The Hudson Highlands State Park is located in Cold Spring, New York. The Park consists of many separate pieces of land stretching from Annsville Creek in Peekskill and up North to Dennings Point in Beacon. The park offers visitors many different activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, and bird watching. The Cornish Estate Trail is perhaps one of the most interesting trails in the state park.
One of the hiking trails, the Cornish Estate Trails, will take visitors along an relatively easy, flat trail through a wooded area to the ruins of what was once the Cornish Estate.
The once majestic Northgate Estate sits in Cold Spring, NY. The 650 acre plot of land and estate was purchased by Edward J. Cornish and his wife Selina in 1917. The estate was previously owned and built by Sigmund Stern, a Chicago diamond merchant. In 1938 the couple died within a couple weeks of each other and the estate was left to their nephew Joel.
In 1956, the estate was destroyed by a fire and all that was left is what stands today-the stone structure. In 1963 the land was purchased by Central Hudson Gas and Electric and there were plans to transform it into a powerplant. That didn’t happen and in the late 1960’s the estate was added to the Hudson Highlands State Park. Today, visitors can hike the many trails of the Hudson Highlands State Park and explore the ruins.
The Cornish Estate Trail is an easy, mild trail with a gentle incline.
The Cornish Estate Trail is a 1.8 mile loop trail in the Hudson Highlands. Much of the trail is on a concrete road that once led to the estate, making for a flat, easy walk. It takes about twenty minutes (depending on your fitness level-it may take less) to reach the ruins.
The trail is very family friendly and I saw many younger children hiking the trail during my visit.
TIP: Parking is limited and fills up very quickly. I would highly recommend arriving early to start your hike, before 9am for your best chance to find a parking spot.
The Cornish Estate Trail is perhaps the easiest option for reaching the Cornish Estate Ruins, but if you are up for more of a hike (and more stunning views) there are other trail options that you can choose from.
The Breakneck Ridge Trail
Trail Length: 3.2 miles Time: 3-4 hours
The Breakneck Ridge trail is a difficult trail with a steep incline. The trail is short, but considered to be one of the most strenuous in the Hudson Highlands. Many spots on the trail require you to climb up steep rock ledges. If you venture out to complete this hike, be sure to bring proper hiking boots and avoid the trail if it is wet, snowy, or icy as the ledges become very slippery.
Trail Length: 6 miles Time: 2-3 hours
The Bull Hill loop starts at the same parking area as the Cornish Estate Trail. The trail can become steep at times, but does not get as steep as the Breakneck Ridge trail. The first two miles are the toughest, and afterwards the trail evens off and is mostly a descent. The trail will give you great views of the Hudson River and in some spots you will be able to see the NYC skyline. The trail ends with the Cornish Estate Ruins.
Exploring the Ruins
The ruins of the estate are open to visitors to explore freely. If you are taking the Cornish Estate Ruins trail, the first thing you will come upon is the main mansion.
You will see the porte cochere, which one had a room sitting on top of it. The porte cochere passes through to what appears to have once been a small courtyard.
You will then continue on to the rest of the mansion. You will be able to circle the mansion entirely and in some spots walk through the stone structures.
The stairs pictured above will take you to what was once the front porch of the mansion. You can see some colored tiles that were part of the decor of the porch. Looking forward from the porch you will be able to see the remains of the pool.
There is a path to the side of the mansion ruins that will take you down to the pool and give you a great view of the front of the mansion.
From the pool you can take the path back up and past the mansion, where you will find the remains of another building and greenhouse.
Find some images of the Northgate Estate in its early years!
Little Stony Point
After completing the hike back to the parking lot, take a quick stroll across the street to Little Stony Point. You can take the short hike up to the top of Little Stony Point or take the one mile long loop trail along the river’s edge. Along this trail you will find some small sandy beaches that you can sit on and enjoy, but it is advised not to enter the water because of pollution reasons.
If you are looking for more adventure in the Hudson Highlands State Park, be sure to check out Bannerman Castle. Bannerman Castle sits on Pollepel Island and once served as a military surplus supply warehouse. Today you can visit the island and tour the grounds through guided tours.