6 Hudson Valley Hikes With Rock Scrambling

Whether you’re a pro climber or just an avid hiker, these scrambling trails offer something for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.

Into advanced hiking but not quite ready for rock climbing? These scrambling trails in the Hudson Valley are just challenging enough and deliver a strong adrenaline kick. Ranging from one to seven miles, these relatively short hikes are steep enough to get you out of breath, and the views at the top are usually pretty impressive. Scrambling is a cross between hiking and climbing that requires some balance, some grip, and the use of all four limbs – which is why it’s not only fun, but also doubles as a full-body workout. So, grab your water bottle and shoes with good traction and be prepared to get a few scrapes on your fingertips when you head out to take on these trails.

Anthony’s Nose

Garrison
Difficulty: 6/10
Distance: 2.6 miles

 

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For a stunning view that overlooks the Bear Mountain Bridge, Anthony’s Nose is the right pick. This trail is pretty easy compared to other scrambling hikes and on the shorter side with less than three miles of distance. The first half mile of the hike is the steepest part that requires some hand and foot coordination, but it’s smooth sailing after that. A clearing at the top provides a rocky foundation for a picnic, a break, or just to take some panoramic photos of the view.

Bonticou Crag

High Falls
Difficulty: 8/10
Distance: 6 miles

 

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If you’re into climbing, Bonticou Crag is the next best thing. This extremely steep trail is not only long but also requires a healthy amount of skill to scale big boulders and wedge into tight corners. You might want to skip out on taking the dog and the kids, unless you’re planning on circumventing the rock scrambling portion of the trail and taking the back way around to the top. Once atop the apex, plenty of flat rocks stretch across the mountain for a variety of sight-seeing positions.

Breakneck Ridge

Cold Spring
Difficulty: 9/10
Distance: 1.5 miles

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One of the most popular hikes in the Hudson Valley, Breakneck Ridge is well regarded for its challenging yet rewarding hike. Right on the east bank of the Hudson River in Cold Spring, you can park on the side of NY-9D to access this trail – although make sure to get there early in the day, because it gets crowded fast. The path to the top definitely requires some scrambling as it is almost vertical and riddled with rocks big and small. A few breaks along the way provide much-needed rest from being on your hands and feet, as well as much needed-views before the real deal at the top, which is marked by a flagpole.

Millbrook Ridge Trail

Gardiner
Difficulty: 9/10
Distance: 7.6 miles

 

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Millbrook Ridge Trail is on the longer side, with some steep sections that will definitely challenge hikers. The hike is generally just a strenuous stroll with some awesome views of the area, including Mohonk Preserve. While it’s not straight uphill the whole way, you’ll want to be careful with your footing on the top of the ridge. Along the way, watch out for the rock climbers who are often scaling up the sheet of rock wall next to the trail.

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Mohonk Mountain House: Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze

New Paltz
Difficulty: 9/10
Distance: 5.5 miles

 

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You’ll want to head to this hike before the end of fall because it’s often closed when the weather conditions worsen, and be warned that this hike will cost a pretty penny ($35 to be exact). However, there’s a reason hikers regard the trail as one of the most memorable outdoor experiences in the Hudson Valley. Multiple wooden ladders and markers line the path to guide hikers through the lemon squeeze crevice, which is rightfully named because you really do have to squeeze through it. Crowded days create a bottleneck effect at the last squeeze before the top, so take your time, find your footing, and enjoy the view once you’ve conquered the labyrinth.

Popolopen Torne

Fort Montgomery
Difficulty: 8/10
Distance: 4.7 miles

Although Popolopen Torne has very few steep sections, the few it has are very steep. Just next to the Bear Mountain Bridge, you can find this hidden gem’s trailhead near the Fort Montgomery State Histroic Site parking lot. Rock scrambling in the torne is no easy feat, and you will want to come into this hike with some skill before maneuvering up the mountain. Views from the top will put you in eyeshot of both the Bear Mountain Bridge and the Popolopen Creek Footbridge.

*Please note portions of this area are closed due to storm damage. Call ahead to confirm conditions.

Related: 5 Hudson Valley Hiking Trails Filled With History and Ruins

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