Looking for an outdoor oasis that will take you away from the overwhelming hustle and bustle of NYC? If so then check out this list of the 19 best Hudson Valley hikes of all time – many of which also double as the best hikes near NYC.
After all, not only are these Hudson Valley hiking trails awesome, but many of them can be quickly and easily accessed by simply hopping on a train from Grand Central Terminal.
And in less than an hour? Well, bam, you’re on the trail enjoying some of the best views in the Hudson Valley.
So, regardless of whether you’re a novice, intermediate, or advanced level hiker, this list features the perfect hike for you – especially since you’ll get tons of expert local tips from someone who has lived in the area for 30+ years and knows all about the best Hudson Valley hikes around.
Because believe it or not, this vast part of the state extends all the way from Westchester County to Albany and contains no less than 18 different state parks – places that are just waiting to be explored by outdoor enthusiasts like you!
Therefore, stop dreaming and start uncovering the incredible beauty of the Hudson Valley region with this epic list of the best Hudson Valey hiking trails ever.
Pro Tip: The perfect time to visit the best Hudson Valley hikes is on a Tuesday evening or a Thursday afternoon when most parks are at their least crowded. However, if you must hike visit during a weekend, do try and start before sunrise.
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Best Hudson Valley Hikes – Easy
1. Sky Top Trail
If you’re looking for some of the all-time best Hudson Valley hikes, then Mohonk Mountain Preserve is a great place to start.
After all, this stunning, 8,000-acre preserve is home to the picturesque Shawangunk Mountains and features a wealth of top Hudson Valley hiking trails that hikers of all abilities will love.
So, strap on your hiking boots and explore the 40+ miles of trails here, including the easy but always lovely, Sky Top Trail.
It starts at the Huguenot Drive trailhead that is near the boating/valet drop-off area. Continue along the trail past the hotel’s many stunning gardens and make a right at the first intersection onto Sky Top Road.
You’ll then climb up the mountain as you pass hemlocks, pitch pines, and enchanting gazebo-laden overlooks.
When you make it to the small pond, bear left and you’ll see the tower above you as you walk around the reservoir and to the top of the hill.
And if you happen to be here during the winter, there’s a little Nordic Center here where you can rent skis and/or snowshoes.
Pro Tip: FYI, you will have to pay a fee if you start hiking from a trailhead in Mohonk Preserve ($15 for hikers). The fee will also increase if you start at the Mohonk Mountain House itself ($29). So, if you want to forgo the fee, park at the Mohonk Gatehouse and walk the 2.2 miles to the trailhead from there.
Location: Mohonk Mountain Preserve (near New Paltz)
Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 291 feet
2. Bear Mountain and Perkins Fire Tower
No list of the best Hudson Valley hikes would ever be complete without mentioning at least one of the many trails that snake their way through the massive, 5,205-acre Bear Mountain State Park.
That’s because Bear Mountain State Park is uber-popular among tourists and locals alike with its nifty little lodge (aka The Bear Mountain Inn), a full-on carousel (with 42 hand-carved animals that are native to the area), an outdoor ice skating rink, swimming pools, and a zoo.
Heck, it’s even home to part of the Appalachian Trail if you want to try out a relatively low-key section of this famous hike.
However, if I could only tackle one of the best Hudson Valley trails here, I’d go with the hike to Perkins Fire Tower since the views and the hike itself are just straight-up awesome.
So, start off at the admin building and head over towards Hessian Lake. You’ll pass by the lodge here about 0.5-miles in, which is also when the trail will start to get significantly steeper.
Yes, the trail can get tough at times but it’s 100% worth the blood, sweat, and tears (jk) since this is definitely the most scenic trail in the entire park.
Plus, once you finally do make it to the top – after crossing Perkins Memorial Drive – your hard work will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Hudson River, Popolopen Torne, Sugarloaf, Taurus, and Storm King Mountains.
Just don’t forget to mosey on up to the top of the tower itself since the views are epic. Oh, and when you’re ready to head back down, just descend via the Appalachian to complete this 4-mile loop hike.
