Hiking Mt. Taurus in Hudson Highlands State Park
Little did I know, that after I finish this hike, I would be totally blown away and become hooked on hiking. It only takes one special moment for it to happen. This mountain.....is Mount Taurus......
Of all the different mountains I've hiked so far, non can compare to Mount Taurus- for its abundant variety of stunning vistas and powerful experiences. Today, I will reveal those amazing viewpoints on this awesome Wanderblog!
Back then, I only got to hike once a year or once every few years. It was enjoyable, but not outstanding. Until several years ago, a multi-day backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail from Bear Mountain to Lake Tiorati in Harriman State Park started some sparks in my life. The challenging experience was sacred, as I pondered on endurance throughout the whole journey. Views from atop mountain peaks were exhilarating and provided peace to the heart. I wanted more of this....
The following year, I've done extensive research on hiking near New York City. I began taking notes and drawing diagrams to study the routes.
And so my journey began at the sweet little colonial town of Cold Spring, NY. I began my solo exploration at Little Stony Point, a magnificent cliff along a beach, by the Hudson River. It is a short trail off of Route 9D, just north of Cold Spring. Grand views of the Hudson embraced by mountains of Hudson Highlands State Park are offered at this beautiful cliff. Across Route 9D from Little Stony Point's trail start is a parking lot for Mount Taurus' trail start. There are two trails branching off from this parking lot. I took the white-blazed Washburn Trail up a series of switchbacks though the woods.
Following the switchbacks, you are now several hundred feet above sea level and are brought into a vast field, surrounded by the cliffs of a former mine quarry. I call it "The Savannah".... With sparse trees and dry grass around, you wonder if there are galloping gazelles and cheetahs! Ladies and gentleman...this is one unique spot to explore around. However, many hikers get lost in this area, wondering where the trail continues. Back up to the spot where you enter the field and there is a subtle trail blazer telling you to turn right.
Now you begin a steeper ascent along the rim of the quarry mine cliffs. Just before the trail blazes lead you towards right and away from the quarry, you can take a detour to your left, staying tight to the rim of the quarry and explore some outstanding rock outcroppings on top of the cliff edge! The views are absolutely beautiful, but it gets better and better!
Back tracking a bit to follow the Washburn Trail, you are eventually led to "The Table Rocks"- providing an outstanding view of the town of Cold Spring! Lo and Behold!
Keep hiking up that trail. When you finally reach the intersection of the yellow blaze and white blaze, take a break from hitting the summit and follow the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail to your left. I will reveal some amazing and super stunning vistas many miss out! Within five to ten minutes of hiking this trail, explore some detours to your left, towards the Hudson River. There will be several rock outcropping locations off trail that provides stunning beautiful views! Explore them all!
The best outcropping is the large one without trees around. As you may have noticed, I had returned to hike Mount Taurus numerous times throughout the year. This photo was taken during a rainy day. It was a special rare occasion where heavy storm clouds were floating beneath me. This was the day where I stood at cloud level.....I will never forget that experience.
On clear days, you have an up close view of Storm King Mountain. This photo was captured during early winter before the snow. You can see the gnarly-monstrous textures.
As you continue on the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail, just before it makes a sharp right turn, you will notice a series of large rock outcroppings that offer incredible views of Breakneck Ridge. Here, was the second time I hiked this mountain, bringing a happy group of friends. They had such a wonderful time.
Now I will reveal another incredible spot. It gets even better!.... Backtrack your way down to the intersection of the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail and the white-blazed Washburn Trail. Follow the white-blazes to ascend your way up the summit.
After a steep ascent, before the actual summit, there is a large rock outcropping to your left, a few feet off the trail. It is EASILY MISSED by many hikers! So pay extra attention, my friends.... You may climb up this rock from the front or approach it from behind, and voila, my friends!!!
THIS IS THE BEST SPOT on Mount Taurus! Soak it in, my friends, soak it in...!
This is one grand moment which provides a sacred meditative experience. With the 180 degrees panorama, your soul will be refreshed.... On a clear day, you can even see the Manhattan skyline from here.
During the winter of January 2014, I hiked up Mount Taurus in the snow. When I reached "The Best Spot", I sat down to drink some warm herbal tea and began to meditate and ponder about my life, with the incredible snowy panorama all around. It was breathtaking. It was a quiet peaceful day. It was so dead quiet, I could hear my own heart beating. Never in my life had I experienced such a sacred moment.
Looking carefully into the distance, I observed beautiful features of nearby mountains, covered in snow.
Continuing on the white-blazed trail, you will reach a view-less summit, surrounded by trees. Further down the trail, you will come to a north-facing view of the entire Breakneck Ridge and summit of South Beacon Mountain. Now is up to you to choose your descent route. You can trace your way back the white-blazed Washburn Trail to the parking lot, or, you can pick another other trail on the map to hike further and find a way back down to Route 9D. There are many alternative routes.
On one outing, I hiked the yellow-blazed Undercliff Trail all the way down the valley and up Breakneck Ridge. During that rainy day, the storm clouds were hovering low. They were like magical mists rising out of the trees.
Well, my adventurous friends, I sure hope you find a time to visit this precious mountain. I'll leave you with this one last photo I took on that rainy day, when I took that yellow-blazed trail up Breakneck Ridge from Mount Taurus. The scenery was just the right setting for Jurassic Park! This was one SPECTACULAR RARE VIEW of Storm King Mountain living true to its name... Video Hiking Mount Taurus in the Snow:
Video Hiking up Mount Taurus the first time in Autumn: