Saturday, October 25, 2014

NY Appalachian Trail - Sections 8 and 9 - Old Highland Turnpike to Camp Smith Trail

October 25, 2014

Miles: 9.7 miles
Time:  5 hours 8 minutes 
Elevation gain: 2,577 feet
Year to date miles:  408.8

Parking: South Mountain Pass Road. You can drive down this road from either the east or the west. We approached from the west side, because the drive on the road is shorter. Note that there is a sign that says the road is closed, except to local traffic. The road is a very narrow dirt road. There is a small parking area pull out on the right side of the road (when approaching from the west). There is room for 5-7 cars. A lot of people park here to hike up to Anthony's Nose.

Rest rooms: None.

Hike directions:
AT Northbound (opposite side of the street as main parking area).
Ascend steeply up Canada Hill.
Pass a number of blazed trails in the Hudson Highlands park.
The middle section of this hike is relatively flat and easy.
Again there are steep sections approaching Route 9.
Cross puncheon, just before you reach intersection of Route 9/403.
Cross street, and continue a short ways to Old Highland Turnpike.
Retrace steps to parking area.
AT Southbound (same side of the street as main parking area).
Pass to the left of a gate.
Continue to the blue blazed Camp Smith Trail (white blazed AT turns sharply right here).
We turned around at this point, leaving the steep descent to Route 9D for another day. 

Map: Appalachian Trail Conservancy New York / New Jersey Appalachian Trail Guide and Maps

Hike description:
Moderate hike. Limited views. There were some side trails which are supposed to lead to views of the Hudson, but the views were very obstructed. Still some nice fall foliage in the valley floors. Rocky footing in many places - and with all of the leaves and acorns on the ground, made for slow walking for us. Fell 3 times. I need my hiking poles more and more since spraining my ankle twice this year - though hard to have dogs on leash AND use hiking poles.

We met a couple of people on horseback. The dogs were great! Trek came running to me when he saw them, so I put him on leash, and we stepped off the trail to let them safely pass. We talked to the riders, who also have a 14 year old border collie, who they said was still a nut. Trek lay down while we talked (they were amazed - a border collie that lies down?). No barking by the dogs, and the horses seemed to be very used to dogs.

Another possibility for extending this hike is to go the half mile or so on the Camp Smith trail to the beautiful Anthony's Nose overlook.

Approaching Route 9 & 403, Appalachian Market

View of the Hudson from side trail

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