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Hiking the Cornish Estate Trail of the Hudson Valley (Cold Spring, NY)

Hiking the Cornish Estate Trail of the Hudson Valley (Cold Spring, NY)

If you are looking for an easy scenic hike for the whole family and want to see some historical ruins along the way, then the Cornish Estate Trail is for you.

Located just outside of Cold Spring in the Hudson Valley, the Cornish Estate Trail is the perfect hike for anyone to take part of.

You can decide to complete the trail just up to the ruins, or if you are up for a longer loop with viewpoints, that is certainly possible too.

Read on to learn more about the Cornish Estate Trail and how to take on this hike for yourself.

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1) Hiking Overview and Details

To start, let’s layout some hiking details for the Cornish Estate Trail to give you a better idea of what it is all about.

  • Trail Name: Cornish Estate Trail
  • How Long is the Cornish Estate Trail: 1.8 miles (round trip)
  • Elevation Gain: +200 feet
  • Terrain: Pavement & Dirt Path
  • Trail Type: Out & Back
  • Duration: 1.5 hours (depends on time at the estate)

The hiking overview above pertains to the standard trail just going back & forth to the Cornish Estate. However, you do have the option to extend this hike as part of a longer loop on Bull Hill.

Northgate Architecture

Bull Hill Extension

Bull Hill is the hike that heads up above the Cornish Estate and reaches several viewpoints over the Hudson Valley & River along the way. Now, this will be a much different type of trail since you will need to gain more elevation.

If you are up for the challenge and have more time to spare, then I would recommend reading through the Bull Hill hiking overview up on the site. You can take part of a “short” or “long” loop option depending on your preference.

In general, the full loop comes in at 5.5 miles / 1,500 feet of elevation gain and the short loop at 4.3 miles / 1,100 feet of elevation gain.

Hudson River Viewpoint Bull Hill

2) Cornish Estate Trail Map

Below you can find the Cornish Estate Trail map that pinpoints the parking lot, trailhead, and the route to the ruins. Towards the end of the trail line, there will be several structures sprawled around the area.

3) How to Get There

The Cornish Estate trailhead is located just north of the village of Cold Spring. It is part of the greater Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, which makes up 6,000+ acres of beautiful landscape.

The trailhead is just a mile north from the town on the right-hand side along Route 9D. On navigation apps, you may see this location named the Washburn Trail, which is directly across from Little Stony Point.

There are two main ways to get yourself to the Cornish Estate trailhead – either by car or by train.

By Car

You can easily drive yourself directly to the Cornish Estate parking lot (more on that next).

The drive from Manhattan should take just around an hour without traffic as you make your way northbound following the Hudson River.

It is a beautiful drive as you are surrounded by the Hudson Valley, and get views of the Hudson River along the way.

By Train

If you do not have your own car, then taking the train is also a great option. What makes this hike so accessible is that there is a train station in Cold Spring.

The Metro North Hudson line leaves 1-2 times an hour from Grand Central Station and takes around 80 minutes to arrive in Cold Spring.

The downside of the train, is that you will not be let off right at the starting point of the hike. Instead, you will need to walk the 20 minutes from the station to the trailhead. This will end up adding another 40 minutes / 2 miles to your overall day.

The round-trip ticket from Grand Central Station to Cold Spring will cost $30.

Hudson River Views One World

4) Cornish Estate Trail Parking

The parking lot is located directly across from Little Stony Point on Route 9D. If you are coming in from the south, the lot will be on your right-hand side, shortly after Cold Spring.

The trailhead is actually connected directly to the main parking lot of the trail. Here you will find a lot that can fit around 30 cars give or take. In addition to the main lot, there are some overflow spots on the opposite side of the road.

If you are looking for exact GPS coordinates, you can put in 41°25’35.9″N 73°57’55.4″W into your navigation app. Alternatively, you can just put in Little Stony Point or the Washburn Trail, and you should be getting to the same area.

Parking Tip: if you would like to guarantee yourself a spot, I would recommend arriving prior to 9:00AM on weekends (at least from the Spring to Fall). Maybe even before that on holiday & great weather weekend days.

