Hiking | Exercise | Exploration | History | Travel

A Quick Hike Up the Nose

Let’s get the elephant in the room addressed right off the bat: Anthony’s Nose has an odd name. Here’s one story I came across in Kiddle that describes how it got it:

“Pierre Van Cortlandt, who owned this mountain, said it was named for a pre-Revolutionary War sea captain, Anthony Hogan. This captain was reputed to have a Cyrano de Bergerac type nose. One of his mates, looking at this mount, as they sailed by it, compared it to that of the captain’s nose. He said that they looked similar in size. This good-natured joke soon spread, and the name Anthony’s Nose stuck to this peak. Washington Irving’s History of New York, a satire, attributes the name to one Antony Van Corlear, who was the trumpeter on Henry Hudson’s ship.”

Whatever the source, it requires that each hiker now forever able to say they went up Anthony’s Nose. How you feel about that is entirely up to you. For me, the motivation was to see a bridge I hadn’t seen in almost 30 years, get a quick hike in to break up a long drive and get a feel for a stretch of the Hudson River from a hill top.

There are a few routes up Anthony’s Nose (sorry). The most direct route is a steep granite “staircase” that brings you to your destination relatively quickly. This requires street parking on a busy stretch of road. Alternatively, there are a couple of longer routes to the lookout spot, the one I favored followed the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail. The AT crosses the Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River and meanders up through a final stretch of New York before reaching Connecticut. You might expect a stretch of the AT to be lovely hiking. You’d be correct for this stretch.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about where the trailhead is for Anthony’s Nose. If you’re going to hike straight up the staircase, you begin at a small deck on the side of the road not far from the bridge. If you’re more interested in a 90 minute round trip hike, take the AT route. The trailhead begins on South Mountain Pass Road, which is a rutted stone dust road for a long stretch. If you’ve got a small sedan you might consider driving in from the Blue Mountain Beacon Highway side, which offers a bit more pavement to work with. Driving a truck, I enjoyed the off-road feel of reaching the trailhead after a few hours of highway driving to get there.

The key for the trail is to follow the white blazes, which leave an old roadbed a few hundred yards up and begin descending towards a small stream before climbing back along the ridge line. The trail head would benefit from a bit of signage and a map, as one hiker after another asked each other if they were in the right spot. Perhaps a Boy Scout Troop could take it on as a project.

The hike took 90 minutes round trip. Parts of the trail felt like you were in the middle of the White Mountains, but with glimpses of the Hudson River along the way. There was a bit of traffic buzz in the background, but overall it was a perfect hike to break up a drive from New Hampshire to New Jersey for me, or a short destination hike away from New York City. I’d recommend bringing lunch and soaking up the view.

Bear Mountain Bridge with it’s namesake rising up behind it

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