These Are the Top-Rated Hikes in the Hudson Valley

In a region with countless hiking trails and panoramic views, we’ve rounded up the top 10 hikes ahead of spring, according to AllTrails users.

It’s that time of year again when the ground is squishy, the trails are muddy, and everyone is eager to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. While the Hudson Valley boasts plenty of hikes with mountainous terrain, challenging routes, and breathtaking views, only a select few can make the top 10 list for the area, according to AllTrails users. From high altitudes to rock scrambles to leisurely strolls, these hikes in the Hudson Valley are not to be missed when spring rolls around.

10. Hudson Valley Rail Trail

New Paltz
Difficulty: Easy

 

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This 17-mile out-and-back trail near New Paltz is an easy stroll with a lot to see along the way. Popular for road biking, running, and walking, this route is one on which you’ll likely encounter other Hudson Valleyites out on the path while you’re enjoying the fresh air. If you have about five hours to spare, travel the full length of the trail, or just stop by to complete a segment of the long and flat route. If you travel far enough, you might even come across the Springtown Truss Bridge that was featured in A Quiet Place.

9. Sam’s Point Overlook to Ice Cave Trail

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson
Difficulty: Moderate

A 3.3-mile out-and-back trail near Ellenville, this hike is a moderately challenging route that only takes about an hour and a half to complete. Save this adventure for later in the spring because the ice caves trail is closed for safety reasons until April. Once you make it to the ice caves, a series of rock steps and ladders guides your exploration of the narrow rock corridors.

8. The Labyrinth and Skytop Road Loop

Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner
Difficulty: Moderate

 

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One of many top-rated trails at Mohonk Preserve, there is a fee per person to hike any trail at the preserve. This five-mile loop generally takes an average of two hours to finish and yields the best views in the fall but is a moderately challenging trail to explore in any season. Along the way, pass by Lake Mohonk before following the Labyrinth Trail up to Albert K. Smiley Memorial Tower. Named after its narrow, rocky corridors and scramble segments, the Labyrinth is a fun challenge that kids will especially love.

7. Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail

Slide Mountain Wilderness, Phoenicia
Difficulty: Hard

Near Big Indian, this hike is a 6.3-mile out-and-back in an area that’s popular for camping, hiking, and snowshoeing. The first half of the trail is rocky and steep with some challenging inclines, but the top of Panther Mountain boasts pine-scented air and views of the Catskills from multiple ledges that are great for first-time visitors to the region.

6. Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks Loop

Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner
Difficulty: Moderate

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Popular for hiking and running, this 5.1-mile loop is one on which you’ll likely see many people and dogs from March to November. With an optional scramble to get to the top, the Shawangunk Ridge, Wallkill Valley, and the Catskills are all visible from atop the white cliffs of Bonticou. Visit in the late spring and early summer to see mountain laurel blooming alongside the trail.

5. Storm King Mountain

Storm King State Park, Cornwall-on-Hudson
Difficulty: Moderate

This 2.3-mile loop trail can be done in both directions, although it is recommended to go clockwise because the rock scrambles are easier to go up than down. Dogs are welcome on the trail, but some sections of the hike may be difficult for a four-legged friend. Make sure to wear proper footwear and follow the map because some trails are not clearly marked at all junctions.

4. Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road Loop

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson
Difficulty: Easy

A quick loop that’s less than two miles, the Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road Loop is a very popular area for all kinds of recreational activities, from birding to hiking to cross-country skiing. The easy route has wide trails and scenic views from every angle along the way. To access the preserve, a fee or the Empire Pass card is required.

3. Kaaterskill Falls from Laurel House Road

Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Saugerties
Difficulty: Moderate

Short but challenging, the Kaaterskill Falls trail is only 1.6 miles of moderate hiking near Haines Falls. The trail provides access to a viewing platform and also leads to the base of a two-stage waterfall that’s about 260 feet tall. In the winter months, the trails tend to be muddy and icy, so be sure to watch your step and use the appropriate gear to complete the hike safely.

2. Lemon Squeeze and Eagle Cliff

Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner
Difficulty: Hard

If you’re looking for a challenging rock scramble that leads to awe-inspiring views of the Valley, the Mohonk Preserve has the hike for you. Lemon Squeeze is a seven-mile loop trail that is recommended for advanced and experienced hikers. Along the adventure, you will pass Duck Pond, the Albert K. Smiley Memorial Tower, Lake Mohonk, and Artist’s Rock before squishing through the lemon squeeze to get to the top of the cliff line.

1. Breakneck Ridge

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve, Cold Spring
Difficulty: Hard

 

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In the number one spot, Breakneck Ridge takes the cake for the top-rated hike in the Hudson Valley. Located in Putnam County, the challenging route will have you using all fours at multiple spots along its 3.2-mile loop. The short and hard hike includes some rock scrambles and steep climbs over ledges that can be more difficult when the trail is icy but features fantastic views the whole way up. Though allowed, this trail is not recommended for pets due to its difficulty.

Related: 6 Hudson Valley Hikes With Rock Scrambling

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