With a name like "Breakneck Ridge" a hiker has to wonder what happened on that trail. Looking deeper into one of New York's most notable hikes, it turns out there are quite a few pieces of hidden history around the Hudson Highlands and its trails.

Top Rated Hikes in New York Include Hudson Valley Trails

According to the popular hiking app AllTrailsGertrude's Nose in Minnewaska State Park is listed as the #1 hike in New York with 4.8 stars. Breakneck Ridge in the Hudson Highlands ranks #2 with Bull Hill Full and Short Loops ranking #5 and #6, also a part of the Hudson Highlands.

The Abandoned Ruins of Cold Spring's Bull Hill

One of the Hudson Valley's most notable ruins lies in the Hudson Highlands. The Cornish Estate ruins towards the bottom of Bull Hill, also known as Mount Taurus, is a popular spot for hikers and leisurely trail enjoyers alike.

Empire Drone Works via Youtube
Empire Drone Works via Youtube

An NBC report shares the estate was owned by a New York businessman Edward and Selina Cornish. Sadly, the couple passed away within the same 2-week span. With the property being poorly maintained, a fire easily broke out in the estate, causing irreversible damage and leaving us with the Cornish Estate ruins.

Walking through, you'll still find doorways, chimneys, and even a pool.

However, there's a second portion of Bull Hill that some may not even realize is a ruin at all.

The Abandoned Quarry of Bull Hill

In the Revolutionary era, Cold Spring became a hotspot for acquiring natural resources. Atlas Obscura shares that some of these high-demand resources were even used to build canons for the Continental Army in the 1770s.

It wouldn't be until the 1930s that an official quarry was established at the foot of Bull Hill. In 1931, a massive chunk of the mountain was tapped into, creating the harrowing rockface we still see today.

Billy Miecuna TV Youtube
Billy Miecuna TV Youtube

After over 30 years of protests from the surrounding community, the quarry project was retired in 1967. It's easy to miss that one of the most peaceful parts of this hike is actually man-made.

Today the land is protected as part of the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve.

But none of this has had anything to do with bulls or broken necks so where did these trails get their names?

Haunted Legends of Bull Hill and Breakneck Ridge

There are dueling stories as to how exactly Bull Hill got its name. A lot of the local lore you'll hear revolves around a bull continuously roaming the area.

SEE ALSO: 6 Hikes That Lead to Abandoned Ruins in the Hudson Valley

Scenes From the Trail explains,

"'Bull Hill' came after a bull that used to terrorize the mountain was chased by indignant inhabitants."

According to Atlas Obscura though, it all comes down to a farmer who lost control of a bull he owned. While trying to control the animal, the Bull simply lept off the edge of a cliff, breaking its neck, dubbing the trails "Bull Hill" and "Breakneck Ridge."

Some continue to claim the bull haunts the trail to this day.

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Given some of the horror stories we hear today about hiking tragedies involving selfies at the edge of cliffs or over-zealous hikers attempting dangerous routes, this origin story is a bit of relief.

I have yet to see or feel the presence of a bull wondering about the peaks of Bull Hill, but you can bet I'll be on high alert during my next visit.

If you're interested in more hikes with haunted ties and abandoned sites, here are 6 you need to check out around the Hudson Valley:

6 Hikes To Explore Abandoned Ruins in the Hudson Valley

Coming across abandoned ruins really spices up a hike. Check out these Hudson Valley trails that take you back in time.

Take a Hike to an Abandoned Girl Scout Camp 90 Minutes from Utica

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