Ready to hike these trails during the spring season? Photo by Darren Mcgee, NYSDED/ I Love NY
Three treks—from strenuous to simple—with sweeping mountain, river, and waterfall views to sample in the Hudson Valley this spring.
Sam’s Point and Verkeerderkill Falls
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Length: 8.3 miles
Route Type: Loop
This hike begins on the western tail of the Shawangunks with a steady incline toward Sam’s Point—the views of the jutted rock formations and rolling hills of Orange County are breathtaking. Then you’ll head northeast for three miles toward the spectacular Verkeerderkill waterfall. On the way back, venture down to the Ice Caves (reopening mid-spring) for a bit of exploring, they are very cool! Parking ($10, or free with an Empire Pass—details on following page) is at the base of Sam’s Point; reservations required on weekends.
Little Stony Point
Hudson Highlands State Park
Length: .9 miles
Route Type: Loop
Perfect for families and four-legged friends, this is a breezy walk along the eastern bank of the Hudson. Views of Storm King Mountain and the Hudson Highlands will greet you at the peak. Parking is free at the lot on Route 9D.
Perkins Memorial Tower
Bear Mountain State Park
Length: 3.4 miles
Route Type: Out and Back
Consider this trail your outdoor Peloton. Stone steps wind up the side of Bear Mountain—with an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet—offering spectacular views of the river valley. There’s a free lot at Bear Mountain Inn; $10 parking fees begin in June. Or use an Empire Pass ($80/annual; parks.ny.gov/admission/empire-passport), a membership that allows unlimited vehicle entry to most New York State parks.
Did You Know?
Travel + Leisure recently named the Empire State Trail one of the 15 best rail trails in the country. Over a quarter of the 750-mile expanse (the longest multi-use state trail in the country) belongs to the Hudson Valley Greenway Trail, which connects NYC to the Capital Region, passing through towns like Elmsford, Brewster, Pawling, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Kingston, Tivoli, Hudson, and Albany. To plan your next hiking or biking trip, check out empiretrail.ny.gov. – Emma Lawrence