Want Ruins? Take a Hike!

Photo by Rebecca Nyulassy Williams

Ruins of Overlook Mountain House

Photo by Rebecca Nyulassy Williams

Now that the gloom of winter is giving way to the blooms of spring, you may be thinking about stepping out of your snow boots and into a pair of hiking boots . With hundreds of trails traversing thousands of acres, the chances of running across some kind of abandoned structure or ruin are pretty good, but to simplify things, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite ruins accessible by hiking.

Photo by Ann-Sophi Carmelitano

Ruin of Cedar Glen

Photo by Ann-Sophi Carmelitano

Cedar Glen, Franny Reese State Park

A short hike along a shaded path leads to the ruins of Cedar Glen, also called Dr. Roberts’ Estate. Built in 1868, Cedar Glen was home to Dr. Charles H. Roberts and his family until the 1900s. In 1930 the Mid-Hudson Bridge opened, virtually cutting off Cedar Glen from the neighboring community and sealing its fate. It slowly began to deteriorate and very little of the original seven buildings (including a stone house and windmill) remains. Still, photographers have found the site to be an inspired, sun-dappled setting.

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Overlook Mountain House, Woodstock NY

A hike of approximately five miles takes you from the parking area to the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House, once a grand Catskills getaway. Built and rebuilt three times beginning in 1871, the Overlook Mountain Housel was abandoned in the 1940s and destroyed by fire in the 1960s. To get there, go to the main intersection in Woodstock, take Rock City Road north until it becomes Meads Mountain Road. Continue on approximately 2 miles up the mountain. The trailhead is on the right, across from a Buddhist monastery. Watch for Timber rattlesnakes on the trail and remember to visit the Overlook Fire Tower for some amazing views!

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Mount Beacon Incline Railway, Beacon NY

Photo by Alexa Grandetti

Mt. Beacon Incline Railway

Photo by Alexa Grandetti

The mile-long hike up to the ruins of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway can be strenuous but hikers are rewarded when they reach the peak with a breathtaking panorama of the majestic Hudson Highlands and the remains of the powerhouse of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway – once the world’s steepest funicular (we love this vertiginous 1902 film). A little further along Fishkill Ridge and you’ll get to the newly restored Mount Beacon Fire Tower with  its 75-mile views (and oh yeah, we love fire towers!)

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Mulford Ice House ruins/Falling Waters Reserve, Glasco NY

Part of Scenic Hudson, Falling Waters Reserve offers two miles of relatively easy trails, including a very short trail that leads from the parking area to the ruins of  Mulford Ice House, once a massive ice house producing some 10,000 tons of ice annually. There’s not much left to see but for a few brick footings, but the view of the Hudson can not be beat.

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Northgate, the Cornish Estate, Cold Spring NY

Once the 650-acre estate of  Edward Joel Cornish and Selina Bliss Carter Cornish, the ruins of Northgate, also called the Cornish Estate, stand in defiance of wind and weather and provide visitors with a compelling glimpse into a bygone era. Remains include the mansion, swimming pool and greenhouse. There are also two waterfalls on the property. A largely paved trail of approximately 4.5 miles gets you there. And dogs are welcome!

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Restored 1899 Railroad Bridge (Walkway Over the Hudson)

Abandoned no longer, but well worth your time is  a visit to the Walkway Over the Hudson. This 1899 railroad bridge laid abandoned and forlorn for years until it was converted into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge and a must-see for visitors to the Hudson Valley.

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Tioronda Hat Works

Photo by Jeannine Wender

West Point Foundry

Photo by Forsaken Photography