In the chance that you can’t find a spot at the lot, you will need to head back to Cold Spring and find somewhere to park along the way.

Cornish Estate Trail Parking Lot

5) Cornish Estate History

To give a quick background about the Cornish Estate and how it came to be, here is a summarized history lesson:

  • Beginning in 1904, Sigmund and Dove Stern purchased several small farms around the area, which combined into a 650 acre estate in the Breakneck Valley.
  • In 1912, the design/architecture firm Werner and Windolph was tasked with designing a country estate that would include various buildings, gardens, a swimming pool, and more.
  • However, after Dove Stern passed away in 1915, Sigmund put the property up for sale. It was Edward and Selina Cornish that eventually bought the estate in 1917. The family utilized the Cornish Estate (also known as Northgate) for the next couple of decades.
  • After the Cornishs’ passed away, their nephew Joel Cornish inherited it. In 1958 though, a fire tore through the property and left the estate in unlivable conditions.
  • It was then in 1963 that the Central Hudson Gas and Electric Company purchased the estate to build a new power plant. However, that never came to be due to public protest.
  • So, in 1967 the estate was sold to New York State and became part of Hudson Highlands State Park.
Cornish Estate Map

The Northgate Project

You may also see the Cornish Estate called the Northgate Project. To clarify what the project is, here is what is written on the signboard of the estate:

The Northgate Project is a community based effort to preserve and interpret the ruins of the Stern-Cornish estate, also known as Northgate. The project’s intent is to create an interpretive experience, remove invasive plants, and preserve the ruins for future generations to enjoy. This effort has been made possible through the support of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Park.

6) The Cornish Estate Trail & Ruins

Once you arrive at the parking lot, it is time to begin the hike out to the Cornish Estate.

You need to be very careful right at the start though! After heading to the northern part of the parking lot, you will come across two trails – one that veers to the right and another that heads to the left (parallel to route 9D).

The trail to the right is the one that heads up to the Bull Hill, while the trail to the left will take you directly to the Cornish Estate ruins in less than a mile. While the Bull Hill trail does circle back to the ruins, it will be a completely different hiking experience to take part of.

Below is the intersection you will come across at the start of the hike:

Cornish Estate Trailhead

You should see Blue trail markers guiding the way towards the Cornish Estate on a very easy to follow trail.

The trail heads straight along a mixture of a paved path & packed dirt, as you walk among the tall trees surrounding you. It is a pleasant stroll for about 20 minutes or so, until you reach the ruins area.

Cornish Terrain

Once you arrive at the Cornish Estate, you will be welcomed to several different structures in all directions. In front of some of these structures, you will find helpful signboards explaining some of the history & what you are seeing.

The area is made up of several different ruins to visit. Some of these include:

  • Mansion Residence
  • Pool
  • Gazebo(s)
  • Greenhouse
  • Livestock Building
  • Barn & Stables
  • Sunken Garden
  • Spring House
  • And more!
Cornish Estate Cold Spring

Feel free to walk all around the ruins and even within some of the ruins to get a sense of everything at the estate.

On some of the signboards you should also be able to see what the structures looked like back in the day before they were destroyed.

Northgate Driveway
Cornish Estate Mansion
Cornish Estate Hudson Valley
Cornish Estate Greenhouse

I would imagine you will spend around 30+ minutes just exploring this whole area, before turning back around and heading to the parking lot.

All said and done, I would expect to set aside around 1.5 hours for the hike & ruins.

Cornish Trail Signs

Ruins Note: there are additional ruins further along past the main estate area. These are more easily accessible if you take part of the full Bull Hill loop. Check out some photos below on what to expect there.

Northgate Project
Cornish Ruins

Once you arrive back at the parking lot, feel free to drive on over to Cold Spring. You can enjoy a meal or some ice cream by the river, and end a successful day out in the Hudson Valley.

Cold Spring New York

7) More Hudson Valley Hikes

There are many more hikes around the area if you are up for more adventure. Some of these include:

Be sure to read through any of those hiking guides if you are interested in learning more.

Beacon Mountain Fire Tower

That about does it for the Cornish Estate trail. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.

Also, don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site. Have fun out there and safe travels!

The Cornish Estate Trail Cold Spring

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