Fahnestock Wilderness Trail

Cold Spring, New York 10516

Fahnestock Wilderness Trail

Fahnestock Wilderness Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This is not one of those blow-your-boots-off sorts of sorties, with killer views, phenomenal waterfalls, or anything else of a superlative sort. Its appeal is of a far more subliminal, cerebral nature, in which a rolling up-anddown terrain draws the hiker far into an unpopulated wilderness, a place in which the squealing of hawks overhead is more common than the squawking of other people, and mushrooms on the trail are a more frequent sight than hikers’ litter."

Fahnestock Wilderness Trail Trip Reports

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5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
This is a great and varied hike. Lots of climbing -- over 3,200 feet of cumulative elevation gain so my legs were a bit numb by the time the day was over. The trail basically takes you up every peak in the preserve, with some amazing views as a reward. Overall, a pretty rugged hiking experience. Sturdy hiking boots are strongly recommended. Only downside is that the recommended return route takes you for a pretty long stretch down a semi-paved road. Also, the trails are not always well marked and the directions pretty confusing -- a criss-cross of turns and trail switches which forces pretty strict attention to the directions. Overall, though, a great full day of hiking.
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
The views from Eagle Point and Black Rock were stunning, though they were the only two that stood out during the trek. The hiking part was relatively easy, with no hugely demanding climbs or descents. The ponds aren't very inviting for swimming or wading and some are off-limits (being reservoirs), or just too mucky and boggy to enjoy, which was disappointing. The small stream near the entrance provides a refreshing place to cool down after the day is through. Given how few hikers were on the trail, this would be a great place for bird-spotting, though the surrounding suburban sprawl probably keeps away larger fauna. I agree with another reviewer that the text directions are not very clear and too convoluted to be easily followed: I had to back-track several times. You're better off donating a dollar at the parking-lot to get the much better trail map provided by the Black Rock Conservancy and planning your own route.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
This was a GREAT hike although long (11 miles). I only made a few modifications by staying with the Stillman Trail rather than the Sackett. On the way back I walked down to the Upper Reservoir on the road since I don't like to retrace my steps. I also walked up Continental Rd to the Chatfield Stone House and then across the outlet of Arthur's Pond to the Tower Vue Trail. This hike has something for everyone unless you really crave steep, continuous climbs or hand-over-hand rock scrambles. There are a few steeper ascents and descents but the attraction here are the beautiful views around and afar. Some of these views include vast housing developments and commercial areas. This reminded me how important it is that we preserve land for public use and NOT develop it. Waning: The tunnel under 9W coming from the south is VERY narrow!
1 out of 5 stars1 out of 5 stars1 out of 5 stars1 out of 5 stars1 out of 5 stars
After about 2 hours on the trail, and only 2.8 miles, we decided to minimize our losses in this maze of trails. The park itself seems nice enough, but our early June weather and the fact that the route spent as much time in the bogs as on and atop the hills produced too many mosquitoes. The area is confusing enough with tons of trails in a small area, and the this route made it worse in two ways. First, the description tries to be too flowery and is not clear enough when multiple trails come together. Second, the route itself seems unnecessarily complex. But, we'll never know because we won't come back, unless its winter to snow shoe in the wide even roads throughout the forest.

Fahnestock Wilderness Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Cold Spring
Nearby City
2,580 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
6.5 hours
Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park; nysparks.com/parks/133/details.aspx
Local Contacts
At park headquarters on north side of NY 301, 0.6 mile west of Taconic Parkway; download from tinyurl.com/fahnestockmspmap; USGS West Point
Local Maps

Trail Log