BULL HILL, HUDSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK

Route 9D, opposite Little Stony Point, Putnam County, NY


Directions:

Taconic Parkway north to the exit for Route 301/Cold Spring/Carmel.  Turn right on Route 301 and then turn right again onto Route 9D north in Cold Spring.  Park in the pull-offs along NY 9D beside Little Stony Point. This is just north of Cold Spring and the intersection of NY 9D and Fair Street.


History:

The historian Benson Lossing (cited in Adams, 1981:193) wrote that this is the old Bull Hill in Washington Irving's story of Dolph Heyliger who bellowed back at the storm on Donder Berg across the Hudson River.

The mountain is also known by its Latin name Mount Taurus from the story of a wild bull who chased any visitors off the mountain.  Faced with death from a hunting party, the bull chose to leap off the top of the mountain.

There was once a promontory on Bull Hill known as Turk's Face that resembled a human profile.

1846  --  for the trap rock, Captain Ayers blows Turk's Face to rubble. The public was extremely mad at the captain (who a few years later died in another explosion).  

1931  --  the Hudson River Stone Cooperation purchased the 1000 acres of Bull Hill.
The resulting public outcry led to the creation of the Hudson River Preservation Society (with William Church Osborn of Garrison was its first president). A State Commission studied the various sites to be preserved.

1944  --  the company ceased mining.

(Source: http://hhr.highlands.com/stoney.htm)


Trails:

 A counterclockwise walk, entering the clock at the 5:30 position.

The white trail (Washburn Trail) heads east, then dips southeast, and then north east, and northwest (the 5;30 position on the clock), and then slightly northeast to Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus). On the way up you pass Undercliff Trail (yellow trail) and the cut for the Catskill Aqueduct. Coming down off Bull Hill, catch the Highland/NotchTrail (blue trail) still heading slightly northeast. The trail turns left (west); turn left on the red trail (Brook Trail) heading southwest. Turn left (southeast) onto the Undercliff Trail (yellow trail) recrossing the Catskill Aqueduct. The trail will bent southwest and then east and will take you back to the 5:30 position. Turn right (southeast) at the 5:30 clock position where your counterclockwise walk began. Follow this white trail (Washburn Trail) to Route 9D and then head south to the parking lot.

The bottom of the trail is very gradual. There are a lot of invasive species here with hordes of Asiatic bittersweet and multiflora rose. The path takes you up to an abandoned quarry. The floor of the area here is of finely ground rock. You can walk to an old abandoned mine (with the door still on the mine opening). The mine is now filled with water.

I only walked a short ways past the intersection of the white trail with the yellow trail Saw two ponds, one which is probably a vernal pond, along with a stream flowing out of the larger pond. There are some absolutely great views of Cold Spring, West Point, Dick's Castle, Storm King and south Newburgh.


Old Lake Surprise Road

Route 9D about a quarter of a mile north of Little Stony Point; There are two tall cut-stone gate posts on the east side of the highway. 64

the road winds around the rock western face of Mt. Taurus
roughly parallels the course of Breakneck Brook
a side lane arches off to the ruins of a large estate, then returns to the main road.

In the early 1900s Edward G. Cornish lived here in opulent style. Now all that remains are roofless and vine-entwined solid stone walls of the estate. 64

Cornish was the chairman of the board of the National Lead Company.

Also here is a large swimming pool in a vale on the west side of the mansion, an overgrown formal garden, a shell of a greenhouse and a huge concrete cistern (rather up the main road) with its tall wooden tube still containing some of the charcoal used to filter the water.

Adjacent to the estate is a farm Cornish owned. Here there is an old barn that used to be heated by its chimney.

Farther up the path, not paved, are the remains of the concrete dam used to form a large pond. You can turn off the main road before reaching the pond and take the Catskill Aqueduct Tunnel Path instead.

Clyne, Patricia Edwards. 1997. Hudson Valley Tales and Trails. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, 5/03/02 (* = plants in bloom)


Trees:
Acer pensylvanica (striped maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory) ?
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) *
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus avium (sweet cherry)? *
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet) ?
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Quercus ilicifolia (bear oak)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) *
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (arrowwood viburnum)

Vines:
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (porcelainberry)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Smilax sp. (greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp.

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaved pussy toes)
Arabis sp. (mustard) *
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Cardamine parviflora (dryland bittercress) *
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Cerastium arvense (field chickwedd) *
Comandra umbellata (bastard toadflax) *
Corydalis aurea (golden corydalis) *
Galium aparine (cleavers)
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake hawkweed)
Krigia virginica (one-flowered cynthia) *
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle) *
Leonurus cardiaca (motherwort)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Narcissus sp. (daffodils)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) *
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal) * soon
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prenanthes trifoliolata (gall of the earth) ?
Rumex obtusifolius (round-leaved dock)
Saxifraga virginiensis (early saxifrage) *
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Viola sororia (common blue violet) *

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) *
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Grasses:
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) *
Bromus tectorum (downy chess grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) *
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns:
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Dryopteris sp. (woodfern)

Others:
rock tripe lichen
sphagnum moss