Don’t you just want to escape your 500 square foot studio apartment, and venture into the great outdoors? The vast state of New York is often tucked behind the shadow of New York City, one of the world’s biggest metropolises. But did you know that NYC is less than 1% of New York State’s landmass? Yet 64% of the population lives in the city? That often leaves many of us New Yorkers hungry to get out of our tiny apartments and explore the beauty and natural wonders of our state which offers so many hidden gems! A quick bask in the beauty of the Hudson Valley is good for the soul, even if you love the hustle and bustle of New York City. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or seeking a kid-friendly hike, there’s something for you! All of these hikes are within a couple of hour’s drive of New York City, and some are even within walking distance from the MetroNorth and Amtrak train stops! So convert your Blundstone’s into hiking boots, get out your map, fill up your hydro flask, and get outdoors to hike!
Important Things to Know Before Planning Your Hike Near NYC
But first, some important things all hikers need to be aware of. This is especially helpful if you’ve just begun hiking in the outdoors (which understandably so many people are now).
Carry out every single thing you carry in with you. Please do not leave any garbage anywhere. Leave no trace.
Consider bringing a bag to pick up any plastic trash you may see. Unfortunately, this is becoming a huge problem in many spaces so let’s please do our part to clean up so these spaces remain open and cared for.
If the garbage bins are overflowing, take the garbage with you and dispose of it elsewhere. Unlike the street corners of New York City, these parks do not have garbage removal every day.
Please do not play loud music. Not everyone likes your music. Most people are in the outdoors to escape the sounds of society and embrace nature’s tunes.
Stay on the trails. Veering off designated trails is not just dangerous, it also damages the terrain and natural ecosystem.
Have compassion if you see someone not doing something listed above. A lot of us are new to hiking in the outdoors and didn’t have the privilege of growing up with access to it. So please extend some empathy for others who are still learning.
Tick checking 101: – Be mindful of ticks in Upstate New York and check yourselves/your dogs for ticks afterward! Take ticks very seriously as they can transmit incurable Lyme Disease to humans.
Do not park illegally or you may either get a hefty ticket or your car may be towed.
Reconnect and refresh and try to let go of that phone!
Hike Overlook Mountain
A day spent in this unique pocket of New York is a day you won't soon forget! Located near the site of the 1969 music festival, Overlook Mountain is in the hippy-dippy town of Woodstock, New York. With a fire tower and a lookout over the Catskill Mountains, this trail also features hotel ruins! Before or after hitting the trail, take a couple of minutes to walk across the street from the trailhead to visit the Buddhist temple that will make visitors feel as though they have teleported to the Tibetan mountainside!
With the combination of a hike up Overlook Mountain with a visit to a Buddhist temple and a meal at one of Woodstock’s many fine, unique eateries, you will look back on this day fondly.
Hike Breakneck Ridge
Probably the most popular hike in the Hudson Valley, Breakneck Ridge is a great place to take in some of the best views in the Hudson Valley from the east side of the river. For those of you who do not own a car, Breakneck is easily accessible from the Cold Spring MetroNorth stop! This hike will take 4 hours to complete the whole loop, along with some difficult steep rock climbing that
must be done to get to the top. Once you reach the top, take some time to enjoy the view, but don’t be fooled, there are three more bluffs to master! When it’s all done, we suggest walking into Cold Spring, a charming town with loads of great food and drink.
Hike Storm King Mountain
If you want a quick climb that offers some steep terrain with some of the best views of the Hudson Valley, without paying the price for a helicopter, Storm King is
the mountain for you. Located near Cornwall, New York, Storm King Trail is a 2.6-mile loop that will take visitors approximately 2.5 hours to complete. At the main overlook of Storm King (there are several of them!), hikers can get a beautiful view to the north and on clear days can even spot the Catskill Mountains. We recommend waking up early to catch the sunrise over the Hudson River and hang out on the big boulder at the top for a hearty breakfast!
Hike Mount Beacon
Mount Beacon is located in the quaint, small town of Beacon, New York. Only a 1:30-hour train ride from New York City, once hikers get off the train at Beacon, they will be greeted with boutiques, cafes, and a variety of shops on its humble main street. If it’s not for its modern and contemporary art museum, DIA Beacon, that will make you visit this town, it will be Mount Beacon that features a 5.9-mile loop, along with a waterfall, and a newly renovated fire tower on the top of the mountain that offers even more stunning views of the Hudson Valley!
If you have never been to Beacon, we suggest taking the long 2-mile walk through downtown Beacon to get to the mountain! While walking through the town, you may even just text your significant other about moving to Beacon and starting your own micro-farm. This walk will even help you out on where to eat dinner when you’re done, though I would suggest Two Way Brewery or Hudson Valley Brewery for a nice brew and food!
Hike Bear Mountain
With one of the widest panoramic views in the Hudson Valley, Bear Mountain offers a quintessential hike that will leave visitors wishing that they had brought their camping gear to its grounds! With a 4.5 mile loop, this hike will take 3.5 hours to complete, along with fun rock-clambering, magnificent views, and some of the most well-done trail work that makes this hike accessible for hikers of all levels. Another great hike just across the bridge is Anothony’s Nose, where you’ll be viewing Bear Mountain from the other side.
Even after two centuries of being home to the famous aesthetic visions of Thomas Cole and other Hudson River School artists, the Hudson Valley still welcomes droves of city-dwellers to come and experience its natural beauty. Come experience it for yourself! Perhaps, you will even make the move North too!