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Adventurous Day Trip Cold Spring, NY; Hikes, Cafes & More!

Looking to take a weekend or day trip to Cold Spring, NY?! From trails leading to scenic Hudson River views to quaint cobblestone streets winding through the downtown along the river – you’ll find everything you need to plan and inspire your trip to Cold Spring!

woman sitting on top of anthonys nose hike looking out at bear mountain bridge in fall with orange leave all around
Short hike outside Cold Spring, the first hike on our list below…

We visited Cold Spring in the fall and summer but most of the photos you’ll see in this post are from fall. Cold Spring is the perfect town to visit in the fall from all the hikes that abound and scenic streets to explore – all framed in golden leaves.

You park off Chestnut Street, only faintly aware of the buzz and bustle of activity around you. You can’t quite see it yet, but you somehow know it’s there.

There’s a beautiful brick 19th-century church to your left, which catches your eye and admiration for just a moment.

But what really begins to tug at your attention is the flow of people, locals and day-trippers alike, making their way down Main Street.

The stream of happy folks is not unlike the mighty Hudson River, the town’s ancient sidekick, meandering contentedly and with purpose. To you, it’s clear the patrons of Cold Spring know something. 

They know this place is awesome, and you’re about to find out why. 

dockside park with pier going out to hudson river in cold spring ny
Easy stroll along the dock in downtown Cold Spring
downtown cold spring in the fall with a brick building and golden leaves

However you arrived (boat, train, or car!) the energy of Cold Spring will welcome you with a vibe that’s electric, undeniable, and memorable!

Permanently settled in 1730, Cold Spring has seen it all, being curbside to one of the most heavily trafficked and utilized waterways on the eastern seaboard, but also due to its proximity to West Point, one of our country’s most prestigious military academies.

Cobblestone and brick-laid streets and alleys bisect the downtown, leaving you to squeeze through antiquated yet pristinely preserved buildings on your way to the next stop on this adventure

There is a ton to see, hike, explore, and eat in this federally recognized Historical District, so one itinerary to Cold Spring won’t do the entire area justice, not by a long shot.

My advice would be to take the recommendations below as a solid starting point and inspiration to simply visit Cold Spring. And rest assured the more you experience and learn here, the more you’ll be drawn back!

1st stop: Choose a morning hike 🥾🥾

🥾 Shorter Option: Anthony’s Nose: 2 miles; 700 feet elevation gain, Moderate

A great hike to get to early in the morning when you first arrive in Cold Spring! It’s not too long at 2 miles but enough to stretch your legs after your long car or train ride.

Because of its sweeping vistas of the Hudson River and Bear Mountain Bridge, this is a popular hike so it’s best to get here early if you can!

There is no parking lot for this hike so depending on what time you arrive, you may already see a series of cars lining the street along Bear Mountain-Beacon Highway/Route 9D. Find a spot here along the shoulder in line with the other cars and yes, you will have to walk along the side of the road for just a tad until you reach the trailhead.

You should see the green Putnam County sign on the right side of the road and just beyond this sign is a kiosk and white blazes marking the start of the hike. Take a right headed up into the woods and on the Appalachian Trail where you’ll begin a steady climb for about one mile until reaching the rocky, open summit.

While still steep and gnarly in parts, the westerly and southerly views from atop this giant hill are breathtaking. Amazing photo ops abound as you’ll find yourself elevated about 700 feet above the Bear Mountain Bridge, connecting the east and west shores of the Hudson. 

You can watch slow trawlers, tugs, and yachts meander up and down the river, all oblivious to your harmless spying. We hiked here for sunset and watching the sky go from gold to dark while the lights of the cars whizzed back and forth across the bridge was truly mesmerizing. Though we had to walk out in the dark (always bring a headlamp!) it was truly worth it.

Return back down to your car the way you came, proudly assured that you’ve just taken in one of the best views in the Cold Spring area!

