Trail Map – though I used these, highly recommended
Hike Distance: 2.44 miles
Mountains: Butter Hill, Storm King
Trails: Butter Hill (orange), Stillman, (yellow – Highlands trail follows this), Bypass (white)
Note: I would call this the Mt. Tammany of New York. This is a good workout, with some early scrambling, and some amazing views. It’s not a long hike, clocking in at 2.44 miles, with a long descent after the view. My only drawback is the length, I would have loved to have done more, and maybe with a little more planning, I could have found a connector to extend the trip.
That said, I had a gorgeous day to hike; though it started out cloudy. The temperatures were in the upper 70s to start, and by the time I finished they were in the upper 80s. I got up extra early because I feared not getting a parking space – and after my drive, I found that I didn’t have to worry. There were plenty of spaces upon my arrival. Even when I finished, about two and half hours later, there were still spaces. Though, the lot was mostly full.
To start this hike, you climb Butter Hill, which also happens to be the highest elevation. Right after your first ascent, you are greeted with:
That wasn’t too bad, though a good workout. Right off the bat I was presented with a view looking west off Butter Hill.
Feel free to catch your breath here, because the next section is:
Two big scrambles and I wasn’t at the top of Butter Hill yet. However, it was less than a half hour’s climb.
After the first two scrambles I came to some ruins.
Before the final ascent of Butter Hill I saw some small Striped Maple growing. I would find this all over the park (at least on Butter Hill) including some big groves.
The beginning of the final scramble to the top:
With some great views:
There’s a large rock on top of Butter Hill, and a marker so you know you found it.
From the top of Butter Hill it is a nice walk to the eastern face (and viewpoint) of Storm King. The walking is pleasant, on mostly soft trails with plenty of rocks sprinkled in so that you pay attention.
Striped Maple grove
I passed a couple of viewpoints that were partially obscured by foliage, but eventually came to THE viewpoint.
There were a couple of other people sitting here, but you could tell this spot gets very crowded. It’s easy to see why. That’s the Beacon bridge in the top of the picture and that is Pollepel Island (with Bannerman’s Castle) in the middle. I sat here a while just to take it all in. In fact, I had lunch, though it was only 9:30.
It felt noticeably warmer, and with the sun coming out, I figured I would descend before the crowds started to arrive.
I took the Bypass down, and right at the junction of the Bypass and Stillman, there is a great view south.
The walk down was fairly straight forward on a wide rocky trail.
When I got back to my car, I couldn’t believe how early it was. Though, this was a great hike, and on a great day to boot. The trails were all well marked and are easy to follow.
I couldn’t believe I was on top of these rocks two hours ago.