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Thread: Mt. Beacon / Breakneck in New York

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Mt. Beacon / Breakneck in New York

    Does anyone have any information on where trail heads are for Mt. Beacon or Breakneck? How far is the whole trip to both and back, or is car spotting a better idea?
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    The information is in the New York Walk Book published by the New York New Jersey Trail Conference. They have some trail information on their site: NYNJTC but you should really get the book and maps.

    I hiked the route from the train stop (not an actual station. Service only on weekends) up along the ridge a couple of years back. Pictures here, but we ran out of time before getting to Mt. Beacon, so we went back on the "Yellow" trail over Sugarloaf.

    Schedule is on Metro North's site: Schedule. The stop is "Breakneck Ridge"
    Last edited by Papa Bear; 06-17-2005 at 08:05 AM.
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    Senior Member Artex's Avatar
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    Tom - I used to live in Cold Spring, NY, right next to Breakneck, and have hiked it many times. You can climb Breakneck and head to the Firetower over on Beacon Mountain and back for a long dayhike. Just follow the white blazes the whole way and back.

    I'd recommend starting at the trailhead that's just north of the tunnel (that's just north of Cold Spring, near the county line). You'll see a small parking area at the start of the trailhead on the western side of the road (river side), but if that's full, there's a larger one just a few hundred yards down the road, also on the western side.

    The ascent up Breakneck is quite steep, but you'll have several amazing lookouts down to the Hudson River and the surrounding lands. There are also several false summits, so be prepared for that.

    Once you get to the ridge, it's a nice, flat hike over to the tower on Beacon, albeit a pretty long one. I forget the exact mileage and times, but if I remember right, expect it to take a solid half day or so. You'll be in trees for most of this section until you reach the tower.

    Have a blast!

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Thanks for the info! I think some Green squares are in order here!
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    Senior Member Mark Schaefer's Avatar
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    Another very recently opened trailhead is at the 90 degree bend on Route 9D (junction with Howland Avenue) in Beacon. At the intersection there is a road (with parking) into the new Gateway to Mount Beacon Park operated by Scenic Hudson. A red blazed trail climbs to the old casino site which was at the top of the old incline railroad. A Recent PoJo news article. Hiking up the old incline rail bed is another option. From the top of the red trail there are several unmarked old roads shown on Map #102 that will lead you to South Beacon mountain with its fire tower. From the top of red trail take the right-most uphill road. It is fairly clear if you can pick up the map (part of the NYNJTC East Hudson Trails (set of 3 maps). Trail descriptions are in the New York Walk Book (also from the NYNJTC). A traverse using the Gateway to Mount Beacon and the Breakneck trailhead at the Metro North station is about 7 miles.

    There are additional trailheads: On Sunnyside Road in the Beacon Hills subdivision. On Old Albany Post Road (off Route 9) just south of the Dutchess/Putnam County Line. Both of those have parking areas. There is also a trailhead (without parking) off Mountain Ave near a City of Beacon water tank. All of these trailheads provide longer traverse options to Breakneck. There is a lot of good hiking with many viewpoints up there.

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    Senior Member funkyfreddy's Avatar
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    One way I used to do this hike is to take the train to Beacon and walk through town to the trailhead, then take the ridge and go across to Breakneck and down the cliffs, saving some of the nicer views for last. I've been told that not many people like to go down Breakneck Ridge but it never bothered me even though I'm somewhat acrophobic. I then would walk along the RR tracks to Cold Spring and take the train back to NYC.

    It's been many years since I did this hike and it brings back memories. I used to take women on dates there, figuring that if they didn't appreciate the views from this ridge I would know right away that we weren't compatible!

    EDIT: Oh, one more thing I just remembered. There is a lot of history associated with this ridge, Mt. Beacon and other points on the ridge being used during the Revolutionary War and the environmental movement got its start here in the Hudson Valley trying to protect a lot of these views, so enjoy them! Apparently quite a few old silent films were filmed on the ridge as well. Let us know what condition that old rickety firetower on Beacon is in. Thanks, Fred
    Last edited by funkyfreddy; 06-17-2005 at 10:53 AM.

