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blue Washburn/Nelsonville/Undercliff Loop

  4.5 ( 4 ) Favorite


6.6 mile 10.7 kilometer loop
71% Runnable


Ascent: 2,051' 625 m
Descent: -2,057' -627 m
High: 1,418' 432 m
Low: 52' 16 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 52% (28°)


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Trail shared by John Maurizi

A nice but difficult run with great views of West Point Military Academy, the Hudson River, and Storm King State Park.

John Maurizi

Features Fall Colors · Views

Parking lot is closed (April 2017). Parking is located along the road at this time.


This is a very steep run at the beginning to ascend Taurus Mountain. There are several false summits but great views across the Hudson River. The descent off of Taurus Mountain does not have any views but it is an easy run along a fire road most of the way until you have to ascend part of Taurus Mountain again to complete the loop.

Need to Know

This is a very popular run and crowded on weekends. Arrive early!

Runner Notes

There are many exposed roots along the steep ascent at the beginning.


This is a difficult loop that has several different starting points. I chose to start at the Washburn Trailhead, which is the lowest starting point you can select. Starting from nearly on the Hudson River, the trail ascends immediately along a well-maintained road designated by white disc markers.

After a short way, you'll reach a quarry. The trail turns right here and ascends a shoulder as several trails weave through the trees. They all lead up the shoulder with several views south toward West Point and the Hudson River. This trail tops out on Bull Hill, which is also known as Taurus Mountain, a little less than two miles later. Continue down the east side of the mountain along an old fire road. The trail ends at an intersection with Nelsonville Trail and Undercliff Trail.

The Nelsonville Trail passes through here. Proceed straight onto the Nelsonville Trail, which is marked with green discs. The trail turns sharply right and is a wide dirt/gravel fire road. After a few miles, you'll reach a small parking area. Pass through this parking lot and pick up the Nelsonville Trail again. After less than a half mile, you'll see the Undercliff Trail on the right marked with yellow discs.

The Undercliff Trail ascends the side of Taurus Mountain and is steep at times. There is a tricky section at the only viewpoint on the Undercliff Trail. There are several social paths that lead away from the trail. Many people get confused here. After the trail climbs up to this viewpoint, it makes an abrupt turn back and descends again before climbing back up the side of the mountain. The trail is not well-marked here so take your time to find the right way.

The Undercliff Trail ends back on the section of the Washburn Trail that you had ascended earlier. Turn left and descend back to the quarry and eventually your car.

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