Hiking Snake Hill and the historic sites of Newburgh along the Hudson

There is no better vantage point of historic Newburgh and the northern entrance to the Hudson River’s highlands than Snake Hill – maintained through a partnership of Scenic Hudson and the Orange County Land Trust.

Ascending the only route up Snake Hill – a closed asphalt road – a rosary of erratic rocks line its right shoulder, the largest being a yacht-sized boulder and its accompanying dinghy-size rock tending it. Easy to get to and easy to ascend, the entrance is at 398 Union Ave. (Route 69) in New Windsor.

It is less than a mile walk and a mere 300 feet of elevation gain to the twin cedar summit and meager radio tower. Here, on the east side of the ridge, at a height of 700 feet, is a spectacular overlook. Looking directly across the Hudson River is Beacon Mountain and its fire tower, and the mountainous succession of Sugar Loaf North, Breakneck Ridge, and Mount Taurus. The castled Pollepel Island is prominently placed and evident, too, is Dennings Point. For a more rustic walk, a path northward continues into the Snake Hill Preserve another quarter mile.

After the mile-long walk down the road, the woods can be re-entered at Temple Avenue for a scenic stroll along Crystal Lake. Just past the lake is Snake Hill Cemetery: a Jewish graveyard of the latter 1800s.

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