Length: 347 miles • Elevation: Approximately 4,200 feet (atop Slide Mountain) • Highlight: Leaving the big, bad city (way) behind
The aptly named Long Path starts at the base of the George Washington Bridge in Ft. Lee, New Jersey, and (currently) ends at John Boyd Thacher State Park outside of Albany. (Plans are in the works to extend it all the way to the Adirondacks.) The trail was originally conceived as an unmarked route through New York State that would link various landmarks; it was officially blazed by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference in the 1960s.
Portions of the Long Path can be found in just about all of the western Valley’s state parks and preserves, including Harriman, Highland Lakes, Minnewaska, and the Catskill Park (in which it meanders for 95 miles). Along the way, the trail climbs up and over a laundry list of the area’s tallest outposts, such as Hook Mountain, High Tor, the Shawangunk Ridge, and nine of the Catskill high peaks (including Slide Mountain, the highest of all). Interspersed with these breath-stealing ascents are easy walks, some of which — unlike most trails — follow roads that pass through small towns and villages, offering long-distance hikers great views as well as a taste of small-town Valley life.