Pro Tip: Don’t want to hike to the top? Then drive up Perkins Memorial Drive any time between April and late November.
Location: Bear Mountain State Park
Distance: 4.0 miles
Elevation: 1,100 feet
3. Tivoli Bays Overlook Trail
This short, sweet, relatively easy hike is perfect for families with small children who want to enjoy a picturesque walk through the Hudson River Estuary.
Alternatively, this is also a great place to run since it’s flat and you can marvel at stunning scenery along the many paths here.
And, added bonus? There’s even an abandoned building on-site that you can use as the backdrop for an impromptu photo shoot before checking out some of the local bird species that nest along the river here.
So, if you want to visit for yourself, just turn down Kidd Lane and park in the Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management area on the left. It should be about 0.5-miles down the road.
Pro Tip: Be careful in the winter and after a rainstorm since this place can get super muddy.
Location: Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area (in Tivoli)
Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 219 feet
4. The Appalachian Trail
Wanna be one of the coolest, most badass hikers that anyone ever did see? If so then you should look into hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail.
After all, it’s only a 2,160-mile hike that will take you about 6 months to complete as you make your way from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Okay, yeah, it’s a pretty intense long-distance trek but luckily for you, a section of this behemoth trek actually runs through the Hudson Valley in New York.
In fact, if you choose to do Anthony’s Nose, then you’ve already hiked part of the 90-miles of Appalachian Trail that run through New York and that are located a mere 30 miles from NYC.
However, if you want to do the entire 90-mile trek, you’ll have to start near Port Jervis, go through Bear Mountain State Park, hit the Lemon Squeezer, go past the Trail Station, and then end up at the Great Swamp – a section that will lead through-hikers into Connecticut.
So, if you’re looking for even more of the best Hudson Valley hiking trails then give the Appalachian Trail a try.
Location: Hudson Valley but the Bear Mountain section is probably my personal fave.
Distance: 90 miles but I would pick a single section that you like.
Difficulty Level: Easy/Moderate
Route: Out and Back
5. Mills Mansion at Straatsburgh State Historic Site
If you’re a history lover of even the smallest measure, then be sure to check out some of the best Hudson Valley hikes within the Straatsburgh State Historic Site.
Because in addition to a wealth of amazing hiking opportunities, this historic area also features the former, Beaux-Arts style country home of Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills.
In fact, this lavish estate overlooks the Hudson River and was remodeled in the 1890s, during America’s famed Gilded Age.
In total, the home currently has 65 rooms and 14 bathrooms – all of which are outfitted with original pieces of art and furniture that were once used by the family.
So, book a tour of this opulent home or simply stroll through the elaborate grounds, with amenities like a gift shop, Atlantic Kayak Tour services, an environmental education center, a riverfront pavilion, picnic areas, and miles of awesome trails.
Pro Tip: The train tracks in this area actually go inland so hikers can get extremely close to the edge of the Hudson River. Winter is also a perfect time to visit and admire views of the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse and the Catskills.
Address: 75 Mills Mansion Drive, Road #1, Staatsburg, NY 12580
Hours: Tours of the mansion are available Thursday through Sunday during the summer season, with advance reservations required.
Price: Day use fees vary by season but are $8 for adults, $6 for students/seniors, and $10 for special tours. These day-use fees are then discounted by $2 per person during the off-season (September through October).
6. Overlook Mountain
Located just outside Woodstock, NY is another one of the best Hudson Valley hikes on this list. In fact, you’ll find the trailhead parking lot for this hike right across the street from the local monastery
So, hop on the trail and embark on a relatively easy, 2-mile hike up a gravel road to the summit of Overlook Mountain.
Along the way, you’ll also pass some pretty sweet highlights like the remnants of a former hotel and a fire tower that you can climb to the top of once at the summit.
Also, feel free to bring a picnic lunch from Bread Alone Bakery (they serve awesome food and baked goods) so that you can eat at one of the picnic tables on top of the mountain.
Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for a well-hidden plane crash in the area and try to do this hike between April and November.
Distance: 4.8 miles
Route: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 1,397 feet
7. Teatown Lake Three Lakes Loop
Definitely one of the best Hudson Valley hikes for families, the Three Laker Loop is a flat, easy-to-follow trail that will take you past all three lakes in the 1,000-acre, Teatown Preserve.
So, head to the visitor center and follow signs that will lead you to the orange “TL” trail markers. Using this trail, you’ll basically make a giant loop around the park as you walk past Vernay Lake, Shadow Lake, and then under some power lines.
Once you’ve been hiking for about an hour, you’ll come back around Teatown Lake and can then cross over Teatown Road. From here, make a right onto the Lakeside Loop Trail, which has blue trail markers that are labeled “LS”.
This path will then take you onto a boardwalk over the lake that will eventually lead you back to the parking lot.
And if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, you can always visit the on-site nature center or explore the 15+ miles of best Hudson Valley hiking trails here.
Pro Tip: Parking at Teatown costs $5 but it’s well worth it since this is a non-profit organization. Therefore, all the money they receive goes directly towards protecting the park.
Location: Teatown Lake Preserve (near Croton-on-Hudson)
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 469 feet
Best Hudson Valley Hikes – Moderate
8. Mount Beacon Fire Tower
If you’re an NYC day-tripper looking for the best Hudson Valley hikes of all time, then consider trekking up to the fire tower at the top of Mount Beacon.
Because not only is this a fun and challenging hike to the top of the tallest mountain in the Hudson Highlands, but it’s also one of the best things to do in Beacon NY that is located right near the train station.
So, you could easily catch a MetroNorth train here from Grand Central and then walk from Beacon station to the trailhead itself.
And once on one of the best Hudson Valley trails, make you away along the trail as it switches back and forth along the mountain, eventually passing old chairlifts from the long-abandoned Dutchess Ski Area here.
Eventually, you’ll hit the summit with an old powerhouse that was once used for the incline railway here.
However, to access the fire tower itself, take the red trail for another mile and then catch the white trail to the southern summit of the mountain.
You’ll know you’ve made it when you see the fire tower and can climb up for stellar views of Storm King Mountain, Breakneck Ridge, and Skytop Tower.
Pro Tip: If you love history, take a detour to the Daughters of the Revolutionary War Memorial. Then afterward, reward yourself with a delicious popsicle from Zora Dora’s ice cream shop.
Location: Mount Beacon Park (near Beacon)
Distance: 4.0 miles
Route: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 1,410 feet
9. Bull hill
I’m going to be frank with you. The Bull hill trek is long but oh so worth it. I’m always a fan of stopping mid trek to take in the views around. This trek takes it all up a level. Not only does it offer some great vantage points and spectacular views, it also has a mysterious ruin to explore! It is a great place for a stop midway and it just calls to the explorer in me each time.
Another reason why Bull hill is so popular is because while the trail may be slightly challenging, getting to the trail is a breeze! Once you get started, you will meander over rocks and thickets to catch your first glimpse of the New York Skyline. I’m not kidding! On a clear day, you can see that far! If the day is on the hazy side you won’t be disappointed either because you will get an amazing view of the Hudson river and the Storm King mountain.
Pro tip: If you are a photography fan, pack your camera. The area is teeming with wildlife and you can find a great spot to watch the birds that live in the area.
Location: Cold Spring
Distance: 5.4 miles
Route: Loop trail
Elevation gain: 1420 ft
10. Verkeerderkills Falls + Sam’s Point
Located in Minnewaska State Park, like a lot of the treks on this list of the best Hudson Valley hikes evr, this nifty little trail sits near New Paltz, New York.
You must also purchase a $ 10-day pass before hitting up the visitor’s center and beginning this hike. However, once you have your day pass in hand, choose between a 5.6-mile hike or an 8.6-mile hike that will also take you through Sam’s Point!
