Nestled between the Catskill and Berkshire Mountains, the Hudson Valley is a natural haven filled with forests, rivers, and breathtaking scenery. Though this region is best known for its historic estates, quaint towns, and bountiful orchards, it also hides some spectacular hiking trails off the beaten path. Whether you prefer a relaxing riverside stroll or a challenging mountain scramble, the Hudson Valley has something for every outdoor enthusiast.
For those looking for an easy hike with Instagram-worthy views, head over to Point Lookout in Bear Mountain State Park. Located just 50 miles north of NYC, this 1.5 mile loop trail brings you to a panoramic overlook of the Hudson River that can’t be missed. Pack a picnic blanket and watch the boats drift by as you take in the sweeping views of the valley below.
Further north near Beacon, Mount Beacon is a four-mile challenging hike that rewards the effort with gorgeous vistas atop the highest point in the Hudson Highlands. Sturdy shoes are a must as you make your way up the rocky terrain and steep inclines, but the satisfaction of reaching the 1,600 foot summit is well worth it.
On the western side of the river, hike to Gertrude’s Nose in Minnewaska State Park Preserve to be transported to another world. This dramatic cliff of Shawangunk Conglomerate rock juts out over 200 feet above sparkling Lake Awosting. Scramble your way up to take in the unique geology and far-reaching views of the Catskills from the vantage point.
For a lesser-known hike, head to Little Stony Point in Cold Spring, just steps from the Metro North station. Meander through forested paths out to secluded rock ledges dotted with small caves. Here you can take in views of Storm King Mountain framed by the river. Continue further out along the 1.5 mile trail to a peaceful sandy beach overlooking the Hudson and nearby mountains.
In Orange County, hike to the ruins of Fort Montgomery, an old Revolutionary War fortification with panoramic vistas. Walk the 1.5 mile trail around the perimeter of the abandoned earthen walls while taking in views of the Hudson River and distant Bear Mountain Bridge. History buffs will enjoy exploring the remnants of the fort and learning about its role in the battle for the Hudson River in 1777.
The Shawangunk Ridge, a 100 mile long rocky ridgeline that runs from Rosendale to Port Jervis, offers exhilarating hikes and spectacular nature watching. For breathtaking views, tackle the strenuous hike up to Awosting Falls, the highest waterfall in the Shawangunks. Or take on the seven-mile loop around Lake Awosting to be rewarded with a sparkling mountain lake and rocky outcrops. Keep your eyes peeled for the peregrine falcons that nest on the cliffs.
The Hudson Valley’s parks and preserves also boast some of the Northeast’s most impressive old-growth forests, complete with thousand-year-old trees. Stroll through quiet groves of ancient hemlocks, oaks, and maples in Rockefeller State Park’s Swan Lake Nature Preserve, Black Rock Forest, and Hudson Highlands State Park. Wandering these untouched forests transports you back centuries and offers a glimpse into the region’s ecological history.
Whether you’re up for a sweat-inducing trek or a leisurely waterside amble, the Hudson Valley promises hikes filled with natural splendor hidden from the well-beaten tourist track. Trek out to a secluded riverside beach, navigate forested trails to a dramatic clifftop overlook, or weave through the soaring trees of an old-growth forest. Let the region’s diverse landscapes and panoramic vistas refresh your spirit.