Points of Interest
Rising to an elevation of 820 feet, the Pinnacle rewards visitors with a panoramic view of Washington’s Historic District. The view from the mountain’s weathered summit, which is crowned by a plaque honoring one of the preserve’s founders, Adrian Van Sinderen, provides a 270-degree diorama of the valley, and to the north, the protected ridge in Macricostas Preserve.
Directions: Follow the Yellow Circle Trail from the main parking area. Mosses, laurels and blueberry bushes adorn the winding trail through scrub forest on this 15-minute climb. (0.5-mile one-way)
The Lookout is a semi-circular terrace providing scenic views of the valley to the west. It was constructed as a lookout and rest spot along the carriage roads built by Adrian Van Sinderen. Overhung by trees in places, this is a great spot for a picnic.
Directions: Follow the Yellow Circle Trail from the main parking area. This 50-minute circuitous ramble briefly follows the river before steadily climbing to the eastern edge of the preserve. The trail then levels-out and passes through a meadow before its final descent to the porch-like overlook. (1.02 miles one-way)
The Quartz Mine once helped support a small mining industry in the 19th Century. This surface mine was active from the 1800s until it was abandoned in 1915. The quartz, used as a filler in paint and as an abrasive, was initially transported from here to the Hudson River by wagon and, later, by train. Quartz normally forms beautiful hexagonal crystals, but the mineral developed at Hidden Valley Preserve as a massive white vein. Today, quartz is primary ingredient in manufacturing glass.
Directions: From the main parking area, follow the Orange Square Trail along the old railroad bed, then turn left onto the Yellow Circle Trail and continue to the quartz mine. The hike is a 40-minute stroll along the banks of perhaps the wildest section of the Shepaug River. The shimmering summer waters are belied by tractor-sized boulders that dot the riverbed. The final section of trail is a series of cool switchbacks carved deep into the hills, which loom above the narrow path. The crunch of quartz pebbles snapping with each step announces the approach to the mine. (1.34 miles one-way)