Mount Taurus, also known as Bull Hill, is a 1,410-foot mountain located in the nearly 6,000-acre Hudson Highlands State Park. Situated on the east side of the Hudson River, just north of Cold Spring, it is an extremely popular hiking destination for thousands of visitors each year. The Washburn Trail, marked by white blazes, offers incredible views of the Hudson Valley in an approximately 5-mile round-trip hike that overlooks the West Point Military Academy to the south, Storm King State Park to the west, and Bannerman’s Castle to the north. The New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) maintains a map of the Hudson Highlands to help you navigate your route.
The trailhead is located along Route 9D across from Little Stony Point. It is not unlikely to see several dozen cars lining both sides of the road here on a nice weekend. Many others also take the Metro-North train to the Breakneck Station on the East-Hudson River line, or the Cold Spring Station which has more regular service. Train tickets are available on the Metro-North website. The Washburn and Cornish Trails both begin at this location.
Take the white-blazed trail to the right to ascend Bull Hill. After climbing 300 feet in about a half-mile, you will come to a large level area encompassed by the cutout bowl of a former quarry. Since the days of the American Revolution, these mountains were mined extensively for their iron and copper. Operations continued into the early 20th century, and many of the paths throughout the park are on these former vehicle roads. Take some time to explore the unmarked footpaths that circle this gravel area along the south side of Breakneck Ridge and meander through fields of young locust trees.
Return to the white-blazed trail, where the path emerged, and head up the hill circling along the edge of the quarry. There are several open vistas, each higher and more impressive than the last. As you gain elevation, you can see the Bear Mountain Bridge to the south. In the distance, the Tappan Zee Bridge is visible as well. On a clear day you can even see the Manhattan skyline appearing on the horizon. Directly across the river is Storm King Mountain and North Point.
Many adventurers decide to create a looped path using the blue-blazed Cornish Trail. This route will extend your trip by about 2 miles and take you past overgrown, historical ruins. It is the former estate of Edward J. Cornish and the mansion near the base of the mountain served as his country home until his death in 1938. There is also a barn near the Brook Trail intersection where he kept his prized Jersey cows. Follow the red-blazed Brook Trail east to the Cornish Trail to return to Route 9D.
The Hudson Highlands has an extensive network of trails, which are maintained by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. There are many sections of this park that bring trekkers from the river’s edge and marshlands to the mountain tops and exposed rock. NYSOPRHP requests that you remain on the trails to minimize impact on the forest environment. This helps to protect the many rare and delicate plant species on these mountains and helps prevent erosion. The only potable water is available in Garrison and Cold Spring. Lyme disease, transmitted by deer ticks, has become a major concern and danger throughout the Hudson Valley, so please check your body for these pin-head size creatures during and after your adventure. Camping and fires are prohibited throughout the park, and all-terrain vehicles are not permitted on the trails. Dogs are permitted on leashes that are under 10 feet. For additional information on hiking tips and safety, visit the NY-NJ Trail Conference website.