🥾Longer Option: Bull Hill Full Loop: 5.4 miles; 1400 ft elevation gain

Another popular Hudson Highland State Park hike located right outside Cold Spring. You’ll find parking off of State Highway 9D, just northwest of the downtown.

view from top of bull mountain in cold spring new york with black dog smiling on rock and hudson river in background

From here you’ll stomp up the Washburn Trail (white blazes) and complete almost all of this trek’s elevation gain in about 1.8 miles. It’s steep! But well worth it.

Various rocky outcroppings along the way (some hidden) provide spectacular views of the surrounding area, including the NYC skyline

A true delight is looking west over the Hudson River and to Storm King Mountain, whose visage dominates the other side of the waterway. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a cargo train, some dozens of cars long, trundling along at a merry pace on the tracks that hug the river’s shores. 

After soaking up views to the south and NYC, west to Storm King and the sunset, and north to the domineering Catskill Mountain range, continue on the Washburn Trail for another 3.6 miles until reaching the parking area.

🥐☕️ 2nd stop: Cafe time in downtown Cold Spring

There are SO MANY places to choose to eat in Cold Spring. From coffee shops and cafes to fine dining, you’ll be overwhelmed with all the choices. Below I outline a few places we’ve enjoyed on our numerous visits to Cold Spring.

Rincon Argentino

Located within a stones throw of the gently lapping shores of the Hudson is Rincon Argentino. With a giant Golden Eagle statue roosting over all who grace Rincon’s, it’s hard to miss. Either the eagle or the line should guide you to this haven of sweet treats and morning coffees.

Argentinian cafe in downtown cold spring ny

A comforting murmur will welcome you, emanating from fellow patrons enjoying some cozy outdoor seating. An equally cozy yet no nonsense indoor space is what you’ll find inside. 

A Cold Spring staple known for its coffee, baked goods, and Argentinian delicacies, Rincon’s should rank high on your pre-hike ramp up checklist. 

The Foundry Rose

“A locally sourced restaurant serving ethically raised and sustainably sourced food.”

You’ll find an array to choose from here from breakfast staples like eggs, hashbrowns, and pancakes to Green Goddess bowls with spirulina and fruit.

For lunch or brunch you’ll find options like fish tacos, burgers, and Asian salad grain bowls.

And of course, at the counter, there’s a spread of pastries that makes it hard to choose just one to go as you check out.

Afternoon Activities in Cold Spring

🛍Stroll Through Downtown Cold Spring

downtown shops in cold spring new york
downtown shops on main street in cold spring new york

After your morning hike and the subsequent food it’s time to take a relaxing walk through downtown Cold Spring.

Wander up and down Main Street and take time to pop into the numerous shops and boutiques. Or just admire the architecture of the super old buildings and quaint homes you’ll find mixed in along the way.

🌊 Foundry Dock Park (AKA Dockside Park)

view of hudson river from dock in cold spring ny with silhouette of mountains in the distance

Walk down Main Street toward the Hudson River until you hit Dockside Park. A must-stop in Cold Spring where you can grab a bench and watch the boats go by or follow the seagulls as they dive for a fresh catch. 🐟

🥾Cornish Estate Trail

If you like history and hiking this is a must! If you did not do the Bull Hill Loop hike (which takes you by the estate) then be sure to do this trail when visiting Cold Spring.

Just outside of downtown Cold Spring (but maybe you want to drive here instead of walk!) this is the easiest hike in and around Cold Spring and in Hudson Highland State Park.

All you’ll need is a pair of sneakers to explore the old Stern-Cornish Estate as much of the 1.8-mile trail is on a concrete driveway with only a gentle ascent to the estate ruins.

Park in the lot at Little Stony Point and follow the Cornish Trail marked by blue blazes.

🌅 Catch the sunset at Little Stony Point

sunset on the hudson river with pink and gold clouds in sky

A little point that juts out into the Hudson River, this is the perfect spot to see the sun start to set when visiting Cold Spring.

You can walk here from downtown Cold Spring or drive and park along 9D.

While there is the full 0.9-mile Little Stony Point Loop taking you to a vista over the river, we had our fill of walking that day and decided to just walk 0.2 miles along the loop (go counterclockwise for this!) to what felt like a private beach on the Hudson River.

