Bull Hill via Lone Star, Split Rock, Undercliff, Washburn, and Nelsonville Trails Loop

MODERATE 35 reviews

Bull Hill via Lone Star, Split Rock, Undercliff, Washburn, and Nelsonville Trails Loop is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cold Spring, New York that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,410 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

This loop is for those who like a good cardio workout (there’s plenty of climbing along the way!), but aren’t quite ready for the rock-scrambling rigors of nearby Breakneck Ridge. Though the vistas along this loop are not numerous, they are quite spectacular, most notably around the peak of Bull Hill/Mt. Taurus - views south to NYC on the south side of the peak and, on the north side of the peak, views to the northwest as far out as the Catskill Mountains. You can usually park right at the trailhead, where there is space for about 5 cars (with another such layby about 30 yards further east on Fishkill Road). You start out on the Lone Star Trail (blue blazes), which climbs fairly gently along an old woods road. After 0.3 miles, turn left onto the Split Rock Trail (red blazes), which continues the climb until you reach the Nelsonville Trail (green blazes) at the 0.6 mile mark. Turn left, and follow the Nelsonville Trail (an old road), losing most of the altitude you’ve gained. At 1.4 miles, turn right onto the Undercliff Trail (yellow blazes), which gradually gets steeper as it climbs up the south-southwest side of Bull Hill. Be sure to keep an eye out for the yellow blazes - it’s not so much that there aren’t enough of them, but rather that there are quite a number of herd paths which can easily lead one off the blazed trail. There are a couple of nice viewpoints to the south along the way (both are obvious). At 2.6 miles, you reach the Washburn Trail (white blazes) onto which you turn right to continue up Bull Hill. Just before you reach the summit, the trail does an almost-180 turn to the left. On the rock outcrop at this point there is an asterisk with “NYC” painted on the rock. Climb to the top of this outcrop and look directly south for a spectacular view of the Hudson River (with the Tappan Zee Bridge clearly visible) all the way down to the obvious skyline of New York City. (This, of course, assumes the air quality allows such views!). After one more short climb you reach the (quite flat) summit of Bull Hill, which the trail traverses. On the north side of the summit, there is another spectacular view, this time to the north and west, ranging from Breakneck Ridge in the foreground, past Newburgh, then the Shawangunk Ridge, all the way to the Catskill Mountains. The Washburn Trail then winds down the north side of Bull Hill on an old road until, at 3.8 miles, it ends at an intersection with the Notch Trail (blue blazes) and the Nelsonville Trail (green blazes). Stay straight on the Nelsonville Trail, which continues to follow the old road down the mountain. At 4.3 miles, turn left onto the Lone Star Trail (blue blazes) and continue on this trail as it descends. At 4.6 miles, be sure to make a sharp right turn to stay on the Lone Star Trail. (The fairly new Highlands Trail segment goes straight at this point.) At 5.4 miles, you will have returned to your starting point.

Great moderate hike. Well trafficked on a weekend, but still just quiet enough. Well marked, lost the yellow trail a couple times was it was easy to re-trace and get back on track. Took the dog along as well.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

6 months ago

Good cardio & several nice vistas both north & south. I measured 5.4 miles; took 2.3 hrs

hiking
8 months ago

Nice hike. Challenging enough to put my newly replaced knee to the test. Well marked trail but be mindful once trails start crossing each other. I took a wrong turn and almost got lost. Definitely going to give it another go.

8 months ago

Enjoyed this trail - went to the left and had several easy scrambles on the way up but an easy way down

9 months ago

5.5 miles with the overlooks. Nice trails with a couple of great viewpoints. As another hiker commented previously, watch the trail markers! There are lots of unofficial trails, particularly on the yellow trail. It’s VERY easy to get off trail. Several creeks and a waterfall. No scrambles but definitely felt like i earned a bbq stop at the Round-Up:)

hiking
9 months ago

Really nice moderate trail with great views! Go on the earlier side, makes for a more tranquil hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Took my dog on a Friday morning, thinking it is 4.9 Miles. Our hike was closer to six miles with quite a bit of elevation change. We started seeing people on our descent - several pairs and a few individuals, a lot for a work day. Trails are mostly clear and wide, but markers are not always clear and are unusually high. A map with all of the trail colors would be beneficial to have on hand, as there are many trails that lead to other parking areas or loop around or end. Beautiful views from several points at the top. Be sure to check out the side trails. Heard lots of birds, including pileated woodpecker and turkey.

10 months ago

Got it!! This is my go to trail to connect and get grounded w nature!!

11 months ago

Nice moderate trail however, for some reason got lost on one of the turns, definitely have to try again!

hiking
Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hiked this trail in mid June 2018. Hiked on Friday evening from 5pm-9pm, and didn't encounter any other people on the trail. Pretty good exercise. The summer foliage covers a lot of what would be some spectacular views. The trail makes a sharp U turn to the left after you reach the Yellow trail. Keep an eye on the trail markers and don't just follow the trail on the ground.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

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