And, spoiler alert, opt for the second hike through Sam’s Point so that you can take in some of the best views in the Hudson Valley along the way.
However, both trails will, of course, take you past the impressive, 200-foot tall, Verkeerderkills Falls.
Oh and afterward, stick around for a bit and discover some of the area’s awesome ice caves and secret lakes too. Just know that the Ice Cave isn’t open throughout the winter like you might initially expect.
The hike to this super rad ice cave is also very much NOT easy and features, stairs, wooden bridges, and ladders that you’ll need to make your way across before seeing the largest exposed fault system in the USA.
Also, do try and stop by in the spring so that you can see other area highlights like High Point Monument and the Historic Berry Picker Shacks (from when people once picked blueberries here).
Pro Tip: The parking situation here is a nightmare. So, try to get here early on a weekday.
Location: Minnewaska State Park Preserve/New Paltz
Distance: Between 5.6 and 8.6 miles
Route: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 994 feet
11. High Falls
A fan of waterfalls? Well then this hike is definitely going to be something that will interest you. High falls is one of the best waterfall treks in the Hudson area and it allows you to get up and personal with the waterfall. Yup. This isn’t like all those other waterfall sightings where you can only view it from a distance.
Oh and did I mention that there are a series of different waterfalls that you will encounter on your way? The Towaliga river really comes down churning. In fact, it turns the water white with its current as it cascades down huge boulders and rocks.
This trek is particularly popular during warm weather because it is a lovely cool location to spend the day outdoors. I particularly love the symphony of sounds that the water produces. Especially if I’m hiking alone.
Pro tip: The high falls trek is gorgeous and the water is tempting. Please keep in mind that the rocks are slippery and the water moves quite rapidly. This combination makes for a lot of accidents. Stay safe and do not climb or jump into the water near the waterfall.
Location: Ulster county
Distance: 2.4 miles
Route: Out and back
Elevation gain: 324 feet
12. Gertrude’s Nose Trail
Looking for one of the best hikes in the Hudson Valley? If so then hit up this next-level awesome hike in Minnewaska State Park.
It starts at the Millbrook Mountain Trail, which is denoted by aqua-colored blazes near the Trapps Road Bridge. Once at the bridge, climb up a rock path and make your way along rock faces until you see a sign that tells you to stop and enjoy a view of Skytop Tower.
Keep going along one of the best Hudson Valley hikes for another 3.5 miles until you reach an intersection where you’ll follow a path to the top of Millbrook Mountain.
You’ll then follow the red-blazed Gertrude’s Nose Trail on a slow descent under some power lines until you can walk no further and have hit Gertrude’s Nose.
At this point, you’ll head back the way you came, turning right and following a gravel path at a junction with Millbrook Carriageway.
Continue for a mile back to Millbrook Mountain and follow the Millbrook Mountain Trail. You’ll then make a right at the next intersection into the Coxing Trail with its blue blazes and continue back the way you came.
Pro Tip: There is a $15 fee to use this trail but the machine takes cash, credit cards, or the Empire Pass. You also will want to get here early, bring plenty of water, be prepared for some rock scrambling, and wear waterproof shoes since creek crossings make this hike wet and muddy.
Location: Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Distance: 6.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,141 feet
13. Anthony’s Nose
Just across the river from Bear Mountain State Park is easily one of the best Hudson Valley hikes of them all.
Known locally as Anthony’s Nose, this stellar trek offers adventurous sweeping views of the Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson Highlands from the top.
And, added bonus? It makes for a killer day trip from NYC since all you have to do is enjoy an hour train ride from Grand Central to Peekskill station.
Once in Peekskill, just call yourself an Uber and take it to the trailhead, which sits just off Route 9D (Type “Anthony’s Nose” into Google and you should be able to find it).
And while it’s not the most intense of all the Hudson Valley hiking trails listed here, there is a challenging, 0.5-mile section that features a ton of elevation gain.
After that though, the remainder of the hike is fairly easy. Just do yourself a solid and get here early since this is one of the most popular hikes in the region.
