Hiking in the Hudson Valley: 33+ Unforgettable Experiences for You
If you love the outdoors, then hiking in the Hudson Valley is for you!
Are you looking for unforgettable hiking adventures in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York State? Look no further! The Hudson Valley is home to a diverse array of landscapes and trails that are perfect for hikers of all skill levels. From strolls along peaceful rivers to challenging climbs up rugged trails, hiking in the Hudson Valley has something for everyone.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to some of the best hiking trails in the region and provide tips for planning your own outdoor adventure while hiking in the Hudson Valley.
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Why is Hiking in the Hudson Valley so Popular?
Hiking in the Hudson Valley region of New York is popular for a number of reasons. From state parks to historic sites, being outside for a full day of breathing fresh air can change your health: both physically and mentally.
One of the main reasons is the beautiful scenery, which includes the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and a number of lakes and streams. The area is known for its picturesque landscape and offers a variety of terrain, including forests, fields, and wetlands, which makes it a great destination for hikers of all skill levels.
Another reason that hiking in the Hudson Valley is popular is the variety of trails available. The area is home to a number of state parks and nature preserves, which offer a wide range of trails that range in difficulty and length. From an easy walk to a strenuous hike, back-country adventures, the Hudson Valley has something for every type of hiker.
In addition to the natural beauty and the variety of trails, the Hudson Valley is also a popular destination for hikers because it is easily accessible from New York City and other major cities in the Northeast. The area is located just a short drive from the city and is easily accessible by car or public transportation.
Fire Towers and Hiking in the Hudson Valley
Hiking to fire towers in the Hudson Valley region of New York is a popular activity that allows hikers to enjoy beautiful views of the landscape while also learning about the history of the area. Fire towers were once used as lookout points to spot and report forest fires, and many of them are now open to the public for hiking and sightseeing.
There are up to a dozen fire towers in the area and several are open to the public, and each one offers its own unique views and hiking experiences. Some of the popular fire towers in the area include:
- Overlook Mountain Fire Tower: Located in the Catskill Mountains, this fire tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is a moderate to challenging hike.
- Stissing Mountain Fire Tower: Located in Dutchess County, this fire tower offers great views of the Hudson Valley and the surrounding mountains and is a moderate hike.
- Mount Beacon Fire Tower: Located in the Hudson Highlands, this fire tower offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and the surrounding landscape and is a moderate to challenging hike.
Hiking to fire towers can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it is important to be prepared and to follow proper safety guidelines. You should be in relatively good shape to, as the elevation gain can be significant.
Map of Places for Hiking in the Hudson Valley
Albany Pine Bush
A trip to Albany Pine Bush in Albany is a trip you will not soon forget. With approximately 18 miles of trails and an impressive 3,350 acres of land, there is something for every type of hiker. The trails offer a variety of terrain, including dirt paths, boardwalks, and gravel roads, and they provide access to a number of scenic areas within the preserve.
Start your visit at Albany Pine Bush at the Discovery Center. In addition to hiking, the Albany Pine Bush is a great place for birdwatching, picnicking, and just enjoying the outdoors. This is a great place to spend the afternoon. Take lunch and rest at the picnic tables throughout the area.
With an elevation of 900+ feet, Anthony’s Nose is a popular hike in Westchester County. Although the beginning portions of the hike is rocky and steep, the view from the top of the mountain is well worth it. Along the way, hikers can enjoy beautiful views of the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and the nearby town of Cortlandt.
Once arriving at the summit, hikers have a view of the Bear Mountain Bridge and surrounding area and this makes it a favorite hike for many. On the weekends, you can reach Anthony’s Nose trails by way of the Metro-North Hudson Line, stopping at the Manitou train station. The entrance is between 1-2 miles from the station.
Arden Point, in Columbia County, is known for its beautiful views of the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and the nearby town of Hudson. The area is popular with hikers, who can explore a number of trails that wind through the woods and offer breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the landscape. Some of the trails at Arden Point are relatively easy, while others are more challenging and require a bit of skill and endurance.
