(This post was written in Feb 2018, and published 3 years later)
I have been constantly going up and down Bull Hill for years now. It’s always an up and back affair that is quickly done. Similar to other quick area hikes like Lamb’s Hill or Anthony’s Nose. Today I opted for the loop and it was spectacular. The up to Bull Hill aka Mt Taurus is always quick. It’s a straight up climb to one of my favorite views in the Hudson Valley, more than any other in the area including Breakneck, with the added benefit of being a lot less crowded.
I left thinking the loop was going to be 5.9 miles. It turned out to be more like 5.5 but I will not complain since it was still a great hike that offered enough elevation to rival some of the easier Catskill hikes and the distance to boot.
The first 2 miles of this hike is all climb, with pretty much no chance to take a breather. It’s an abuse on the mind and soul knowing there is absolutely no respite from beginning to that 2 mile mark. Along the way you hit the old quarry, followed quickly by a money shot overlooking the quaint town of Cold Spring with West Point anchoring the picturesque view across the Hudson. Then more climb and it just gets harder and harder. Until you come to the big boulder I THOUGHT., and this is again thought! was the best view in Bull Hill and it still may be. It has competition a little further up. I was not stopping today. I took in the sight, walked a little more and took in the sight from the other rock up and to the right of the amazing boulder.
I kept climbing. So I guess I never hit the top of Bull, cause I was still going up until I reached a huge boulder that said NYC Money Shot. It was a clear day and I could faintly see not only NYC but also the Tappan Zee bridge. You keep going even more and now you start descending and POW a Northern View with views of the Newburgh Beacon Bridge and the Northern end of Dutchess County.
That was all for the money shots, yet the rest of the hike was still amazing. You ran into an abandon complex next to a babbling brook I later learned was called Breakneck Brook. You then follow the brook to the melodic sounds of that amazing burbling water. There is something peaceful about that sound that negates the rest of the world. You run into another abandoned estate and some circle thing I have no idea what it was. More descending and I reached my car again.
It’s always a dab of fresh air when you revisit a hike you have done over and over again and see it with new eyes, discover there is so much more to it than you ever thought. My favorite hike just became my even MORE favorite hike, I doubt there is anything that battles Bull Hill in the area. It gives you a bit of everything, the only one that comes close is Popolopen Torne.