Distance: 2 miles
Description: These winding trails are part of Scenic Hudson’s attempt to preserve fallow farmland as heritage grassland, meaning it is a field-birder’s delight. Great views of the river, a sometimes-muddy ravine, and a gorgeous, found-wood gazebo are some of the many highlights of this dog walkers favorite.
Fahnestock State Park
Distance: 12.5 miles of trails
Description: This sprawling state park weaves between lakes and forests, with mostly easy, rolling trails connecting up to many roads, parking places, and a lifeguarded beach in summer months. Visitors can even hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail as it passes through the Hudson Valley. It’s perfect for families.
Beacon Hill and Lake Minnewaska
Distance: 3 miles
Description: Starting at the Lake Minnewaska parking area, this trail leads along carriage roads to a series of rock ledges affording incredible views to the north and east. It circles back around Minnewaska, a slot lake set below incredible white cliffs at the center of the Shawangunks. Accessible from Minnewaska State Preserve.
Distance: 2 miles
Description: Following the red and yellow blazes, walkers pass through fields of mountain laurel, dense forests, and the remains of an old ski area. Be prepared for a variety of terrain; old carriage roads, streams, and slopes are all in the bargain. It’s important to keep track of the trails, too. All the turns make it possible to get lost, though a good map and a sharp eye will make it easy enough to navigate back to the beginning. Accessible from Minnewaska State Preserve
High Falls Conservation Area
Distance: 1.5 miles
Description: The tallest waterfall in Columbia County drops 150 feet into a pool at the center of this 47-acre conservation area. The trails here weave in and out of one another, with bridges, dells, and trees guiding walkers to the falls. It’s ideal for kids.
Check websites for updates on trail closings, adhere to social distancing recommendations of staying 6 feet from others, and consider an alternative trail (or go home) if the parking lot is full or the trails are crowded. To see virtual tours of NYS Parks go to: www.nystateparkstours.com.