SYNOPSIS: Near the southern entrance to the Garrison train station, it would be easy to miss the sign for the trail to Arden Point. Past the sign and two stone pillars that mark the trailhead, a wide, flat path takes you past some ruins and over two foot bridges. Once over the second bridge, a woodsy route takes you on a loop around Arden Point, a small landmass that bulges out into the Hudson. There are three spots that offer especially impressive views, and each has a different feel to it.
APPROXIMATE TIME: Two hours, including frequent stops to rest little legs, have a snack and explore.
DIFFICULTY: Easy, but there are a few drop-offs close to the water so watch the kids.
DIRECTIONS: To get there from eastern Putnam County, take Route 301 into Cold Spring and turn left onto Route 9D to head south. After about 3 miles, turn right onto Upper Station Road. At the bottom of the hill, a left turn will lead you to the Garrison train station. Pull into the train station and park toward the south end of the lot. The trailhead is next to the southern entrance of the station, and the sign for Arden Point faces toward the road.
THE HIKE: Shortly after setting off down the trail between the two stone pillars, you will come upon some ruins. The old railings, lonely chimneys and crumbled foundations were neat, but a three-story-high brick building with only the façade remaining piqued our interest and warranted closer inspection.
As you cross over the wooden bridge that takes you over a stream, watch yourself and the kids because the handrails are missing and some of the boards are rickety. Interestingly, the planks of the bridge are long cuts of rough sawn trees. (If you have a few extra minutes, there is a spur trail just after the wooden bridge that takes you a short distance up the hill for a view of a nice waterfall.)
Continuing on the main trail, you will come to a bridge that leads over the train tracks. Just before you make the right to go over the bridge, there is a sign for Marcia’s Mile, which is a trail that continues south. (We didn’t have enough time, but the Marcia’s Mile trail connects with the Glenclyffe Loop near a large gazebo overlooking the Hudson.)
Once over the train tracks, you can go left or right. We turned right to follow the blue trail markers, making a counter-clockwise loop around Arden Point. After a short distance, the blue trail ends. Stay straight to head north on the red trail. Pass through a stone wall and down a few steps to reach the first vantage point. The northernmost point is a small, craggy rock outcropping that forms a point a few feet above the water where crooked pine trees and lots of green moss make it rather picturesque.
Backtrack on the red trail. When you get back to the intersection with the blue trail, bear right to stay on the red path. In short order you will come to the second viewpoint which is a small, open area with views across the river, and up and down the coastline.
Leaving the open area, the red path will turn a short distance inland, then head south to bring you to the third viewpoint. The southern tip is a smooth, water-worn rock that slides down to the water’s edge, and has a wooden bench where you can sit and take in the view.
To head home after enjoying the view from the southern tip of Arden Point, continue the counterclockwise loop by following the wide path that heads north to take you back to the bridge over the train tracks. Once over the bridge, turn left to get back to the train station parking lot.
HISTORY: The property for this preserve was once part of Highlands Country Club. The Open Space Institute (OSI) and New York State partnered in 1988 to acquire the 71 acres of waterfront land. Arden Point is now part of Hudson Highlands State Park, a series of unconnected parcels that total almost 6,000 acres of parkland.
MAP & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: We visited in March 2010. I learned of Arden Point from a booklet called 22 Hikes in Philipstown published by the Philipstown Greenway Committee in 2005. It is a great primer on the more prominent hikes in western Putnam County, and I have found the trail descriptions in it to be very helpful. You can access 22 Hikes online at www.philipstown.com.
There is also info on the New York State Parks website at www.nysparks.com in the section for Hudson Highlands State Park (Arden Point is not listed as a stand-alone park). Dogs are permitted if on a leash not more than ten feet. The trails for Arden Point are indicated on the printable South Trail Map, but the map covers a large geographic area so I didn’t find the map very useful as an actual trail guide. Lastly, OSI’s website (www.osiny.org) has more info on the history of the property.