The North Ridge is located in the 1,972-acre Storm King State Park along the west bank of the Hudson River. The steep sides and rounded tops of these mountains were carved out by the last ice age and define a significant bend in the Hudson River that creates a fjord stretching south to West Point and Bear Mountain State Park. The Howell Trail (Blue) and Stillman Spring Trail (White) follow a 3-mile loop with an approximately 1,000-foot gain that climbs to Pitching Point and North Point and offers incredible views of the Hudson River Valley. Scenic Hudson, a land conservancy group, has a published a map of the area to help you navigate your route.
Begin at the parking area on Old Storm King Highway (Route 218), which traverses the eastern edge of the park along the Hudson River. Traveling south, a small dirt parking area will be on your left. There is a large stone structure that blends into the woods and marks an old spring outlet. White and blue trail markers define the trailheads leading into the park on either side of this structure. Take the Howell Trail (Blue) to the left to start your ascent to Pitching Point.
You’ll begin with a steep climb that will continue without hesitation to Pitching Point. Several lookout points will delight you with each view offering a new perspective of the incredible Hudson Valley. You’ll reach a minor summit along the river that finally begins to slow in ascent as you head west into the park. Blueberry heaths line your path over large rocks and through fields of wildflowers. Continue for another mile, dipping slightly into a valley, and up the next mountain to North Point. Located in the heart of Storm King State Park, this peak stands out with its large area of low growth and a peculiar boulder left by the glaciers thousands of years ago. The summit is guarded by the ridges to the north and south that outline your view of Hudson Highlands State Park. Breakneck Ridge and Mount Taurus sit directly across the river.
To the north, Storm King Mountain (1,340 feet) defines the park with a monumental, jagged rock face that wraps around its eastern side. At its base you can see Old Storm King Highway wrapping around the steep edge. To the northeast, Butter Hill (1,380 feet), the highest point in the park, is a second peak of Storm King Mountain. To the south, you can see Crows Nest and a T.V. relay tower, which are on military grounds off-limits to the public. Continue on the blue-blazed Hollow Trail, over the summit, and down its western face. Your descent will wrap around the north side of the mountain and head east. Upon reaching the trail intersection, take the Stillman Spring Trail (White) to the right and complete the trail loop back to the parking area in about a mile.
In the winter season, Highway 218 is closed due to the dangers of snow and ice along with the increased risk of falling rocks. This trail loop can also be accessed from a small parking area on U.S. Route 9W (North) via the Bobcat Trail (White), which will lead directly to North Point. Others choose to start at the Butter Hill Trailhead on U.S. Route 9W and take the Bypass Trail (White) to the Howell Trail (Blue). When planning your journey, take note that the Route 9W parking areas can only be reached when traveling north due to a divider in the center of the highway. Visitors from the north must travel an extra 3 miles to the south and use the Route 218 interchange to turn around and return on U.S. 9W North.