It is perfect hiking weather. For me, the temperature has to be between 50 and 70 for the perfect hike. I was bummed that Spring this year took so long to get here and I’m guessing (since it was 90 degrees yesterday) that summer is going to come too quickly. That’s why on Saturday, when it was 65 degrees, we wasted no time picking out another Hudson Valley hike. We took a day trip out to Blue Mountain Reservation and not only enjoyed a gorgeous 10 mile hike, but great crepes and beer, too! Ready? Let’s go!
Much like we got to our hike up Breakneck Ridge, to get to Blue Mountain Reservation, we took the subway to Grand Central and hopped on the 6:39am metro north toward Poughkeepsie. Blue Mountain Reservation is a little closer to NYC than Breakneck, though. After about an hour and twenty minutes on the metro north, you hit Peekskill. Once there, you have some choices to make. You can either go straight to the trail head, which is about a mile or a mile and a half walk (or take an Uber) or you can stop and get a crepe at Peekskill Coffee House and then catch that Uber to the trail head. We chose crepes.
I got the lemon sugar crepe. It was great! The outside of this coffee shop is completely unassuming, so just walk right in and order at the counter. The coffee is good and it’ll fuel you for your hike.
Choosing a Hiking Route
There are a ton of different paths to take through Blue Mountain Reservation. We grabbed a map when we got there and attempted to orient ourselves. The map has different thicknesses for each route. The thicker the route, the easier it is.
We took the route that brought us up Blue Mountain first and then Spitzenberg Mountain.
Part of the fun of hiking can be getting lost. Not the chew-off-your-own-arm type of lost; more like the let’s-go-this-way-and-see-where-it-takes-us kind of lost. That’s what we did and, well, it didn’t work out too well. We ended up walking around a large pond thinking we were making our way up the mountain…the duh feeling we had when we realized we were back at the entrance was seriously priceless. At least it was beautiful:
And we got a good story out of it. We asked a woman with two dogs for a little guidance. After several “go this way and don’t go that way” (literally how she described the trail choices), she launched into a weird conspiracy theory. She said we REALLY couldn’t go “this way” because it’s completely pitch black. Her dogs refused to go near this circular area of complete darkness, but she felt compelled to go in. Ultimately, she overcame that feeling and didn’t go in. She said she spoke to a ranger about this mysterious blackness and he suggested maybe it was a timezone? This apparently made sense to her, and she was so glad she chose not to get sucked in. She warned us repeatedly not to go in. Oddly, she also warned us that we would see the face of ancient being along the trail. We walked away shaking our heads in confusion.
Blue Mountain Reservation Loop
With the woman’s sage advice now in mind, we set off to find the dang trail that somehow eluded us. We started on the yellow trail and walked through to the purple trail. This is when the colors stopped on the trees. Our first thought when the markers stopped was that we are going the wrong way (again), but we were in a good rhythm and kept going. Then we saw this:
The woman was right! We saw the creepy ancient face! This made us rethink the whole black hole story…
Undeterred, we kept going. We felt lost, so I finally decided to pull out my Google Maps and let me tell you, IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE PARK MAP. The park map is missing quite a few trails. Meanwhile, Google Maps showed us exactly where we were. Since we were on the right track, we kept on walking through the woods, which were beautiful and lush just like Breakneck. There are also HUGE boulders here, but none are really for climbing.
Blue Mountain Peak
When we got up the mountain, there were two other people on the trail. These were the only two we’d seen since the woman in the park. They came over to us and asked “is this it?” Right, it seems they were disappointed. As it turns out, the view from the top at this place is not great when the trees are in full bloom. You get just a small glimpse of the Hudson.
We took in the solitude for a little while before moving on. The blue trail leads you out toward Spitzenberg Mountain. It was a really nice walk, not difficult at all. The weather was gorgeous. There were a few openings with big boulders, but mostly, the walk went through the woods.
The whole time you’re on the trail, you hear the loud cracking of riffles, pistols and whatever other guns people are using at the gun range next door. Yes, a gun range abuts this beautiful trail. At first this worried me, but, while we heard the guns, we never felt unsafe. It seemed pretty far away.
The walk up Spitzenberg Mountain from Blue Mountain was not too difficult. We were already quite high, so we didn’t need to ascend much more. Again, the view here must be stunning in the winter, but in the Spring it is mostly obstructed by trees.
There is a great big rock to sit on here, which makes it perfect for lunch and just relaxing.
Here are some additional sights along this trail.
There’s a ton of water all around this trail. With water, means lots of bugs as well. I know I got a few bites. When you come back down from Spitzenberg Mountain, you have the option of walking back to the front entrance through the woods, or walking to the road and catching an Uber. We actually walked to the road and then decided to walk the 2 miles back to town.
All in all, we hiked about 10 miles over 4 hours. We were HUNGRY and needed an ice cold beer. The road to Peekskill was not bad at all. We didn’t want to wait 20 minutes/pay $10 for an Uber, so it was worth it to us. There’s a lot of shade and not a lot of traffic.
Peekskill Brewery is near the train station by the water. The building is not too interesting looking, but there’s a lot of seating inside and out. By the time we got there, we were actually quite warm, so we decided to sit inside. They have food and brews. I got a flight and a pretzel.
Both were decent. We get spoiled in NYC with good breweries…but yes, this was pretty good. The service was a bit slow, but they were packed, so we were forgiving. On our way to the train station we stopped at the Hudson Creamery for some ice cream to eat on the train home. We caught the 2:38pm express train and were back in NYC before 4pm.
Overall, I would say Cold Spring is much nicer than Peekskill, BUT this is a great hike and so so easy to do from NYC.
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