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3 Mini Mountain Ranges to Explore in the Hudson Valley

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Want to explore more of the great outdoors in the Hudson Valley? These mini mountain ranges are a great place to start.

By Jillian Phipps, with additional reporting by Matt Moment

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.

Taconic Mountains

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 (3,855 feet). Brace Mountain is the highest point in Dutchess County, with an elevation of 2,311 feet.

 

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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 Copake Iron Works Museum, which chronicles the iron-mining industry, which was active in the area until 1903.

Fascinating fact: The Taconic mountain range has been exploited for various natural resources including marble, limestone, slate, iron, timber, and charcoal.

Marlboro Mountains

Location: The ridge extends 25 miles from Newburgh to just south of Kingston.

Highest point: Illinois Mountain (1,125 feet).

 

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Did you know? The name for this mountain range honors the Duke of Marlborough, also known as John Churchill. He was an English soldier and politician whose career spanned the tenure of five monarchs.

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.

Ramapo Mountains

Location: Southeastern Rockland County and Northeastern New Jersey

Elevation: 900 to 1,400 feet

Did you know? The Ramapo mountain range envelops 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.

Related: 6 Ways Walking in the Hudson Valley Will Ease Your Mind

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