Hike Jessup/West Ridge Loop via the Sweet Clover Trail

Rate this Adventure 10 miles 1700 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by John Maurizi

A long loop hike along two ridged offering great views of the Hudson Valley to the east and west.

Schunnemunk Mountain State Park is one of my favorite parks.  It offers many trails and possibilities for different loops.  The attraction of Schunnemunk Mountain is the long double ridges running parallel to each other and amazing views in all directions.

This hike starts at the Taylor Road parking area.  Cross Taylor road and hike up the Sweet Clover Trail which is marked with white blazes.  The trail crosses an open field for a little less than one mile until it enter the forest and begins a steep climb.  The trail crosses over a railroad track and continues uphill.  After another 1.5 miles, the Sweet Clover Trail intersects with the Jessup Trail.  The Jessup Trail is marked with Yellow Blazes.  However, you will also see markers for the Highlands Trail as it also shares the Jessup Trail.

At this point you are now on top of the ridge with great views to the east.  In the distance you can even see the Hudson River.  This section of the Jessup trail follows the ridge south and offers many excellent views as it travels over open slick rock and meanders through scrub pines. Turn left here and follow the Jessup Trail for 2 miles until you reach the intersection with the West Ridge Trail.

The West Ridge Trail in marked with Orange blazes and begins at this intersection.  Turn right on the West Ridge Trail.  Here the trail descends steeply through a brief cliff and a longer scree field.  The trail then begins to ascend to the parallel ridge and travels north until it meets up with the Sweet Clover Trail.  This section of the West Ridge Trail is about 3 miles long.  This ridge offers great view to the west in the Catskill Range. 

When you reach the intersection of the Sweet Clover Trail, turn right. The trail descends again steeply and then ascends all in the course of .5 miles until it intersects with the Jessup Trail again.  Turn right for a short distance until you can descend the section of the Sweet Clover Trail that you ascended earlier in the day to access the loop.

Total length of this hike is 10 miles with 1700 feet of elevation gain.  Highly recommended when the sky is clear and more so during fall.

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