The Hudson Valley in New York, which is less than two hours north of New York City, yet still not quite Upstate New York, is a gorgeous area with everything from artsy towns to a robust live music scene and endless options for hiking trails. If you’re in search of blossoming flowers, mountain tops, and views of rolling green, consider these Hudson Valley hiking spots.
1. Burger Hill
The Burgers were a German Palatine family that relocated to the Hudson Valley in 1717. Today, Burger Hill is a free-to-use public park, protected by conservation group Scenic Hudson. Aside from hiking up the aforementioned Burger Hill, which offers gorgeous views of far-off mountains, you can also picnic, bird-watch, walk your dog, and even sled during the winter. When you make it to the top of Burger Hill, which only takes about 15 minutes, check out the flat slabs of stone that have sketches of the mountaintops you’re viewing.
2. Ferncliff Forest
Even on a sunny day, the forest’s thick, green canopy provides plenty of shade. Enter by walking around the parking lot gate, which is meant to keep out cars, but not people. After a quick ascent, you’ll see the murky South Pond. If you take a right and then follow the “Tower” sign, which you’ll notice on the red, abandoned building, you’ll be heading toward the East Tower trail, which you can follow by watching for the yellow markers.
3. Stissing Mountain
One of Pine Plains’ main landmarks is Stissing Mountain, which towers at 1,403 feet. Originally, Stissing Mountain was used as a lookout to spot forest fires. If you’re looking for a somewhat strenuous hike, this mountain is a great option. When you get to the fork in the road, the left option is a bit tough, since you’ll have to go up a narrow, rocky path. If you want an easier jaunt, go to the right, which offers a lovely, gradual ascent.
Located on the property is the 19th-century, Persian-style home that once belonged to Frederic Edwin Church, a landscape artist. Aside from that gorgeous home, which you should absolutely stop at, are five miles of trails that will take you through the 250-acre land. Designed as a living landscape, the romantic style of the grounds inspire local artists.
5. Mount Beacon
Since Beacon is at the southern part of the Hudson Valley, a lot of day trippers come up from New York City for the afternoon. If you’re looking for a serious workout, climb Mount Beacon. First, you’ll come to a huge staircase, which leaves a lot of people winded at the top. Then, the mountain steeply extend upwards, with various rocky switchbacks. At the top, you’ll get gorgeous views of the Hudson Valley. Continue exploring by heading to the fire tower, which you can carefully climb to get an even higher vantage point.
These hiking trails, which are located in Dutchess and Columbia counties, are open from sunrise to sunset. While you don’t need mountaineering know-how, you should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. If you make it to the Mohonk Mountain House, stop at the Mohonk Mountain House Gift Shop to bring back a souvenir of your trip.