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    Senior Member askus3's Avatar
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    Breakneck is a great hike and I mentioned it as a location to go on a thread about scrambles. Probably the best one for scrambling south of the Adirondacks, even better than anything in the Ctaskills. I will disagree with Funky Freddy and recommend going up from the tunnel, although you hit the best right out at the start, much better to ascend such a steep trail than descend. We are talking over 1,000 feet in 1/2 mile!!!! As for the return from the Mt. Beacon fire tower, to complete the circular I highly recommend taking the yellow Wilkinson Memorial Trail (right turn) from where it crosses the Breakneck Ridge Trail and take that over Sugarloaf, outstanding scenic view on the return giving you a different alternative for the return.

    What amazes me is that you have hiked all 115 and you live in Poughkeepsie and you've never been to Breakneck! Amazing!!! But like most people you never visit places in your backyard until you've seen the world.

    Another local hike that you should see and do, if you have not already is Gertrude's Nose. Ask our Shawangunk hiking expert Mcorsar for more info on this one.
    Last edited by askus3; 06-17-2005 at 11:15 AM.
    Aaron

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    Senior Member Mark Schaefer's Avatar
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    To preview the views

    One more bit of information. Here are a couple of Hudson River panoramas, 360 degree views from both Breakneck Ridge and South Beacon Mountain tower.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the info! I'm ready for a nice hike tomorrow!

    Yup, done the 115, still working on the 'easy' stuff near home!

    I have done quite a bit of the Gunks already though.

    Fire Towers are cool, another reason to go.

    And those panoramas are AWESOME!!! I'm bringing my camera!
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    That was i think my 3rd hike in my life last sept and it was very steep...my poles stayed in my pack because it was hand climbing for a while. We started at the steep spot. I was pooped and wanted to quit, my friend pushed me and we got to the tower..u can't climb it...rusted and missing steps..but lots of birds catching wind gusts floating around..We took an easy way down and walked on the road for app 1 mile to our cars, there was water along the way...after that i now understand about elevation gain in a certain distance..We also had a beer and steak in town next to the train tracks..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    One nice alternative, if you spot a car in Beacon, is to hike down the old cable railway tracks instead of the trail. Nice views all the way down. That's the way I did it the last time we had a car spot. Those tracks on the side of that mountain are a landmark.
    Pb

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Wrap up

    The tracks were overgrown and had yellow tape at the bottom, so we took the trail. We walked all the way to Breakneck and back. It took about 6.5 hours for the whole trip. Nice day. More later...

    See http://vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?p=79347#post79347
    Last edited by Tom Rankin; 06-20-2005 at 07:42 AM. Reason: added link
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    There are a couple of parking spaces by the tunnel that is mentioned above. there is a small parking space right by the tunnel but if they are full, there are more parking spaces further north. The trail by the tunnel is steep and rocky and might not be the best way if the route is wet and slippery or in winter so be prepared for the other routes up Breakneck Ridge or so.. Mt Taurus and a bunch of other nice hikes that isn't as exposed as the trail up the road tunnel.

    View's of Storm King and Bannerman's Castle and stuff is nice. Flagpole on one of the viewpoints makes a nice photo on July 4th!

    Jay
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    Senior Member pudgy_groundhog's Avatar
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    Tom, I see you already did the hike, but I was going to tell you that we have an informal hiking group that hikes after work on Wednesdays (depends on the weather, but usually on Wednesday) and we do Breakneck, Bull Hill, Mt. Beacon, etc. If you want to get on the email list, you can sign up here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HVOC/

    Breakneck is one of my favorite hikes in the area -- glad you enjoyed it!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pudgy_groundhog
    Tom, I see you already did the hike, but I was going to tell you that we have an informal hiking group that hikes after work on Wednesdays (depends on the weather, but usually on Wednesday) and we do Breakneck, Bull Hill, Mt. Beacon, etc. If you want to get on the email list, you can sign up here:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HVOC/

    Breakneck is one of my favorite hikes in the area -- glad you enjoyed it!
    Looks good, thanks for the link!
    Tom Rankin
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