Pro Tip: Because this hike has no designated parking lot, you’ll have to park your car on the side of the road. You could also hit up the Appalachian Trail while you’re here since one leads into the other.
Location: Garrison, Hudson Valley near the Bear Mountain Bridge
Distance: 1.9 miles
Route: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 675 feet
14. Labyrinth Trail + The Lemon Squeeze
Easily one of the shortest Hudson Valley hikes on this list at just about a mile long, this moderately difficult trek can be found near the ever-enchanting, Mohonk Mountain House.
So, after you make your way to the trailhead at Mohonk Preserve, walk your way through the Mohonk Mountain House grounds, up the Labyrinth rock scramble, and into a crevice that is affectionately known as the Lemon Squeeze.
And the result? Some of the best views in the Hudson Valley, particularly if you make it to the top of Sky Top Tower.
Therefore, even though this isn’t the easiest of Hudson Valley hiking trails on this list, it’s relatively short and packed with trail markers that will prevent you from getting lost.
There are also tons of wooden stairs and ladders along the way to help you get across an almost neverending sea of giant boulders.
Pro Tip: If visiting in spring, call 845-256-2197 to make sure the trail is open. This hike also costs $29 per adult and $24 per child (4-12 years old). However, you could save money by doing an 8 or 9-mile hike to Labyrinth from Mohonk Preserve (not worth it TBH).
Location: New Paltz
Distance: 1.0 miles
Route: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 291 feet
15. Storm King Mountain Trail
Known for its famous outdoor art center, Storm King Mountain is also home to one of the best hiking trails in the Hudson Valley.
So, if taking in stellar views of Breakneck Ridge sounds like your idea of a hopping good time, then access the trailhead from a small side street on Bayview Avenue.
From here, you’ll pass through multiple ledges and eventually make your way across both Butter Hill and Storm King Mountains.
The trail can be intense but it’s well-marked and easy to navigate so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Pro Tip: This is one of those best Hudson Valley hikes that is should be done in a counterclockwise direction if at all possible. And you should get here EARLY since this place is super famous. #justsayin’
Distance: 4. 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Best Hudson Valley Hikes – Difficult
16. Stissing Mountain Trail
Don’t low let the relatively low mileage on this Hudson Valley hike give you a false sense of confidence because this trail is definitely a challenge.
However, luckily for you, there are actually two different paths up this amazing mountain. So, depending on how much of a challenge you want, you can take the intense, short, steep way up (aka the Orange Trail) or the more gradual, longer path to the top (the Blue Trail).
All in all, though, it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to get to the top via the Orange Trail, which is well-marked and steep but not technically challenging.
And once there, definitely ascend the fire tower on the summit for stellar views of the Hudson Valley. Then on the way back, just use the longer, infinitely less steep Blue Trail to go back down the mountain.
Pro Tip: This is one of the best Hudson Valley hikes that should be done between April and October.
Location: Thompson Pond Preserve (near Pine Plains)
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 905 feet
17. Peekamoose and Table Mountain
Ready to feel the burn? If so then tackle this challenging hike 3,840 feet in the air to the summit of Peekasmoose and Table Mountains.
You’ll start out on a flat carriage road that takes you through a gorgeous forest area for about a mile. At this point, you’ll come to an intersection with the Crustis-Ormsbee Trail to Slide Mountain.
Turn right onto the trail for Table/Peekamoose Mountain which will take you down a hill to the Neversink River. You’ll then cross over two bridges and start the arduous ascent up Table Mountain.
Eventually, you’ll see Uncle Frank’s Lean-to and can admire a view of the flat, Table Mountain summit from here. Continue to the top of the mountain and then on your way back down, hop on the col between the two mountains.
After you’re on the col, it’s a quick hike up Peekamoose Mountain and to the giant rock at the summit. Plus, if you go about 50 feet past/to the left of the rock, you’ll find a short little trail that will bring you to a second, slightly more secret viewpoint.
