Hike the Washburn/Nelsonville/Undercliff Loop



7.2 miles

Elevation Gain

2000 ft

Route Type


Added by John Maurizi

A nice but difficult hike with great views of West Point Military Academy, the Hudson River and Storm King State Park to the west.

This is a difficult loop hike that has several different starting points.  I chose to start at the Washburn Trail Head, which is the lowest starting point you can select.  Nearly on the Hudson River, the trail ascends immediately along a well maintained road designated by white disc markers.  After a short way you will reach a quarry. The trail turns right here and ascends a shoulder as several trails weave through the trees.  They all lead up the shoulder with several views south toward West Point and the Hudson River.  This trail tops out on Bull Hill, also known as Taurus Mountain, a little less than 2 miles.  Continue down the east side of the mountain along an old fire road.  The trail ends at an intersection with two other trails. 

The Nelsonville Trail passes through here.  Proceed straight onto the Nelsonville Trail designated with green disc markers.  The trail quickly turns right and is a wide dirt/gravel fire road.  After a few miles you will reach a small parking area.  Pass through this parking lot and pick up the Nelsonville Trail again.  After less than a half mile you will see the Undercliff Trail on the right marked with yellow discs.

The Undercliff Trail ascends the side of Taurus Mountain and is steep at times.  There is a tricky section at the only view point on the Undercliff Trail.  There are several social paths that lead away from the trail.  Many people get confused here.  After the trail climbs up to this view point, it makes an abrupt turn back and descends again before climb back up the side of the mountain.  It is not well marked here so take your time to find the right way.

The Undercliff Trail ends back on the Washburn trail you had ascended earlier.  Turn left and descend back to the quarry and eventually your car. 

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