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Iona Island

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Iona Island is located in Bear Mountain State Park (leaves DEC website) on the east side of Route 9W in the Town of Stony Point in Rockland County, six miles south of West Point. Iona Island is a bedrock island in the midst of the Hudson Highlands, bordered to the west and the southwest by Salisbury and Ring Meadows, two large tidal marshes, the mouth of Doodletown Bight, an expanse of shallows and mudflats. A separate island, Round Island, was attached to the south end of Iona Island with fill in the early 20th century. The marshes and shallows occupy one mile between Iona Island and the west shore. In addition to being part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Iona Island and its associated tidal wetlands have been designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

Iona Island marsh in the fall

The area of Iona Island is comprised of brackish intertidal mudflats, brackish tidal marsh, freshwater tidal marsh and deciduous forested uplands. Doodletown Brook is the principal tributary to the site, draining approximately 2.9 square miles. The Iona Island component encompasses 556 acres. The marsh at Iona Island can be viewed along the causeway (off Route 9W), accessible by car or on foot.

Excellent views of Iona Island can be seen from a number of vantage points, notably the overlook across the river on Route 6/202, which has parking for at least 15 cars. Several overlooks within Bear Mountain State Park also offer splendid views of Iona Island and its marshes. Lands west of the railroad crossing are accessible and offer limited views of the marsh.

Featured Activities

People canoeing in the marsh at Iona

Paddling

paddling

General information on paddling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Free public canoe programs are available in the summer, but there is no public canoeing or kayaking allowed in the marshes surrounding Iona Island.

Watchable Wildlife

watchable wildlife

General information on watchable wildlife includes tips for viewing wildlife and links to other watchable wildlife locations.

Iona Island Marsh is a great place to watch wildlife. A variety of waterfowl, wetland birds, deer, muskrats, turtles, frogs, fish and crabs call the marsh their home. Bald eagles may roost on the island in the winter and can be viewed from the overlook on Route 6/202 across the river.

Directions

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

  • Iona Island Parking Area and scenic overlook (41.302794°N, 73.978351°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).
    • From the west: On the west side of the Hudson River just south of Bear Mountain Bridge, Iona Island is accessible by car via a two-lane causeway from Route 9W/202 across Salisbury Meadow. Travel to Bear Mountain traffic circle and turn right onto 9W south. About one mile south of the turn-off for Bear Mountain Inn, the road flattens out. Look for and make a left-hand turn onto Iona Island Causeway. This road cuts directly through the tidal wetlands. Drive about ½ mile. There is parking just before the railroad tracks near the kiosk.
  • Bear Mountain Parkway Parking Area and scenic overlook on the east side of the river provides excellent views of Iona Island (41.311966°N, 73.970621°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Iona Island must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Life in the marsh is fragile. Visitors are encouraged to use this area with minimal disturbance to life in the marsh and associated natural areas. Please carry out what you carry in. The following activities are not permitted:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Trapping
  • Camping
  • Fires
  • Removal of plants
  • Collecting historic or prehistoric artifacts

High speed trains are a serious hazard. Trespassing on railroad tracks or bridges is prohibited. Visitors are not allowed to cross the railroad tracks.

How We Manage Iona Island

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the 2019 Hudson River Research Reserve Management Plan (PDF, 5.8 MB). In addition to management objectives, this plan contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this plan, please send an email to the Research Reserve Manager at heather.gierloff@dec.ny.gov.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas, lodging, dining opportunities, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Fort Montgomery and Peekskill.

Rockland County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.