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Scenic Hikes Off The Hudson Valley Train

by | Jun 30, 2022

Just a few miles north of Manhattan lies the serene and bucolic Hudson Valley. Tucked beside the sparkling Hudson River and composed of several historic small towns filled with farm-to-table eateries, high-end art, local shopping, and plenty of charm, the Hudson Valley makes for a vibrant and relaxing weekend escape. It is also home to countless hiking trails, ranging from extreme rock scrambles to woodsy walks with waterfall views. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, look no further than the Hudson Valley’s grassy nooks and mountainous peaks that challenge even the more seasoned hiker. Keep reading to learn more about the best hiking trails in the Hudson Valley. 

Best Hudson Valley Hikes 

Cold Spring | Bull Hill 

cold spring view

Equipped with babbling brooks, an abandoned quarry, and mysterious ruins, this hike has it all. Easily walkable from the Cold Spring station on the Hudson Valley train line, the Bull Hill trail is a 4.3-mile loop with an elevation gain of over 1,100 feet. Its proximity to the town of Cold Spring and also Manhattan makes it a popular trail for city and country-dwellers alike. While the trail gets fairly steep at times, it never amounts to a rock scramble (meaning you don’t have to use both your hands and feet at the same time to climb) making it a challenging trail, but not insurmountable. Plus, the views of the Hudson River and its mountainous surroundings at the top of the peak are well worth it. For those looking for a slightly longer hike, you can extend the loop by one mile. Don’t forget to leave some time post-hike to explore the charming town of Cold Spring and treat yourself to an ice cream cone and a cold beer. After all that hiking, you’ve earned it!

Train: 1 hour, 30 minutes from Grand Central Station; the trailhead is walkable from the station 

Difficulty: Moderate 

 

Peekskill | Bear Mountain Loop Trail 

Bear mountain bridge

Just off the Peekskill train stop (~10 min car ride), you’ll find Bear Mountain State Park, an area filled with scenic trails, a lively forest, and sweeping views. Within the many trails on the mountain, Bear Mountain Loop Trail is a fan favorite. The challenging 3.8-mile loop has an elevation gain of 1,150 feet and offers a mix of steep rock scrambles, stone steps, and amazing lookouts. This park is a popular destination for Manhattaners looking to get away from the city, and thus you’re nearly guaranteed to run into other friendly hikers and runners along the way. For those looking to recharge post-hike, Peekskill Brewery and Birdsall House both have patios that serve delicious beers and comfort food.  

Train: 1 hour, 15 minutes from Grand Central Station; the trailhead is a 10 minute taxi ride from the train  

Difficulty: Moderate 

 

Cornwall-on-Hudson | Storm King Mountain Loop Trail  

A mere 10-minute drive from Storm King Art Center – the famous open-air museum featuring larger-than-life sculptures and contemporary art exhibits across 500+ acres of grassy fields – lies Storm King Mountain, an area filled with sweeping vistas and scenic lookouts. The Storm King Mountain Loop Trail is a 2.4-mile hike with an elevation of 650 feet. The well-marked hike begins with a fairly steep rock scramble before transitioning into a level, easily walkable path. If you start your day early enough or decide to stay overnight, a visit to Storm King Art Center is well worth it (after all, there’s a reason it made our list for the best day trips from NYC)! 

Train: 1 hour, 10 minutes from Port Authority Bus Terminal; the trailhead is a 10 minute taxi ride from the bus stop 

Difficulty: Easy-to-moderate 

 

Philipstown | Breakneck Ridge 

breakneck ridge

Attention: serious hikers only. Wearing the crown as one of New York’s most infamous hikes, Breakneck Ridge is a 1,440-foot high rock scramble located just 2 miles north of Cold Spring. With options for longer and shorter loops, the long trail is roughly 4 miles long, and the shorter loop clocks in at 1.5 miles, and offers a more gentle descent. Although equipped with similar views to Cold Spring’s Bull Hill, the terrain of Breakneck Ridge is far steeper and more rugged, with many parts requiring rock-climbing skills. The hike is a popular one for good reason; the Hudson Valley views are stunning, the terrain keeps you on your toes, and if you are hiking on a weekend, the Metro-North train from Grand Central will drop you off right at the trailhead. If you’re doing the hike on a weekday, the closest stop is Cold Spring, roughly 2 miles south. 

Train: 1 hour, 40 minutes from Grand Central Station; the trailhead is walkable from the train (depending on the train schedule) 

Difficulty: Hard 

 

New Paltz | The Labyrinth & Lemon Squeeze 

Located steps away from the luxury victorian castle resort Mohonk Mountain House lies a challenging 7-mile loop trail with an elevation of 1,410 feet. The Lemon Squeeze is more than a fun name, it describes the tight crevice and rock formations that hikers must literally climb and squeeze through to ascend. The tall wooden ladders and large stone crevices throughout the hike make for an unforgettable adrenaline-filled experience. The panoramic views of Mohonk Mountain House, the lake, and Sky Top Tower also make it far worth it. Although hikers must pay an advanced fee in order to hike, this helps to reduce trail traffic and congestion, making the hike more enjoyable for all. While dogs make great hiking partners, this hike (which features several ladders) is not for them. Accessing this trail via public transport is more difficult, thus it’s recommended to drive from NYC. 

Train: 2+ hours from Grand Central Station; 15-minute taxi ride from the train station 

Difficulty: Hard 

 

Croton Harmon | Old Croton Aqueduct Trail 

Croton Dam

This easy, well-marked, out-and-back trail offers epic views of the powerful and massive New Croton Dam. Stretching across the Croton River, the Croton Dam stands over 200 feet high and helps supply NYC with water. Given the ease of terrain, the trail – which stretches as long as 46 miles – is popular for hikers, trail runners, and cyclists alike. While the whole trail is beautiful, it’s best to start at the north end of the trail, where the Croton River begins, to see the dam; its sheer power and size make it well worth the visit. The adjacent 97-acre park is a popular spot for fishing, picnicking, and hiking. The trailhead is accessible via car and is under a 10-minute taxi ride from the Croton Harmon train station.   

Train: 1 hour 20 minutes from Grand Central Station; the trailhead is a 10 minute taxi ride from the bus stop 

Difficulty: Easy 

 

Manitou | Anthony’s Nose

This steep, short climb up a rock staircase is actually part of the Appalachian Trail. Just a 10 min drive from the Manitou train station, lies the Appalachian Trail kiosk which signals the start of the trailhead. While the first 30 minutes of the trail is a sharp ascent, the remainder of the trail levels off into a scenic, relaxed, woodsy stroll. The trail is an out-and-back, roughly 2 miles long and 657 feet tall – most of which is climbed in the first half-mile. While the hike is a popular one, there’s always plenty of solitude to be found among the many beautiful panoramic lookout points overlooking the Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River. 

Train: 1 hour, 20 minutes from Grand Central Station; the trailhead is a 10 minute taxi ride from the bus stop  

Difficulty: Easy-to-moderate 

 

These beautiful, easily accessible Hudson Valley hikes make it easy to get outside and enjoy nature. Whether you are day-tripping or staying for the weekend, the Hudson Valley is filled with beauty and charm and is one of the many reasons why we love living in NYC. Click here to search properties for sale in the Hudson Valley and click here to search properties for rent.

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