The Hudson Highlands houses many outstanding hikes, some extremely popular for good reason – and a few that maybe should be more well known. Thankfully, Black Rock Forest [65 Reservoir Rd, Cornwall, NY 12518] remains slightly under the radar for such an astoundingly beautiful place. Most definitely still a local favorite, the parking lot was indeed packed on a sunny spring weekend, but it’s a smaller parking lot. With 30 miles of trails within the preserve, you don’t need to share the path with many other people along the way. The old logging and mining roads along with newer footpaths are not always marked well, so having a good map with you is essential.
My loop hike in total was 5 1/2 miles with 1,000′ elevation gain winding along many different blazes throughout the confines of the park. Starting up on a gravel road, it wasn’t long before the views started kicking in.
Passing the scientific research center and into the woods – a charming covered bridge appeared.
Stop to enjoy the reservoir, a favorite hang out of many birds.
Pretty little tree swallows were abundant in the season, usually flitting about – but luckily one sat for a moment so that I could admire it.
The pond was filled with so many goslings, all lined up in a row.
Another nearby lake has a pretty neat spillway.
The great climb beyond it leads to a stunning view over the Hudson Valley.
From up there, spy a firetower, one I’ve never climbed before – don’t even know how to get there. Insider tips?
Scramble down and meander around there are some interesting rock formations along the path.
Bubbling creek shows off a lovely little waterfall.
Just as the hike was almost complete, a scarlet tanager appeared – though too flighty for a great picture.
It is always a treat to see these vibrant birds, who I encounter so rarely.
Good to know:
+Parking is free
+The Stillman Trail links to Storm King State Park