Our surrounding environment
Located along the Hudson River at the confluence of the Espous Creek, the land surrounding the trail to the Lighthouse consists of 17 acres of wooded grounds and tidal wetland flats. The area is supported by a sandbar comprised of dredged sediments from the channelization projects of 1888 and 1889, at which point the Esopus Creek was deepened to make way for ship access to the Saugerties Harbor.
The resulting peninsula now offers a scenic half-mile trail to the Lighthouse and its surrounding public decks, as well as a forked trail to a beachside picnic area on the Hudson. Family-friendly and easily accessible by car or foot, the trail serves as an enjoyable hike for kids and a preferred spot for bird watching, boat spotting and admiring the changes of the seasons. Traversed directly, the trail to the Lighthouse is only about a 10-minute walk across earthen stretches, sandy flats and wooden boardwalks. It’s important to note that the peninsula is subject to tidal flooding, making portions of the trail impassable at certain times of day. Please always check the tide table before your visit so you’re prepared for what lies ahead. You’ll also find a tide table posted in the kiosk located at the entrance to the trail. Waterproof, sturdy footwear is strongly recommended.
Home to nearly 100 species of flora, the trail’s unique plant life includes trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, sedges, grasses and ferns. Over the years, the area has seen an increase in exotic invasive species such as tall Phragmites reeds and the Eurasian water chestnut, colloquially known as devil’s heads or cow heads. Growing in presence along eastern waterways, the water chestnut blooms restrict light and cut off oxygen to the surrounding waters, making it difficult for native plants and fish to share the same space. The area also hosts the Purple Loosestrife perennial weed, one of the most invasive non-native species in North American wetlands. While offering a beautiful splash of color to the landscape, the shrub is prolific in its spread and tends to push out the opportunity for native plants to flourish. This shrub is thought to have been accidentally introduced by the shipping industry, as often rocky soil dredged from European wetlands was carried in ships to help maintain balance during long, rough voyages across the ocean. Upon arrival, the seed-rich soil was released into the coastal waters.
The peninsula is also an important habitat for breeding and migrating birdlife. Keep an eye out for nesting bald eagles, great blue herons, gulls, geese, ducks and hundreds more.