One popular trail at Arden Point is the Hudson Highlands State Park Trail, which offers a number of different loops and routes for hikers to choose from. The trails range in length from a few miles to over ten miles, and they offer a variety of terrain, including rocky paths, wooded areas, and open fields. Along the way, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the Hudson River, the Catskill Mountains, and the surrounding countryside.
Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park is a 5,205-acre park located about 50 miles north of New York City. The park is known for its beautiful views, which includes the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and a number of lakes and streams. This is a favorite place for many that enjoy hiking in the Hudson Valley.
One of the most popular trails at Bear Mountain State Park is the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the park and is part of a 2,200-mile long-distance hiking trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia. The gorgeous miles of the Appalachian Trail brings thousands of hikers to the area. Other popular trails at the park include the Major Welch Trail, which offers views of the Hudson River and the surrounding mountains, and the Perkins Memorial Tower Trail, which leads to a scenic overlook with panoramic views of the park.
In addition to hiking, Bear Mountain State Park offers a number of other outdoor recreation activities, including fishing, boating, picnic areas, and swimming. The park also has a number of facilities, including a playground, a museum, and a zoo.
Black Creek is known for its beautiful scenery and is a popular location for hiking in the Hudson Valley. Hikers can explore a number of trails that wind through the woods and offer stunning views of the landscape.
One popular trail at Black Creek is the Black Creek Preserve Trail, which is a 4.5-mile loop that follows the course of the creek and offers a number of scenic vistas along the way. The trail is relatively an easy hike and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you’ll pass through a variety of habitats, including hardwood forests, wetlands, and fields, and you may spot a variety of wildlife, including birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Blue Mountain Reservation
Blue Mountain Reservation is an over 1,500 acre park located in Peekskill, NY offering miles of trails available for mountain biking, strolling, nature study and hiking. There are some challenging hikes to the tops of two large peaks on the property, Mount Spitzenberg and Blue Mountain.
The 12 mile Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway is accessible from the Blue Mountain Trail system.
Breakneck Ridge is a popular hiking destination located in the Hudson Highlands region. The ridge is known for its challenging terrain, which includes steep climbs, rocky cliffs, and narrow footpaths. Despite its difficulty, Breakneck Ridge is a popular hike due to its stunning views of the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and the nearby town of Beacon.
The main trail to the top of Breakneck Ridge is about 4.5 miles long and is considered to be moderately difficult. The trail starts at the Breakneck Ridge Trailhead and follows a series of steep switchbacks to the top of the ridge. The trail is marked with blue blazes, which help hikers to stay on track and a trail map is always a good idea to have.
Dickinson Hill Fire Tower
With majestic views of the Adirondack Mountains, Green Mountains of Vermont and the Taconic Range and the Helderberg Mountains, the Dickinson Hill Fire Tower is a must-see if you’re a nature junkie. Built in 1924 to monitor forest fires, this tower has been updated in the several years in order to be enjoyed by people visiting Grafton Lakes State Park.
Dover Stone Church
Would you believe it if I told you that you can find a beautiful rock formation with a waterfall in a cave in Dutchess County? Well, you can! Dover Stone Church in Dover Plains, NY is a wonderful place to hike and spend some time exploring the ‘church’ cave and surrounding area. Located off of County Route 22, parking is available nearby at Dover Elementary School.
Fishkill Ridge is known for its beautiful views of the Hudson River, the surrounding mountains, and is a good place to view the nearby town of Beacon. One of the most popular trails at Fishkill Ridge is the Breakneck Ridge Trail, which is a 4.5-mile loop that follows the ridge and offers a number of scenic views along the way. In addition to the Breakneck Ridge Trail, there are several other trails in the area that offer more challenging routes and longer hikes.
Harriman State Park
One of the most popular trails at Harriman State Park is the Appalachian Trail. Other popular trails at the park include the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, which offers views of the Hudson River and the surrounding mountains, and the Seven Lakes Drive, which leads to a number of scenic lakes and streams.
