From the kiosk just below the parking area, head south on the white trail, which parallels Route 9D. Soon, a blue trail begins on the right, and then a yellow trail begins on the right, but continue ahead on the white trail In a quarter mile, the white trail bears right, away from the road, and descends rather steeply into a ravine, where it crosses a stream on large boulders. It turns right...
From the kiosk just below the parking area, head south on the white trail, which parallels Route 9D. Soon, a blue trail begins on the right, and then a yellow trail begins on the right, but continue ahead on the white trail In a quarter mile, the white trail bears right, away from the road, and descends rather steeply into a ravine, where it crosses a stream on large boulders. It turns right and briefly parallels the stream, then bears left, climbs out of the ravine. The trail now bears right and continues to parallel the stream.
At the crest of the rise, the pink trail begins on the right, but you should bear left, continuing to follow the white trail, which begins to head south. You’ll immediately pass the start of the orange trail, on the right. Soon, the white trail begins a gradual descent towards the Hudson River, running close to the southern boundary of the preserve. About two-thirds of a mile from the start, after descending through a shallow ravine on rock steps and paralleling an old stone wall, the white trail ends at a dirt road. Turn right and proceed north on the road, passing the Manitou Marsh on the left.
Soon, you’ll notice an orange-blazed trail and then a wide green-blazed trail on the right. Turn right onto the green-blazed trail, which climbs gradually on a woods road to the crest of a rise, then descends. After passing a pink-blazed trail on the right, the green-blazed trail ends at a dirt road. Turn left and follow the road downhill.
Bear right at the next intersection and cross over the Metro-North railroad tracks on a wide stone-arch bridge. This is an active railroad, and you may see Metro-North or Amtrak passenger trains on their way to Poughkeepsie, Albany or New York. To the right (north), the cone-shaped hill in the distance is Sugarloaf Hill.
On the other side of the bridge, immediately turn left onto the blue-blazed River Trail, which parallels the railroad tracks. On the right, beyond a wooden fence, is the historic Livingston Mansion, built in 1897 (the mansion and its grounds are privately owned and not open to the public), and on the left (across the tracks), you can see the ruins of an old brick building. Soon, the trail curves right, away from the tracks, and reaches a dirt road.
Cross the road and continue on the blue-blazed trail, which climbs over a rise on switchbacks and stone steps, then descends to the shore of the Hudson River. The trail turns left onto a narrow footpath along a bluff overlooking the river, with panoramic views across the river. You may see a freight train on the CSX tracks across the river. Use caution, as there are steep drop-offs on the right. At one point, the trail crosses a wooden bridge over an area where the footpath had become eroded.
After following closely along the river for about a quarter of a mile, the trail turns left and steeply climbs rock steps. If you look back to the north, you can see Sugarloaf Hill above the trees. In a short distance, the trail bears left again and heads inland, soon reaching a complex junction, with a grassy carriage road on the left and two branches of the blue-blazed River Trail on the right. Turn sharply right and follow the branch of the blue-blazed trail that runs closest to the river.
In another quarter mile (after bearing right at a fork), the blue-blazed trail ends at a south-facing viewpoint, with a stone bench. After taking in the view, retrace your steps on the blue-blazed trail for 200 feet, then bear sharply right at a trail junction. You’re now following the inland branch of the blue-blazed River Trail, which leads to the complex junction you encountered earlier in the hike. Turn right onto the carriage road (still following the blue blazes), which curves to the left and heads north.
When you reach the next junction (the road ahead is blocked off with a gate), turn right and retrace your steps on the blue-blazed trail to the bridge over the railroad. Turn right again, cross the bridge, and follow the dirt road uphill.
After crossing a stream, the road curves to the left. On the right, you will see stone steps, which mark the start of the yellow trail. Turn right, climb the steps, and follow the yellow trail uphill to a T-junction, where you turn left onto the blue trail. When you reach the white trail, turn left and follow it a short distance to the parking area where the hike began.
To view a photo collection for this hike, click here.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 05/20/2010 updated/verified on 07/29/2018
This figure-eight hike loops around the preserve, with spectacular views across the Hudson River.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.