain, and the views at its summit are very nice, I think this was my favorite section. It was hard without being too difficult, and we picked the perfect time to go, as all the trees had just gotten their leaves, so there were nice rolling green hills that looked beautiful. Bull Hill was in view across the river. There were hawks flying overhead that always seemed to disappear whenever I got my camera out, and it was fun watching them. You also pass through some cool ruins of the old butter factory (again, made that up). Some parts of the trail do get confusing, so make sure you study the Hike the Hudson Valley guide before you go so you know what to expect. I kept the page open on my phone so I could keep checking to make sure we were going the right way.
When you get to the summit of Storm King, you are rewarded with views of Newburgh and Beacon to the north, Bannerman Island to the northeast, and Breakneck Ridge to the East. It’s so cool to see our side of the river from this perspective. Breakneck doesn’t look so tough. Some nice areas to sit and relax, another viewpoint is Cold Spring and Constitution Island to the southeast. And those damn hawks were still flying around evading my camera lens the best they could.
You then head back down the mountain, where there are some steep, loose rocky descents, but overall it’s fairly easy. You then are on the white blazed trail that will bring you out to the parking area. All in all, a nice 2.5 mile hike, that can be challenging in the beginning, but gives you great views. We enjoyed our first hike on the West side of the Hudson, and are looking forward to exploring more areas over there.
See the map of the hike here
***Just a FYI, this hike was done on May 8th, I actually started writing it up on the 15th, but haven’t been able to finish until today because we lost power for 5 days because of thunderstorms and tornadoes. It was like the March Nor’Easter post all over again ***