Located along the Hudson River in Dutchess County is one of the most fascinating places in southeastern New York: Dennings Point.
Dennings Point is part of Hudson Highlands State Park and is located along a peninsula that juts out into the middle of an incredibly beautiful part of the Hudson Valley. Not only is Dennings Point stunningly beautiful, but it’s also home to several abandoned buildings, great hiking trails, popular fishing spots, and even some pretty amazing history.
Dennings Point has a rich history, having been used by humans since at least 4,000 B.C. It may have even been visited by Dutch explorer Henry Hudson in the early 1600s.
In more recent centuries, Dennings Point was home to a train depot, a large bricks factory (of which evidence can still be seen), and a home that Alexander Hamilton lived in and in which he may have written the Federalist Papers.
Those interested in more of the amazing history of Dennings Point should check out this great book.
Today, visitors come to Dennings Point because it is an amazing place to explore the shores of the Hudson River. Despite sites like Google Maps often calling the peninsula Dennings Point State Park, Dennings Point is actually a part of Hudson Highlands State Park.
While Hudson Highlands State Park is better known for its challenging hikes to amazing vistas, Dennings Point is an amazing attraction in its own right.
Access for the peninsula is at the end of a residential street and parking is in a large area directly before a gated road.
From here, it’s a third of a mile to the official entrance to Dennings Point.
While the park map only shows one trail here, there are actually several trails that are worth exploring. The two trails featured here both head to the left from the main road into the park.
After turning left, you’ll be adjacent to the largest abandoned building at Dennings Point. This is part of the ruins of the Dennings Point Brick Works and was also used for many years for other industries in the area as well.
The Dennings Point Brick Works were incredibly large, churning out as many as 400,000 bricks a day at the peak. Bricks made here were used in some of the region’s most iconic structures including the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center.
Today, there is one large building that sits abandoned on Dennings Point, though it looks like two because of the way it is built. There are some great views to be had from the exterior of the structure, but “No Trespassing” signs surround the building, so please don’t enter it. (Note that the photos here were taken from the outside of the building).
A trail winds its way around the abandoned structure providing several excellent views of the building from the exterior. The trail then passes piles of industrial debris before heading out to the shores of the Hudson River. At the end of the trail is a bird blind that offers great views of the Hudson River and the train tracks next to it.
My favorite aspect of this area, however, was the amazing beach. Instead of rocks or sand like you might expect, the entire beach was made up of broken bricks, many of which still had the obvious letters “DPBW” for Dennings Point Brick Works on them. Given that the factory closed in 1939, it’s amazing to think how long these bricks have been here on the shores of the river.
Once you’ve had a chance to enjoy this area, follow the path back past the abandoned buildings. When the trail ends, turn left, which takes you onto the Dennings Point Trail. If you’d rather skip the first part of this hike, hike straight onto this trail instead of making a second left turn to walk past the abandoned buildings.
The Dennings Point Trail is approximately 0.6 miles one-way, though the park map lists it as 1.6 miles for some reason. There used to be a loop trail here that could be completed, but part of the loop is closed, turning this from a roughly one-mile loop into a 1.25-mile out-and-back hike.
Nevertheless, this is an amazing hike that passes through an amazingly beautiful forest and ends with fantastic views of the river.
Shortly after starting the trail, there is an abandoned structure off to the right. This building frame is located just off the trail and a short trail leads to it. While things may change in the future, at the time of my visit, there were no signs indicating I couldn’t enter the structure. While there honestly wasn’t much to see since it’s just the shell of a building, it was still a neat spot to check out while hiking the trail.
Back on the Dennings Point Trail, continue as it passes through what has to be one of the most beautiful forests in this part of New York. The trail is relatively flat, though there are a few small rises.
About a third of the way into the hike, it starts following the shores of the Hudson River, though the trees only provide passing views of the waterway. For those that want to explore the river’s shore, there are multiple user created trails that lead to the water.
Eventually, the trail gets to the end of Dennings Point. This is a very popular fishing spot and there were several people fishing here during my visit. Even if you aren’t fishing, this is an amazing spot to enjoy the beauty of the Hudson Valley.
In addition to walking along the beautiful, rocky beach, you can also see the beautiful hillsides of the Hudson Highlands, the communities across the river, and even Bannerman Castle in the distance.
At the time of my visit in May 2019, the trail ends at Dennings Point and the rest of the loop is closed for habitat restoration. So, retrace your steps the 0.6 miles back to the main path onto Dennings Point.
Without a doubt, Dennings Point has to be one of the most fun places to explore in the Hudson Valley. It has a bit of everything including beautiful views, abandoned ruins, fascinating history, and trails that are perfect for the whole family.
If you are looking for a great spot to visit in the region, don’t miss Dennings Point in Hudson Highlands State Park.
Visiting Dennings Point
Dennings Point is located just outside of Beacon in Dutchess County, New York. The entrance is at the end of a residential street, so don’t think you made a wrong turn when you start driving through a neighborhood.
Parking for Dennings Point can be found at the end of Dennings Avenue at the following coordinates: 41.494261, -73.981790. If you’d rather use an address, you can also put in the address for Beacon Recycling and Transfer: 90 Dennings Ave, Beacon, NY 12508.
From this parking area, walk past the gate and a small, wooden kiosk. After a short distance, the trail will turn right and cross over train tracks before entering Dennings Point. The trails mentioned here can be found by taking the first left after crossing the train tracks.
It’s also possible to reach Dennings Point along the 1-mile Riverfront Trail from the Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park should you be visiting that park as well during your visit.
It should be noted that Dennings Point is closed from December 15 through March 15 due to habitat concerns.
Unlike many state parks in New York, there is no charge to visit Dennings Point in Hudson Highlands State Park.