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Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area and Research Reserve

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Sunset at Tivoli Bay
A sunset from Tivoli Bays provides stunning
views of the Catskill Mountains

Tivoli Bays extends for two miles along the east shore of the Hudson River between the villages of Tivoli and Barrytown, in the Dutchess County town of Red Hook. The Tivoli Bays site includes two large coves on the east shore of the Hudson River including Tivoli North Bay, a large intertidal marsh and Tivoli South Bay, a large, shallow cove with mudflats exposed at low tide. The site also includes an extensive uplands bordering Tivoli North Bay; sections of shoreline along Tivoli South Bay; Cruger Island and Magdalene Island, two bedrock islands with extensive subtidal shallows; and the mouths of two tributary streams, the Stony Creek and the Saw Kill.

Stony Creek has a watershed area of 22.2 square miles draining into Tivoli North Bay, and the Saw Kill has a watershed area of 22.0 square miles draining into Tivoli South Bay. There are extensive hiking trails at Tivoli Bays and a canoe launch in North Bay. Interpretive kiosks orient visitors to the Tivoli Bays.

The Tivoli Bays contain the best quality examples of freshwater intertidal marsh and freshwater tidal swamp - globally rare wetland habitat types - in the Hudson River Estuary. These unique habitats support a wide variety of wetland-dependent fish, wildlife, and plant species.

The Tivoli Bays is one of four sites in the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, a partnership between New York State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support stewardship of, research on, and education about the important lands and waters of the Hudson River estuary. The Reserve is itself part of a national network of coastal protected and managed areas, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (leaves DEC website).

Featured Activities

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 3F

General information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Tivoli Bays offers a wide variety of hunting and trapping opportunities in season with a valid state license. The area is especially well-known and popular for the excellent waterfowl hunting on Tivoli North Bay, which supports large concentrations of migratory ducks moving south along the Hudson River. Upland areas provide ample acreage for deer, turkey and small game hunting and are stocked by DEC with ring-necked pheasants to provide additional hunting opportunities. The area also supports a diversity of furbearers including muskrat, beaver, red and gray fox, and raccoon, which provide both water and upland trapping opportunities.



General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Fishing is allowed in season with a valid state license, except as restricted by posted notice. In the bays themselves, black bass, catfish and carp are the most targeted species. Outside the railroad tracks in the Hudson River, black bass and striped bass are highly sought after.

Note that boats with motors are not allowed in Wildlife Management Area (WMA) waters.

Wildlife Viewing

bird viewing

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state. Use the Wildlife Management Area Vertebrate Checklist (PDF) and the Wildlife Management Area Bird Checklist (PDF) as a wildlife viewing guide.

Tivoli Bays was designated as a New York State Important Bird Area in 1997. This designation was awarded on the basis of the documented occurrence of breeding least bitterns, Virginia rail, sora, common moorhen, and marsh wren. Tivoli Bays is also designated as a New York Bird Conservation Area in recognition of its unique breeding marsh bird community, its prominence as a staging area for migrating waterfowl including large numbers of black ducks, and its upland forest and shrub areas which provide important migratory stopover habitat for warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, blackbirds, and many other songbird migrants. A 2005 marsh bird survey observed numerous resident marsh bird species including Virginia rail, red-winged blackbird, marsh wren, least bittern, American bittern, and swamp sparrow. Raptor species commonly observed at Tivoli Bays include bald eagle, osprey, and northern harrier. Other common wildlife observed include snapping turtle, muskrat and beaver.

The Hudson River, including the waters of Tivoli Bays, supports one of the largest populations of the endangered shortnose sturgeon on the Atlantic Coast. The tawny emperor butterfly, which is uncommon in the state, has also been found here. It is also home to several plant species that are endangered, threatened, or uncommon in New York, including wildflowers like the estuary beggar-tick, golden club and heartleaf plantain.

DEC will be constructing a barrier-free marsh viewing platform at the Cruger Island Road parking area that is expected to be open for public use in Spring 2019.



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

The lands within the Tivoli Bays site are scored by numerous ravines and ridges, which provide varied and interesting terrain, and the tidal waters are equally diverse. Several trails cross the property, including two that are part of the Hudson River Greenway Land Trail (leaves DEC website). Note that there is no off-trail public access from the trails on the conservation easement at the northern end of the property, and activities on those trails are limited (e.g. no hunting).

