Ben Nephew's FKT on Anthonys Nose
Location: Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, NY
Adventure: 10 miles, 3,100ft of gain.
FKT: 1:43:06 - Ben Nephew
In looking over trail maps of the Hudson Valley, I had always noticed that the trails around Anthony’s Nose had a ridiculous density of stars, indicating viewpoints. The only other trails that compare in terms of views are on Storm King and Breakneck Ridge, two of my favorite areas to run, so I’ve been interested in checking out the Camp Smith Trail to Anthony’s Nose for quite a while.
I mapped out a 10 mile route of the Camp Smith Trail and the AT off of Anthony’s Nose to get a bit more mileage and climbing. I had never been in the area at all, so I wasn’t sure if the route was going to make much sense and/or be enjoyable to run. I finally made some time to get over there this Spring, and it did not disappoint.
The Camp Smith trail is a technical rollercoaster that always keeps you on your toes. There are some smooth, runnable sections, but these often lead you into intensely rocky sections, sometimes involving steep downhill grades. Injury is certainly a possibility with a fall on some of the fields of shattered rock and narrow and steep ledges. There is often only one good line down the ledges.
The first mile is challenging in terms of both footing and grade, but this makes the rest of the route feel easier, until you have to descend back to the finish. The key to a fast time on this route is maintaining your speed through these technical sections, while still being able to hold a fast pace when the trail opens up into smooth singletrack.
The climb up to Anthony’s Nose itself is moderate, and much of the climbs in the area are mostly runnable. While the route does have a good amount of climb for 10 miles, the individual climbs are short, ending right when they are starting to really wear on you and affect your pace.
After running out to the summit to catch the expansive views, I easily found the intersection with the AT that would take me down to the turnaround at South Mountain Pass. The difference between the Camp Smith trail and the AT is striking, where Camp Smith is very open woods, few roots, and plenty of rocks, much of this section of AT is tight, wooded singletrack that gets little use compared to the other trails around Anthony’s Nose. I managed my effort well on the run north, and was able to negative split on the way back. This is rare for me, as I tend to be overly optimistic in my fitness and expect to hold an unrealistic pace!
This is another good option for a short FKT in the Hudson Valley, and close to NYC compared to any Catskill options. I saw one hiker getting out of a cab from NYC as I started! It reminds me of a smaller version of the FKT route I established over the Breakneck Ridge, and it is fun to be able to head out without any gear and run hard for a couple of hours. The ever changing views of the Hudson Valley don’t hurt, either! The out and back provides entirely new views that you would miss without heading back down Camp Smith, and it is easy to head back up to several of these spots after the run to take a bit more time enjoying the scenery, other than the 20ft of trail directly in front of you!