New York City: Hurd Corners to Morgan Stewart Shelter via the AT

A massive oak, a sprawling wetland, an atomic lake-this classic weekend trip packs it all into a 19.2-mile out-and-back on the Appalachian Trail. Bonus: Save the Earth by taking the train to the trailhead.

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New York City backpackers, rejoice! This 19.2-mile out-and-back overnight on the Appalachian Trail leaves right from a weekend-only Metro North stop (on the Harlem Line). After crossing the lily-lined Swamp River (just .3 mile in), the AT traces the base of Corbin Hill before climbing it and tracking west to the Dover Oak (a 300 year-old white oak with a 20-foot circumference; reportedly the largest on the AT). Just past the Oak, the AT crests West Mountain on a winding 600-foot climb and then continues on up-and-down terrain en route to the western shore of Nuclear Lake (a former research site). Hunker down at the Morgan Stewart Shelter (which sleeps 6) near the summit of Mount Egbert before retracing your route back to the train station on day 2.

-Mapped by Jeff Chow


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 15.5



Location: 41.592832, -73.588125

Head W on white-blazed AT from Appalachian Trail RR station


Location: 41.594192, -73.592499

Cross Swamp River, lifeblood of the 6,000-acre Great Swamp, the second-largest freshwater wetland in NY. Yellow blooms droop off trout lilies in late spring


Location: 41.603034, -73.611507

Dover Oak looms over CR 20. This 300-year-old white oak boasts a 20-foot girth and is reportedly the largest oak along the AT


Location: 41.604782, -73.619089

Straight @ T; side trail leads .1 mi. S to stream and Telephone Pioneers Shelter


Location: 41.607052, -73.618469

View S of green hills dotted with homes and farmland; trail crests West Mountain (1,205 ft.) in .1 mi.


Location: 41.607433, -73.643036

L @ Y. To the right is the old AT route, now the blue-blazed Beekman Uplands Trail


Location: 41.602818, -73.643951

Straight @ T with yellow-blazed Nuclear Lake Loop. A nuclear research center operated near this aptly named lake until two 1972 explosions blew out clouds of plutonium dust. Today, after much cleanup, the Park Service calls it safe. Healthy ducks and gutsy thru-hikers swim its depths, which (despite rumors) don’t glow green at night


Location: 41.596867, -73.647102

L @ Y, leaving old road and hardwood shore of Nuclear Lake


Location: 41.594566, -73.649918

Straight @ T with Nuclear Lake Loop


Location: 41.591068, -73.658287

Straight @ T with Beekman Uplands Trail


Location: 41.588135, -73.662613

Cross Old NY 55; cross muddy spot to Metro North RR in 75 yds.


Location: 41.576885, -73.670349

Straight @ T with gravel Liahona Trail, leading to old Boy Scout camp


Location: 41.571235, -73.680758

Cross unpaved Depot Hill Rd.; radio tower to N


Location: 41.564552, -73.691844

Reach the Morgan Stewart Shelter (sleeps 6). It’s a rocky .1 mi. short of Mt. Egbert’s 1,329-ft. crest, which is spotted with stunted pine. Retrace steps to trailhead

Appalachian Trail Railroad Station

Location: 41.592819, -73.587885

©Jeff Chow

Trout Lily

Location: 41.594263, -73.591833

©Jeff Chow

Dover Oak

Location: 41.603073, -73.611252

©Jeff Chow

Dover Oak

Location: 41.603201, -73.611317

Telephone Pioneer Shelter

Location: 41.602092, -73.620863

©Jeff Chow

Scenic Overlook

Location: 41.607114, -73.618272

©Jeff Chow