Anthony’s Nose, otherwise known as Engagement Rock, is a 4-mile there-and-back trail from Hessian Lake that offers spectacular views up and down the Hudson River Valley. Along the way you will pass the Bear Mountain Inn, park land, an ice rink, a native animal zoo, a natural spring pool, and a historic suspension bridge – making this an exceptional destination for family fun.
Start walking north from the administration building and carousel until the two paved paths diverge in the picnic area near the lake’s beach. You can see Anthony’s Nose rise above the horizon to your east. Keep the water on your left and head north to the Appalachian Trail intersection by the restrooms. Take this white path east toward the river, down a set of stairs, and through the tunnel under Highway 9W/202.
You'll enter the Bear Mountain Zoo and see a number of rescue animals including black bears, bobcats, and porcupines. The Trailside Museum, a joint effort by the Museum of Natural History, John D. Rockefeller, and the Palisades Park Commission, identifies the various flora and fauna of the region. The zoo also marks the lowest elevation of the 2,169-mile AT and the first section conceived in 1921.
Continue north to the bridge’s administration building and be sure to watch for traffic as you cross over Highway 6. Head east on the north side of the Bear Mountain Bridge, privately built by the Harriman family in 1923, and watch massive freighters head up and down the river beneath you. This section of the Hudson is actually below sea level!
Walk northeast on Route 9D, another parking option, and cross into the woods at about 0.2 miles up the road. Follow the white AT markers up the 700-foot vertical rise until you reach an intersection: The left branch continues to Maine, and the right branch with blue trail markers leads to Anthony's Nose.
At the bald summit you can gaze upon historically significant sites in almost every direction. Iona Island, surrounded by freshwater marsh on the river’s east side, marks the site of a summer resort from the late 1800s and a major ammunition facility for the Navy during both World Wars. Directly across the river is Popolopen Creek, guarded by Fort Montgomery on the north and Fort Clinton on the south. This is one site of the famous log boom and chain that crossed the Hudson during the Revolutionary War. While it prevented British forces from sailing north, it did not stop their march over Dunderberg in October of 1777, when they overwhelmed both forts and killed 300 patriots who were thrown into Hessian Lake, then called Bloody Pond.
Even though this trail can become fairly congested, the breathtaking view of the Hudson Highlands and rich history of the region can make this trip extremely satisfying.
For those interested in a more difficult traverse to the summit, there is a 3-mile trail on the east side of the river next to Bear Mountain Bridge Road that approaches from the south.