This 64-acre peninsula, dominated by second-growth deciduous forest and dotted with industrial remnants, juts out from the eastern bank of the Hudson River, extending south for more than half a mile, paralleling the shore. Once an island, the landform was inhabited by Native peoples through the seventeenth century and was used as a landing during the Revolutionary War. In 1821 William Denning II purchased the site and established a causeway at the island’s northern end, connecting it to the river shore. In 1872 a portion of the property was acquired by Homer Ramsdell, who established the Denning Point Brick Works (DPBW) in 1881, capitalizing on the site’s rich clay deposits. The causeway was widened, and the point’s western shore became a popular recreational amenity. After the brickyard closed in 1939 the property passed between corporate interests until it was acquired by the state and incorporated into the Hudson Highlands State Park in 1988.
Trails, including the riverside Klara Saur Trail that connects to Long Dock Park, meet at a gravel drive, providing access to the point. The drive leads to a vernacular brick building rehabilitated in 2007 by Gensler to host Clarkson University’s Rivers and Estuaries Center (now Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries). The institute is complemented by a landscape designed by Margie Ruddick of WRT Design in 2008. A meadow east of the building is shaded by cottonwoods, and to the south, paths navigate through beds planted with flowering shrubs and ferns, leading to gathering spaces. Southeast, the drive leads visitors to a cove, framed by the point and the river’s eastern shore. A footpath leads west, into the thickly vegetated forest, and becomes an approximately one-mile, looped trail providing access to the western shore, defined by stretches of brick beaches. The southernmost, rocky portion of the peninsula affords sweeping views of the river and the Hudson Highlands, including Storm King Mountain.