A Loop Over West Mountain, The Timp, and Dunderberg Mountain

Happy Halloween everyone! This is the perfect time of year to avoid the crowds in the Hudson Highlands of New York, a place I had never been to before. Both the parkways and trails in the area see a lot of traffic during the summer, as these are some of the closest mountains to New York City. Don't let tourists and busy streets fool you, true beauty can be found here, in more ways than one.

Looking north at Bear Mountain from Bald Mountain.

Our journey started on the Appalachian Trail, on Seven Lakes Drive. We headed up the trail, our first destination being West Mountain. The sky wasn't looking that clear, but we still continued up the trail. It didn't take long for the first viewpoint, but it was cloudy.

One of many foggy views from West Mountain.

West Mountain included a long open ridge with beautiful forests. Once we reached the junction where the Appalachian Trail turns off, the sky opened up, and we continued on the trail to the shelter. The views are amazing.

The view from the Appalachian Trail junction.

It's worth mentioning how beautiful and unique the trail is to the shelter. The trail passes in and out of large, open meadows with great views to peaks such as Bear Mountain, Anthony's Nose, and The Timp.

Bear Mountain from the meadows atop West Mountain.

The shelter looked really comfortable. It was formed by stone and even had two chimneys. While I don't have a picture of the shelter, as a family stayed the night there, I did capture the view from the ledge the shelter is on, and Manhattan is clearly visible.

The view just below the shelter.
A zoomed photo of Manhattan from the shelter.

The trail then maneuvered itself down to the col between West Mountain and The Timp. It passes through a glowing, yellow forest, built with massive trees and large rocks. It was a steep climb, with multiple switchbacks.

A staircase lost in the leaves.

The Timp is well worth the effort, as the view is distinctive, and like nothing else out there. The main ledge looks straight down the Hudson River, into the Tappan Zee, with the Manhattan skyline in the far distance. Cheesecote Mountain and High Tor can also be seen.

The summit of The Timp.
New York City and Newark are clear. The World Trade Center and Empire State Building can be seen.

From here, the trail brought us down a stony descent to the col between The Timp and Dunderberg Mountain ("dunderberg" meaning "thunder mountain" in Dutch). The peak of interest on Dunderberg Mountain is called Bald Mountain. The top of Dunderberg Mountain is flat, and the woods are thin, as there are very few trees, and the forest floor is mostly carpeted by grass.

You would never think that this is the top of a mountain.

The summit of Bald Mountain is a different story, as the trees completely disappear, and all that's left is the grass and views. From here, there is a great view looking directly at Bear Mountain and Anthony's Nose. Other sites that can be seen include Iona Island, The Timp, West Mountain, Bull Hill, and Bear Mountain Bridge, which is where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Hudson River.

The main view from Bald Mountain.

You may think the journey is finished, but once you take the trail down from Dunderberg Mountain, you enter a whole new world. In the valley, the ruins of Doodletown, a logging and mining town, can be found. The town was abandoned in 1965, and the trail is even paved in this area.

The old paved road, with Dunderberg Mountain to the left.

The first ruins while heading down the trail included a strange shed-like structure, along with what appears as an old dam and foundation. Unlike the rest of the town, there were no plaques for the area, so your guess is as good as mine.

Some of the ruins.
Another oddity from the same site.

Once further down, the trail brought us past several old foundations and house sites, all with plaques displaying the house, along with who lived there. While we were touring the area, an actual tour group came through, so keep in mind that you will likely not have this area to yourself.

One of the foundations.

The highlight in the town was June Cemetery, which included both old and new graves. This is one of two cemeteries in the town, but we were running short on time. This area is certainly worth a visit by itself.

The beginning of the hike.
Another cloudy view from West Mountain.
The trail atop West Mountain.
Looking toward The Timp from near the shelter.
The only view north from The Timp.
The main view from The Timp. Can you see Manhattan?
My "best" photo of the shelter.
The tower atop Bear Mountain. Look at all the people!
A brook along the way to Dunderberg Mountain.
Anthony's Nose from Bald Mountain. A train can be seen to the left on the tracks.
Some more ruins in Doodletown.
The many graves of June Cemetery.
Happy Halloween!

To conclude, the Hudson Highlands are an incredible location that I will be returning to. The three mountains I wrote about above only scratch the surface of the area, and places like Doodletown also offer a dive into the obscure history of this area. I hope to return soon.

Also:I'm happy that my audience has grown over the past year, and I hope to make my blog better and better. For that goal to be achieved, I would appreciate some more interaction between me and you, so please, feel free to leave a comment below. I also added an "About Me" page to the top of my blog. Thanks for reading!


  1. What an amazingly beautiful hike! The spacious tree filled summit with rock outcroppings looks like a spectacular summit to explore...Love this incredible write up and great photos! Looking forward to your next adventure...

    1. Thank and thanks! We should go down here next summer!

  2. Hi Evan,

    Your blog is terrific. I love the variety of places that you visit. And, you do a marvelous job of documenting your adventures with excellent photos and text that is informative and well-written. Although I don’t post comments for each of your reports, I do read and thoroughly enjoy each of them.

    Regarding your zoomed photos of the Manhattan skyline, I wonder how many (if any) office workers in those skyscrapers might be looking at West Mountain, etc with binoculars and wistfully wishing they were there instead of being “imprisoned” in their office. :-)


    1. Thanks as always John! It's good to know you always read my blogs. My dad and I were thinking the same thing about the Manhattan skyline when we were there. The area is great, and a change in scenery is always nice!