Hudson Valley Rail Trail
This paved trail extends from the Walkway over the Hudson, in Ulster County, to New Paltz. There are multiple entry points to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail where the trail offers amazing views and a wonderful place to spend the day.
With several pavilions along the way, you can also be sure to enjoy the walk, run or bike ride under several stone-arch bridges and past two trailside cabooses.
Indian Ladder Trail
Located just outside Albany in Voorheesville, John Boyd Thacher State Park is the home to Indian Ladder Trail.
The trail passes two waterfalls, an underground stream and caves. The trail is ‘One Way’ and the entrance will be at La Grange and the exit will be at the Visitors Center.
Kaaterskill Clove Lookout
The access to the Kaaterskill Clove Lookout trailhead can be found on Route 23A in Palenville, NY. The lookout is a excellent place to take in the amazing views of the Lower Kaaterskill Clove and the Hudson Valley.
The entire hike is approximately 1.8 miles round trip and is a great introduction to hiking in the Hudson Valley.
Little Stony Point
Hiking in the Hudson Valley does not get any easier than with a visit to Little Stony Point in Putnam County. Just across the train tracks from Hudson Highlands State Park in Cold Spring, this great hike is near Main Street and all the great restaurants and shops there.
Manitou Point Preserve
Exploring Putnam County’s Eastern border along the Hudson River could not be easier than hiking on Manitou Point Preserve. Hiking in the Hudson Valley cannot get more rewarding than this hike.
This long hike with steep sections is a popular destination for people who love a challenge while hiking in the Hudson Valley. Located in the Shawangunk Ridge, the mountain can be approached from the Mohonk Preserve or Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Mohonk Mountain House is a separate property and resort adjoining the preserve.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Located in Ulster County, NY in the Shawangunk Mountains, this is probably one of the most popular areas for hiking in the Hudson Valley. Activities at Minnewaska State Park Preserve include hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and rock climbing.
Due to its popularity, it does receive more visitors than other locations and is subject to closure to new visitors often on the weekends due to overcrowding.
With over 8,000 acres of cliffs, forests, fields, ponds and streams, the Mohonk Preserve also boasts over 70 miles of carriage roads and 40 miles of trails. There is plenty of space in this outdoor wonderland to hike, cycle, run trails, cross-country ski, snowshoe and go horseback riding.
The visitor center and immediate grounds are free to the public. To access the land you need to have a membership or buy a day pass.
Mount Beacon is the highest peak of the Hudson Highlands. Located south of the City of Beacon, in Dutchess County, this is a popular area for hiking in the Hudson Valley.
Easily seen from across the Hudson River in Newburgh, this steep climb offers amazing views of the valley and the river below. The northern peak has several radio antennas and the southern peak houses a fire lookout tower.
Once home to the Mount Beacon Incline Railway, the summit also once housed a restaurant, casino and hotel. Partial structures still remain.
Just North of Cold Spring, is a location called Bull Hill or Mount Taurus. Part of the Hudson Highlands, this location offers a challenging trail that ends with a spectacular view of the Hudson River.
As you begin this hike, you will walk along the site of the quarry operated from 1931 to 1967 by Hudson River Stone Corporation. Remnants of rusted pipes and cables can still be seen and makes for an interesting hike.
Mud Pond Preserve
This serene and relatively short hiking trail is home to Mud Pond Preserve in the town of Nassau. The preserve is nearly 100 acres and the trail ends on a vista overlooking the 6-acre pond.
This preserve and trail is perfect for the day hiker just looking to get away from it all.
North-South Lake State Park Campground
Known at the biggest and most popular state campground, North-South Lake State Park Campground should be added to everyone’s list of must-see places to hike.
In addition to hiking, you can enjoy your time camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, row boating and swimming.
Located in Pawling, the name of Nuclear Lake is the result of an accident that occurred at a nearby, long-gone nuclear research facility. Any radioactivity was removed, leaving behind what at least one through-hiker on the Appalachian Trail deemed the prettiest lake along the entire 2,200-mile span.
Old Croton Aqueduct Trail/State Historic Park
This National Historic Landmark Trail is a perfect day out. The lower end of the trail starts in Yonkers, NY and continues north to the village of Croton-on-Hudson in Westchester County.
