Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hudson Highlands State Park, NY: Wilkinson Trail to Sugarloaf Mountain, South Beacon, Sunset Point

Hudson Highlands State Park - New York State Parks
Click for Beacon, New York Forecast

GPS Coordinates 41.448049, -73.980461

View Larger Map
A few pullout spots at the Wilkinson trailhead on the right side heading north on Route 9D; also a few on the opposite side.
Later in the day expect cars to be lined up all along Route 9D because of the very popular Breakneck Ridge hike.
North Hudson Highlands State Park - New York State Parks
East Hudson Trail Map #102 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

Sugarloaf Mountain - South Beacon Mountain - Sunset Point: 8.75 miles
Sugarloaf Mountain - Sunset Point: 7.15 miles
Sugarloaf Mountain Loop: 6 miles (click here for NY/NJ Trail Conference description)

Sugarloaf Mountain -
South Beacon Mountain -

Yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail arrives at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in 1 mile.
The gnarly dead tree on top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Breakneck Ridge from Sugarloaf Mountain
Storm King Mountain from Sugarloaf Mountain
Bannerman Castle from Suglarloaf Mountain
Bannerman Castle
View of Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Shawangunks and the Catskills
South Beacon Mountain
Taking a break.
The blue-blazed Notch Trail joins the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail.
At the 3.95 mile point you have a choice of either staying on the yellow-blazed trail, or turning left on the white-blazed trail.  Either way, you will end up back in the same place after looping over South Beacon Mountain.  The difference is the white trail involves a steep rock scramble where the yellow trail does not.  I prefer to go up steep sections so this hike goes up the white trail.
The fire tower on top of South Beacon Mountain.
View of New York City skyline to the south from South Beacon Mountain
Overlook deck at Sunset Point.
View from Sunset Point
Watch for red arrows painted on rocks for turn to descend Breakneck Ridge.
Sugarloaf Mountain from the red-blazed Breakneck Bypass Trail.
Some early fall leaves and flowers along the way:

[  0.00] Take the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail at the trailhead on the east side of Route 9D
[  0.60]  Left on yellow when red goes right (red will be return route)
[  1.00]  Views at gnarly dead tree on top of Sugarloaf Mountain
[  1.40]  Veer left staying on yellow when unmarked trail crossed over diagonally
[  1.95]  Cross brook to left
[  2.60]  Scenic overlook
[  2.80]  At intersection with cairn, turn left on yellow/blue when blue goes right
                   *** turn right on blue here for 6 mile hike ***
[  3.45]  Cross stream then turn right on yellow when blue leaves to the left
[  3.85]  Keep left on white/yellow when white joins in from the left and unmarked goes straight
                  *** turn right on white here for 7.15 mile hike ***
[  3.95]  Left on white when yellow goes straight
[  4.25]  South Beacon Fire Tower
[  4.55]  White ends at intersection, turn right on red-blazed trail
[  4.60]  Turn right on unmarked woods road which will lead into yellow trail
[  5.20]  Keep straight on yellow when white goes right
[  5.30]  Turn left on white when yellow turns right
[  5.55]  Cross woods road
[  5.70]  Overlook deck at Sunset Point
[  5.95]  Cross small creek then turn right at intersection on white/blue
[  7.00]  Keep straight on white when blue goes left
[  7.35]  Turn right on red at red arrows painted on rocks when white goes straight
[  8.15]  Turn left on yellow when red ends
[  8.75]  Back at car


  1. Wow, I actually ran into you and was going to ask if you were you!
    I was with friends doing breakneck/south beacon/sugarloaf. I think we said hi, or hello in passing. I thought it might be you and almost asked. I love your blog. Great info and pictures. You inspire and help a lot of hikers!

  2. Thanks! It sure is a small world, isn't it? Maybe we will cross paths again - be sure to say something because I won't know who you are!

  3. I sure will. And I'll keep reading and using your blog!

  4. Your hikes are a bit more ambitious than my knees will permit, but I sure do enjoy your blog, too - just sayin'



  5. Thanks, Tom! Bummer about the knees. Mine have not been the best here lately so I know what you mean.


  6. This was exactly the type of hike log I was looking for when I searched "Sugarloaf to South Beacon Mountain". Many thanks, doing this in two weeks.