Length: 1- or 2-mile loop • Elevation: Negligible • Highlight: Discovering nature with your little ones
This flat-as-a-pancake trail winds through a wide variety of different terrain, making it the ideal spot to take the tykes. From the parking area, follow the two-mile outer loop to the right; watch for a short, unmarked trail on the left, which leads to a hidden pond. A beaver lodge is clearly visible on the opposite shore, and blue heron occasionally can be seen on the water or gracefully winging by overhead. Continue along the main trail through wetlands (listen for the croaking frogs), stands of towering hardwoods (can you spot a bird’s nest?), and an open meadow with grass as high as an elephant’s eye (or an eight-year-old’s nose, anyway). With downed trees to climb over (and under), rocks and bugs to examine, and wildflowers to sniff, there is more than enough to keep your young naturalist happy for the whole trek. The trail’s central location — just minutes from Route 9, I84, and other major roadways — will have mom and dad smiling, too.
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Anthony’s Nose This 4-mile round-trip takes you on the Appalachian Trail to the top of the well-known peak, which overlooks Bear Mountain. During the Revolution it was the site of the famous chains across the Hudson.
Constitution Marsh Sanctuary Jim’s Walk, a series of 700-foot-long wooden platforms set in a mazelike formation inside Constitution Marsh Sanctuary, lets kids stay busy observing the abundant amount of wildlife.
Indian Ladder Trail This 3.5-mile, child-friendly trail in John Boyd Thacher State Park takes you past two waterfalls, an underground stream, and caves that contain fossils.
Twin Mountain Older kids will enjoy the sites along this strenuous route, which features a rock-ledge cave and oversized “chairs” made of bluestone near Dibble’s Quarry.