Verdrietege Hook and Hook Mountain

Hook Mountain - NY Travel Blog

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The nice bike path through the fresh lush green

I had big plans for today. The weather forecast was finally a positive one after so many days with bad weather I just had to go out and get some fresh air. Unfortunately I overslept, so I chose a hike nearby, a hike through Nyack Beach State Park, about 30 mile north of New York City.

The state park is located near the town of Nyack, which is situated at a very specific mountain range in a bend of the Hudson River. The Dutch settlers called this "Verdrietige Hoek", (Sad Hook), because the bend and the high mountains made it very difficult to pass this specific part of the Hudson. The place still bears the name, more or less. Nowadays it is called "Verdrietege Hook".

Relaxing views on the Hudson River
The name was better preserved than the landscape. The Dutch settlers must have seen normal mountains. Starting around 1820 the mountains were scraped away by quarries. Hook Mountain has a volcanic stone base, making the stone structure pillar like, probably similar to what I saw in California's Devil's Postpile National Monument. The stone pillars were ideal for foundations for roads and for Manhattan houses. Aided by dynamite the quarry workers stripped away the mountain creating artificial abysses at some points more than 150 meters (500 ft) high. They were forced out by state rules in 1900 leaving a very USA West-Coast-like landscape.

The hike I had in mind was listed as a 6-hour hike. I could not believe that, and stubborn as I am, I just started the hike at 14:30 hrs.

One of the former quarries, now a nice abyss
Being avaricious I did not want to pay the USD 8 that is charged at the southern tip of the park. So I started in the northern tip, where one can park for free, in a hamlet called "Dutchtown", how apposite! My first mistake: I did not realize this would add about one kilometer (one way) to my hike.

The first part of the hike was on a really easy path (which is also a bike route). It was almost horizontal, not more than 30 meters above Hudson level. It winded along the Hudson shore, through fresh green forest and gave amazing views on the Hudson and the impressive clifs of the former quarry of Hook Mountain. My love for abandoned buildings was also fed. In the past the state park had been much bigger and featured bath pavilions and even a bungalow camp. These buildings can be found around the path, sadly deteriorating.

View from the top

After about two hours of walking I arrived at Nyack Beach State Park, the southern entry point. The idea was to return via and over the ledge of Hook Mountain. But in order to get a the mountain right above the south parking, I had to climb 100+ meters, which took one hour and three kilometers of zigzagging. After that I was still at the South Parking. But it became worse. Hook Mountain is roller coaster like mountain. It feasted me on stunning views, but also on an up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down etc. trail. And not a few meters, several tens of meters every time, some of them over 60 meters. Really tough! My GPS indicated a small 22 kilometers (14 miles) when I got back to the car, at 20:00 hrs, half an hour before sunset. Rewarding, but killing!

More pictures below.

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The nice bike path through the fre…
The nice bike path through the fr…
Relaxing views on the Hudson River
Relaxing views on the Hudson River
One of the former quarries, now a …
One of the former quarries, now a…
View from the top
View from the top
Relaxing views on the Hudson River
Relaxing views on the Hudson River
One of the decaying structures fro…
One of the decaying structures fr…
One of the former quarries, now a …
One of the former quarries, now a…
One of the former quarries, now a …
One of the former quarries, now a…
Relaxing views on the Hudson River
Relaxing views on the Hudson River
One of the decaying structures fro…
One of the decaying structures fr…
The bike path at Hudson Level
The bike path at Hudson Level
One of the former quarries, now a …
One of the former quarries, now a…
The bike path at Hudson Level
The bike path at Hudson Level
The start of the climb to the moun…
The start of the climb to the mou…
After an hour of heavy climbing, a…
After an hour of heavy climbing, …
View from the top, to the south
View from the top, to the south
View from the top, to the north. L…
View from the top, to the north. …
Another thing one would rather exp…
Another thing one would rather ex…
At the top of one of the quarries,…
At the top of one of the quarries…
View from the top
View from the top
At the top of one of the quarries,…
At the top of one of the quarries…
At the top of one of the quarries,…
At the top of one of the quarries…
At the top of one of the quarries,…
At the top of one of the quarries…
The GPS height profile for the hik…
The GPS height profile for the hi…
Hook Mountain - NY
photo by: mdalamers