Hike Mt. Taurus (Bull Hill)
New York › Mt. Taurus Parking Area
Added by Shaun O'Neill
- Distance: 4 Miles up and back
- Time: 2-3 hours depending on pace, photo breaks, and how many lost hikers you help
- Hike along the edge of an old quarry
- Wonderful views of the Hudson and nearby mountains, especially at sunset
- Close proximity to Cold Spring with plenty of shops, restaurants, and adult beverage options
Mt. Taurus (or Bull Hill) is a short, family and dog friendly, hike just outside the town of Cold Spring, easily accessible by car or taking the train into town. It snakes along the edge of an old quarry that is just now being retaken by nature and provides lookouts towards the Hudson, other nearby mountains, as well as the town itself.
Parking is shared with Little Stony Point which is right across the street, and is a nice area to relax by the river or cool off with a swim post hike. Lots are located on both sides of the road (41.426650, -73.965530), and parking along the shoulder of 9D is permitted. It is a fairly busy road, so take care when unloading and crossing. During the summer this can be a very busy and populated area, going during peak times can make parking difficult. The trailhead is well marked and more often than not is well stocked with trail maps that are worth grabbing.
For this hike, you'll be taking the Washburn Trail, which is well marked with white blazes, and only the Washburn Trail. The beginning is well worn and marked, starting with a steady but easy incline that proves a nice ease into the hike. Not too far into it the trail will open into the bottom of the quarry, where after taking in the sites of the sheer rock wall and the new growth blooming in the area, you'll make a hard right and continue on the white trail.
Keep an eye out for the trail markers and white blazes as you snake your way up along the side of the quarry. There are several areas where the trail can break down into a few different foot trails that more or less lead to the same area, but some lead into parts of the park that have been restricted for wildlife purposes. Signs are posted and should be respected. As you continue winding back and forth you'll be provided some view points out towards the Hudson River and Storm King mountain across the river, as well as views looking out over the town of Cold Spring. The best however is yet to come.
After making your way around the rim of the quarry you'll continue along the white trail towards the summit of Mt. Taurus (if you grabbed a trail map at the parking lot it will be listed as Bull Hill). The yellow trail will cross paths, be sure to stay on white and give a smile to the confused hikers that will be standing at the intersection trying to figure out the best way back to their car.
The most difficult part of the ascent behind you, Washburn levels out a bit and becomes more of a walk through the woods than a climb. A little before the 1.6 mile mark approximately is what I felt to be the best view of the hike (as seen in the picture with myself and my pup) which is a few feet off the left side of the trail on a giant rock. On a clear evening this spot would make for an outstanding sunset view.
Continuing on, the summit of the mountain is actually fairly nondescript as it is quite wooded and flat for some time. At about 1.95 miles the trail will turn left and give you a nice view of Breakneck Ridge and Storm King across the river, though the trees break up any hopes for a good panorama.
If you continue along the Washburn Trail it eventually ends at the blue trail which connects to the Breakneck Ridge trails as well as goes down into the valley through the Cornish Estate. At this point we turned back and called it a night, retiring to Little Stony Point to take in the last of the sunset colors and watch the ducks waddle about the beach.
- Comfortable shoes with some traction
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Spring, Summer, Autumn
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Loop Instead of Up-And-Back
This was a fun hike, but you do not need to make it an up-and-back. Instead of turning around when the trail becomes blue, follow it. This is the Notch Trail and descends on the north side of the mountain. Follow it to the Breakneck Brook crossing and turn left on to the Brook Trail (red). Follow this along a creek until it forks into blue and red. Take the blue to the left and follow it back, partially through an abandoned estate. This dumps you off at the Washburn trailhead where you started. This loop is about 4.5 miles, slightly longer than the 4 mile up-and-back.
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