I can’t say it was too quiet here as there happened to be a party boat just outside the shore and they were having fun! Still, it was a treat to be here and let Captain dig in the sand as the sky turned darker and the silhouette of the mountains across the way at Storm King State Park loomed across the river.

Dinnertime Choices in Cold Spring

Cold Spring Depot: American-style pub

Known for its killer appetizers (truffle fries!!!), the Depot can also accommodate larger groups of intrepid travelers with a spacious indoor space and outdoor seating.

The elements of an indoor wood burning fireplace, proximity to the mighty Hudson, and an amazing beer and drink selection make the Depot a wonderful spot to satiate and an even harder place to leave. 

Brasserie Le Bouchon: French cuisine

A wonderful and enchanting French-style bistro awaits, nestled in between the shoppes and restaurants that dot this Hudson River town.

Proximity to the river, outdoor seating, bountiful portions, and famously prepared mussels in 6 different varieties make visiting Le Bouchon a no-brainer.

Riverview: Contemporary American

Enjoy views of the meandering Hudson River and surrounding mountainscapes, all while filling your belly with delicious dishes and drinks at the Riverview Restaurant.

A local favorite and staple, I would recommend getting a seafood dish but the menu is extensive and can accommodate even the pickiest eaters.

Friendly staff and a cozy and familiar ambiance make the Riverview the perfect spot to unwind after a long adventurous day in the wild.

🍦🍨 Final & Must-Visit Stop in Cold Spring – Moo Moo’s Creamery!

If you opted out of enjoying a tasty post-meal treat at one of the dining spots mentioned above, look no further than this incredible home to all things ice cream!

Moo Moo’s Creamery

Moo Moo’s! Parked right on the banks of the Hudson right across from Dockside Park, this place is popular! Be prepared to wait in a bit of a line but rest assured that the wait is well worth it.

Homemade ice cream of dizzying varieties is what awaits patrons to Moo Moo’s. Heaping portions and bubbly staff are what keep the people coming back to this famous ice cream shop.

Grab a cone or shake and relax on the pier, watching the sun set gently behind the folds of the mountains above the Hudson.

Your adventurous and fun-filled day in Cold Spring, NY, has come to an end. It’s time to head home or back to your nearby hotel where, if you’re lucky, you can wake up and do it all again! 🙂

Til next time! I hope you enjoyed your visit to the charming town of Cold Spring.

How many days should I visit Cold Spring NY?

The above itinerary is for spending one day in Cold Spring and with it, you will get a taste for the town and what it has to offer. But you could easily spend a whole weekend here between the surrounding hikes in Hudson Highlands, the bustling Main Street with shops, restaurants, and galleries, and the visit-worthy town of Beacon just 12 minutes away.

What river runs through Cold Spring NY?

The village of Cold Spring sits at the deepest point of the Hudson River right across from West Point.

How far is Beacon NY from Cold Spring?

The town of Beacon, also worth a visit with its numerous crisscrossing streets of cafes, restaurants, and quaint shops, is very close to Cold Spring at just 7 miles or a 12-minute drive.

How to get to Cold Spring from NYC?

You can take the 1 hour and 15 minutes train ride on Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal to Cold Spring. Or you can take the 57-mile drive from NYC to Cold Spring which is estimated to be 1 hour and 11 minutes without traffic.

Can I take the train from NYC to Cold Spring NY?

Yes, you can take the train from Grand Central Terminal to Cold Spring which runs hourly is about a 1 hour and 15 minute train ride. The cost per ticket is $13-27.

Final thoughts on a day trip to Cold Spring…

Cold Spring is one of my absolute favorite bustling little towns along the Hudson River. It has competition in neighboring Beacon, Hudson, and Cornwall Landing, but Cold Spring is unique and special in its own right.

You can feel the history in the cobbled streets. Time seems to stand still a bit here, which is something I think we all need and yearn for in these chaotic days.

Pick and choose from this loose itinerary and you’re all but guaranteed a fulfilling and epic day out in Cold Spring. Once visited and explored, you’re sure to be returning for rounds two, three and beyond.

Have fun!

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