Note: Poison ivy is prevalent in Tivoli Bays. Avoid exposed feet and ankles. Dutchess County has a high incidence of tick-borne diseases, including Lyme, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Use safety precautions and check for ticks after your excursion. For more information, visit the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (leaves DEC website).



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

The Kidd Lane entrance provides access to internal roads and trails that can be used for biking.

Tivoli North Bay canoe launch
Canoe launch in Tivoli North Bay



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

A canoe launch off the Kidd Lane entrance provides access at all tides for canoes and other car-top boats, spring through fall. Boats with motors are not allowed in WMA waters. Cruger and Magdalene islands are accessible only by boat. A second informal launching site is located off Cruger Island Road; however, it is recommended for use only within two hours of high tide. Free public canoe programs are available throughout the summer.

Tivoli North Bay is part of the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail (leaves DEC website).

For additional launching sites in the area, check out the list of boat launch sites for Dutchess County.


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

  • Kidd Lane Parking Areas provide access to the Tivoli North Bay trails and a canoe launch (42.046229°N, 73.906715°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).
    • From south of Tivoli: Take Route 9G north and pass Bard College signs and the sign for Route 103. Pass sign on left for DEC Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area, then turn left onto Kidd Lane. Turn left at another sign for DEC Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area. Follow dirt access road down the hill approximately 0.7 miles and park in second parking area on right (first parking area is at beginning of access road).
    • From north of Tivoli: Take Route 9G south. Pass signs for Route 78 and town of Tivoli. Go approximately one more mile and turn right onto Kidd Lane. Follow the directions as stated above from Kidd Lane.
    • NOTE: The parking lot at the cul-de-sac at the bottom of the hill is reserved for car-top boat loading and unloading only.
  • Route 9G Parking Area and trailhead (42.036074°N, 73.895156°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).
    • From south of Tivoli: Take Route 9G north and pass Bard College. Shortly after Route 103 on the left, there will be a DEC sign for Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area. Turn left into the parking lot here. There is a kiosk and trailhead. If you get to Route 79 on the right you have just missed your turn.
    • From north of Tivoli: Take Route 9G south past Tivoli. Pass Kidd Lane on your right, Route 79 on your left, and turn right into the parking lot at the sign for the DEC Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area. There is a kiosk and a trailhead.
  • Cruger Island Road Parking Areas provide access to Tivoli North and South Bay trails (42.027691°N, 73.908965°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).
    • From Red Hook and points east: Take Route 199 to Route 9G north. Go through one light and make a left onto Route 103. When the road curves, stay straight on the gravel road to go past the large red building on your right. There will be three small parking areas where you can access trails and the future barrier-free viewing platform of Tivoli North Bay.
    • From the south: Take Route 9G north towards Bard College. Make a left onto Route 103 toward the Bard Performing Arts Center. Follow the directions as stated above from Route 103.
    • From the north: Take Route 9G south past Tivoli towards Bard College. Make a right onto Route 103 toward the Bard Performing Arts Center. Follow the directions as stated above from Route 103.

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 Tivoli Bays 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. If you come across research equipment, please leave it undisturbed.

Activity Rules & Regulations

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:

  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Fires
  • Off-road vehicles
  • Removing plants
  • Collecting historic or prehistoric artifacts
  • Motorized boats
  • Overnight boat mooring or storage

High speed trains are a serious hazard. Trespassing on railroad tracks or bridges is prohibited.

Outdoor Safety Tips

NOTE: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing, but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases. More information on deer ticks and Lyme disease can be obtained from the NYS Department of Health (leaves DEC website).

How We Manage Tivoli Bays WMA and Research Reserve

pittman-robertson logo

Like most of the state's Wildlife Management Areas, Tivoli Bays WMA is managed by DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or "Pittman-Robertson" Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the forthcoming Habitat Management Plan for the Tivoli Bays WMA, which is in development, and the 2019 Hudson River Research Reserve Management Plan (PDF, 5.8 MB). In addition to management objectives, these plans contain 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 these plans, please send an email to

The uplands at Tivoli Bays WMA contain a mixture of mature forests and early successional habitats including several hundred acres of old fields and shrublands. Wildlife species that rely on early successional habitats for breeding, escape cover, and foraging have generally declined across the state; therefore, maintaining and enhancing existing early successional habitat at Tivoli Bays is and will be an ongoing management priority. Furthermore, creation of additional early successional habitat at Tivoli Bays through sustainable forest management will be considered in the future as these habitats become less common across the landscape.

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 Germantown, Red Hook and Tivoli.

Dutchess 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.