So you’ve spent vacations in the Catskills and climbed your way through the Gunks (well, at least you’ve talked about doing that). But chances are that you’ve also driven, walked, or hiked (the Appalachian Trail runs through the first two ranges below) through some of these mini mountain ranges without even knowing it.
Location: These mountains run along our eastern border, beginning in northeast Dutchess County. They also spill over into Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Highest point: Vermont’s Equinox Mountain (3,840 feet). Brace Mountain is the highest point in Dutchess County, with an elevation of 2,311 feet.
Did you know? Located along 16 miles of the range, Taconic State Park is one of the oldest state parks in the region. It features everything from camping at Copake Falls to swimming at Rudd Pond. Don’t miss the newly expanded Copake Iron Works Museum, which chronicles the iron-mining industry, which was active in the area until 1903.
Location: The ridge extends 25 miles from Newburgh to just south of Kingston.
Highest point: Illinois Mountain (1,127 feet).
Did you know? This year, Scenic Hudson protected 52 scenic and ecologically important acres adjacent to the Illinois Mountain preserve. The new acquisition increases the size of this popular hiking and mountain-biking destination to 332 acres.
Fascinating fact: In the 1870s, Kingston chemist and physician Edgar Eltinge claimed he found gold at Hussey Hill, the northernmost mountain in the chain. He later founded Hudson River Gold & Silver Mining Company, which sparked gold fever on the Hill, although no sizeable amounts of the medal were ever found.
Location: Southeastern Rockland County and Northeastern New Jersey
Elevation: 900-1,200 feet
Did you know? The Ramapos encompass a slew of the Valley’s best parks and forests, including parts of Harriman State Park.
Fascinating fact: The Ramapo Mountain Indians have lived in these mountains for more than 300 years. While they gained recognition by New Jersey in 1980 as the Ramapough Lunaape Nation, they have not yet gained federal recognition. For decades, these people, once nicknamed “the Jackson Whites,” have been the subject of tall tales, rumors, and outright derision. Even publications like The New Yorker and the New York Post have reported on this historically isolated mountain community. The filmmakers behind the 2013 thriller Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale, even came under fire for allegedly negatively portraying the Lunaape people in the film.
Illustration by Arlene So