Stone walls are the only reminder that this rolling landscape, now forest-covered, once was farmland. Today trails lead to the Hudson River and spectacular views — and perhaps a bald eagle sighting.
Sunrise at Black Creek Preserve. Robert Rodriguez, Jr.
Esopus, Ulster County (130 acres)—Black Creek Preserve is a great destination for a family-friendly hike, despite a few uphill climbs that may elicit groans from the under-10 contingent. Still, kids will love crossing the dramatic suspension bridge that spans the creek and exploring the Hudson River shoreline, whose flat stones are tailor-made for skipping. But the preserve also is a perfect place to explore some of the region's threatened species — from blueback herring and alewives that journey from the ocean to deposit their eggs in Black Creek to tall hemlocks under siege from the insect woolly adelgid. Information about these and other endangered plants and animals, as well as the creek itself, appears on kiosks throughout the preserve. Depending on when you visit, you may pass several vernal pools, temporary water bodies formed in small depressions from melting snow or winter run-off. Many types of wildlife depend on these for breeding and food. In spring, you'll likely be serenaded by a chorus of male wood frogs luring females to the pools to mate. The eggs they lay in the water will become tadpoles before turning into full-fledged frogs. Because of the pools' fragility, please don't disturb them.
- Bird watching/nature study
- Dog walking (on leash)
- X-country skiing & snowshoeing (ungroomed trails)
- Featured Atlantic Kayak Tours destination
When to visit
Year-round daily dawn to dusk. Allow a minimum of 2 hours.
Two miles of trails pass through rolling forest while heading to an overlook and small inlet on the Hudson River. Black Creek Trail Map (jpg/600K)
Directions & Map
Crossing Mid-Hudson Bridge from east to west, take Route 9W north for 7.6 miles. Right on Winding Brook Road. Immediate left for parking lot.
Maps & Resources
Black Creek Trail Map (jpg/600K)
Black Creek "Nature Notes" Activity Guide (pdf, 2.4MB)
Town of Esopus "Heritage and Recreation Network" brochure (pdf, 3.5MB)
More to Explore — Nearby Parks
Esopus Meadows Preserve
Burger Hill Park
Poets' Walk Park
Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail
Bob Shepard Highland Landing Park
Franny Reese State Park
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park