Pro Tip: Spend the night and camp near the trailhead at Denning Road. This is also one of the best Hudson Valley hikes that is only about 50 miles away from Kingston. This trail should also NOT be used after a heavy rainstorm since the area is prone to flooding.
Location: Slide Mountain Wilderness (near Claryville)
Distance: 9.5 miles
Route: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 2,539 feet
18. South Brace Mountain and Alander Mountain via Robert Brook and South Taconic Trail
At 14,400 acres, Taconic State Park is home to the largest remaining tract of contiguous forest on the East Coast, between Maine and Virginia.
Because of this, there are a number of unique trails here that anyone looking for the best Hudson Valley hikes should NOT miss.
And one of those treks is the challenging loop hike to the summit of Brace and Alander Mountain, via the Robert Brook and South Taconic Trail.
So, start at the small parking lot on Quarry Hill Road and look for the Quarry Hill Trailhead with its distinct, yellow blazes.
As you continue on one of the best Hudson Valley hiking trails, you’ll pass through a stone wall and see a large brick house before you hit a creek about 0.5 miles in.
Stay to the left of the creek and continue up the steep (about 35% slope) incline as you pass a number of stunning waterfalls. Keep going and prepare for a super steep climb – to the point where you may need to get on all fours – until you eventually hit an opening in the trees.
Once here, the trail will hit the South Taconic Trail and you’ll want to keep left as you hike through the forest and the final, gradual climb to the top of South Brace Mountain.
This is a great spot for a snack so that you can take in the views of Regal Lake and South Pond before continuing on to Brace Mountain.
At this point, the trail will drop and then get slightly higher over the next 0.5-mile before you reach the Brace Mountain summit, a large open area with an American flag.
Because this is the tallest mountain in Dutchess County, be sure to marvel at stunning panoramas of Mount Greylock, the Helderberg Escarpment, the Catskill Mountains, Bear Mountain, Housatonic State Forest, and the Hudson Highlands.
And when you’re ready, you can either turn back on continue hiking on the South Taconic Trail to the top of Alander Mountain. Just follow the what blazes and do a loopback on the very same trail, making sure to be extra careful on the steep rock faces that you’ll find along your descent on Quarry Hill Trail.
Pro Tip: Watch out for rattlesnakes when doing one of the best hikes in the Hudson Valley since they can often be seen sunning themselves on rocks here throughout the summer.
Location: Taconic State Park (near Copake)
Distance: 9.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,388 feet
19. Breakneck Ridge
The name of this hike alone kind insinuates that this is one of the best hikes in the Hudson Valley that will be challenging to the extreme.
But, if you’re an experienced hiker who is dry tripping from good old NYC, then catch a Hudson-line train at Grand Central and take that all the way to the Cold Spring.
In total, the train ride should take you about an hour and a half and, upon arrival, grab yourself an Uber to the trailhead, where the REAL fun begins.
Once at the trail, begin your hike at the southern Breakneck Trailhead. Be sure to move in a counterclockwise direction to help make the hike a little easier.
Don’t worry, just because it’s easier doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to admire sweeping panoramas of Storm King Mountain, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, and Bannerman’s Castle. Because guess what? You will be able to see all this and more.
It’s also worth noting that you should 110% come with the right equipment since the wealth of rocky terrain here make you feel more like you’re rocking climbing than hiking.
So, brace yourself because you WILL have to scramble up near-vertical rockfaces. However, your hard work will be rewarded with some of the best views in the Hudson Valley, so it’s all worth it in the end.
Pro Tip: If you’re very much a non-pro hiker and still want to do the best hiking trails in the Hudson Valley the use a bypass trail to avoid the super challenging parts of this hike. Also, don’t forget to climb the fire tower at the top and enjoy the views.
Location: Cold Spring
Distance: Between 2.5 and 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet
Map of Best Hudson Valley Hikes
Additional New York Travel Resources You’ll Love
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- Best Hikes in New York State
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Friday 5th of November 2021
Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.
Sunday 7th of November 2021
Thanks for taking the time to read and glad you enjoyed it.