Storm King Mountain

In preparation for some hikes that I will be doing very soon, I signed up with Outdoorbound early this month for a day hike in upstate New York. It was a glorious October weekend with clear sunny skies so we took advantage of it. Outdoors in the fall is just gorgeous - not too hot, not too cold. Some 15 of us strangers met up in Manhattan early in the morning and was driven by Max, our guide, for about an hour into Storm King State Park, close to the US Military Academy in Westpoint. Rising above the Hudson river, Storm King Mountain stands at a decent 1,348 feet, perfect for my much needed warm up.

Unfortunately, on our way to our planned traihead, the road was blocked due to fallen rocks. Not a good sign it is but our spirits were still up. Max brought out Plan B - we took a detour and into a different route via the Esty & Hellie Stowell Trailhead which has 11.2 miles of trails. After each one of us quickly introduced ourselves (a diverse group of New Yorkers originally coming from different countries: Italy, Morocco, Yemen, Great Britain, the Philippines), we started hiking upwards. The State Park has different trails with great viewpoints that connect and turn into a loop. Max planned for us to hike a complete loop with a sidetrip to some abandoned ruins - easily a 5-hour trek.

Storm King Mountain as seen from the Esty & Hellie Stowell trailhead
kayaking on the Hudson river last year with Storm King Mountain in the background
checking the route on our new trail
painted blazes mark the trail
crossing a stream
up an incline
on huge slabs of rocks

summit view of the Hudson river, the Adirondacks and beyond
ruins of Bannerman's castle on Pollepel island
U.S. Route 9W as seen from one of the viewpoints
hawk flying high above the Hudson
ruins from the past
Happy legs

On the way up, I deliberately hiked slowly in order to take photos. I got so absorbed doing this and caught up with Susan, one fellow hiker who was also busy taking photos. Little did we know, the group has already hiked further up. Herman, another hiker in our group, was also looking for the others so the three of us followed one trail only to realize it didn't look right  - not the color of blaze that we were told to expect. We backtracked and saw a fork in the trail and decided to wait. Some stranger emerged walking opposite our direction so we asked him if  he met a group of hikers - sure enough, he did! We now followed the correct path and soon reunited with everyone.

We finally hiked into the summit and had lunch while enjoying panoramic views of the river, the Hudson Valley (which provides a lot of local produce for New Yorkers), the Catskills and the Adirondacks. After refueling and resting, we began our hike down. Off the trail lay some abandoned ruins, nothing but stone foundations of early Dutch settlements we're told. This got our guide excited, this being his first time in this very spot - now he has something to add to Outdoorbound's future hiking itinerary. As for me, I'm thrilled enough hiking some 7 miles (11 kms) and doing this not so far away from home - in a wild area that's unbelievably close to the big city.


  1. It was a great outdoor experience... nice set of photos Nomadic P.
    Wish I could hike kahit dito lang sa Pinas.

  2. Now this is a fun activity. A large group like that would really encourage you to go further than you've even gone before and to be able to be rewarded with such views - blogworthy - is priceless.

  3. What a beautiful trail and breathtaking view on the summit. Indeed it is unbelievable that this trail is so close to the big city!

  4. hi dennis, longtime!

    u never fail to amaze me and the rest..and i have many catching up to do in here..

    i, jst love the breathtaking photos well-captured, by your state of the art tools..and yes, artistic ability

    ..and the views from the top is such a joy, a great prize after a long hike. RGDS

  5. Ah, I like those groups that one could sign up and join such as these! Being single, it's usually hard to do things like hiking since these are activities that usually require more than one person. It's good that there are groups that arrange for strangers to do collective activities like the one you just did.

    Oh, and needless to say, your photos are awesome!

  6. good thing you came across a stranger. It would have been more trouble if not. nakawili naman talga aksing kumuha ng pic e lalo kung ganyan kaganda ang scenery,.....

  7. wow... perfect view you summit... sana makakarating din ako dyan...

    Nice photos, you must a professional photographer.. Nag stastart pa lang ako. You can visit my blog at www.iam-sean.com

  8. Mokong™,
    Dyan pa lang, ang dami na. Once you try hiking, you might get hooked to it. I hiked Mt. Apo at sulit na sulit!

    Photo Cache,
    I know some people don't like group trips but there's always safety in numbers when you're heading to the wilderness. One great thing too about it is mingling with people who like the outdoors!

    I'm very happy really - New York City maybe a big concrete jungle but within an hour or so is a real wild area.

    Hey, it's been a long time indeed! kumusta ka na?
    Will be visiting your site once again. Am just getting ready for another trip kasi.

    My thoughts exactly. Another great thing about it is socializing with like-minded people. More often than not, you bump again into each other in some future trips and you become good friends in the end.

    pusang kalye,
    it really was our fault. it could have been worse if that stranger didn't come our way. God is great!

    Cebu Travel,
    oh no, di po ako professional photog, nasa enthusiast level lang. Thanks for dropping by. Will visit your blog soon. I've got a plane to catch.

  9. wow. i am sure that was quite a work-out. the views are just so rewarding.

  10. Parang interesting yung story behind that castle. Magoogle nga. Sa mga hiking na sinamahan ko, tanggal ang pagod kapag nasa summit na.

    Ganda ng kuha nung hawk. :)

  11. I am curious where you're headed. At this point, I'm unfit to do any sort of trekking. :(

  12. if i was there ill definitely join the trail. i can relate to this right now as i just came from a trail to an ifugao village. tomorrow's another trek ahead.

  13. Beautiful place... with breathtaking views...and that so close to New York.
    It is hard to believe !

  14. lawstude,
    worth the effort it was!

    it was built by some rich guy, not really a royalty. sayang nga lang at para na syang guguho.

    you´ll soon see.i need to condition myself kasi.

    ah, ifugao province! mukhang natuloy ka sa Batad/Banaue ulit.

    nature-loving new yorkers consider themselves still lucky for being that close yes!

  15. Sir, ayos na naman lakad mo:) Autumn is the best season talaga:)


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