Accessible from several points along the trail, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail is over 26 miles long, the trail is perfect for jogging, hiking, walk and biking. Some of the trail can get muddy and is rocky. This is great for hiking in the Hudson Valley in the lower Hudson Valley region.
Poet’s Walk Park
Poet’s Walk Park is a beautiful, 175-acre park known for its stunning views of the Hudson River and the surrounding mountains, and it is a popular destination for hikers, who can explore a number of trails that wind through the woods and offer breathtaking views of the landscape. One great hike at Poet’s Walk Park is the Poet’s Walk Loop Trail, which is a short hike at 2.5-mile loop that follows the course of the Hudson River and offers a number of scenic views along the way. The trail is relatively easy and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels, even small children.
Perfect for biking and walking/jogging/running, the Putnam Trailway is paved and follows the “Old” NY and Putnam Railroad line.
Starting at the Putnam County Line it extends 12 miles to Carmel.
Stretching between Rockland County and Orange County, the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail starts at Harriman State Park. Spanning the entire length of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, the trail weaves in and out of the Appalachian Trail.
Approximately 10 miles from end to end, the trail offers magnificent views of peaks, valleys, lakes and rivers.
Schunnemunk State Park
Located in New Windsor, Schunnemunk State Park has 8 trails ranging from over 3 miles to almost 10 miles. Offering great views from the mountain top, the hikes have been described as ‘moderate’.
Sterling Forest State Park
This pristine natural state park, known as Sterling Forest State Park, is an amazing 21,000+ acres in Orange County. The Lautenberg Visitors Center is open daily from 8am – 4:30pm.
There are several popular trails at perfect for hiking in the Hudson Valley: 8-mile Sterling Ridge Trail, 3-mile Allis Trail, 4-mile Indian Hill Loop, 7 miles of the Appalachian Trial and 10 miles of the Highlands Trail.
Stissing Fire Tower
Located in Pine Plains, the hike to Stissing Fire Tower on Stissing Mountain is steep but worth it. The amazing views from the summit.
The Fire Tower itself is not for those scared of heights, but the views from the top are outstanding. Standing at 90-feet, the hike may take up to an hour to reach the tower.
Storm King State Park
Spanning almost 2,000 acres, Storm King State Park is a favorite of many. Located at the Southeast art of Cornwall, it is located next to the Hudson River.
The main feature being Storm King Mountain, the majority of the land is undeveloped and offers limited parking and some hiking trails.
Located in Hyde Park, Vanderbilt Mansion is a great place for hiking in the Hudson Valley. The trails bring you past excellent views, babbling streams, waterfalls, gardens, pleasant woods and nice picnic spots along the river. The mansion grounds are a popular destination all year round, as you will witness by the cars in the parking lot.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Located in Pound Ridge, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is a great place to visit. With an elevation of 860+ feet, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is a wonderful place for hiking in the Hudson Valley.
The reservation is also home to the Trailside Nature Museum, as well as trails for horseback riding.
Helpful Websites for Hiking in the Hudson Valley
There are plenty of reputable websites that can help you find a specific information about hiking in the Hudson Valley or more information regarding the hikes difficulty, etc.
Hike the Hudson Valley
Mike Todd, founder of Hike the Hudson Valley, offers a great resource for the newbie hiker and also for the experienced hiker. The hikes are often updated and offer honest information. In addition to be a database of the hikes available, they also have a blog on the website. Website: hikethehudsonvalley.com
NY/NJ Trail Conference
The NY/NJ is committed to the preservation of public trails. It is a volunteer-run program. Although their website is not extensive, it is a great way to get an idea of several trails and what you may be interested in. Website: www.nynjtc.org
The popularity of Hiking in the Hudson Valley has only increased since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s a good reason to get outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise. No matter where you go, from the Taconic Mountains to the Shaupeneak Ridge and everything in between, hiking in the Hudson Valley is like no other place to hike.
More Outdoor Activities in the Hudson Valley:
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