In times of COVID-19, don't you just want to escape your 500 square foot studio apartment, and venture into the great outdoors? A quick bask in the beauty of the Hudson Valley is good for the soul, even if you love the hustle and bustle of New York City. Whether you're an experienced hiker or seeking a kid-friendly hike, there's something for you! All of these hikes are within a couple of hour's drive of New York City. So convert your Blundstone's into hiking boots, get out your map, fill up your hydro flask, and get outdoors to hike!
A Word About Hiking During Covid
First things first, let's talk Covid-19 safety. If you aren't going to keep yourself and others safe by practicing necessary Covid-19 precautions then we respectfully ask you stay home.
You all know the drill here. Wear a mask (that includes your kids). Stay at least 6 feet from other people (that also includes your kids). Step to the side when people pass. Touch as few things as possible and if you must touch something, use hand sanitizer before and after. Don't use benches or picnic tables. If someone isn't being safe, let the park authorities know.
Pack water and food to avoid putting extra risk on local stores. Don't use public transport, as this is a non-essential activity. Don't share a car with people you don't live with. Lastly, be sure you're not overcrowding a park. The below parks are indeed some of the more frequented ones outside of New York City, so either visit them at off-peak hours such as the break of dawn or switch to other trails. Be flexible. If you arrive somewhere and it's too busy, have second or third choices prepared.
Please also note that as of the publishing date of this article, many of these hikes are still closed (for good reason due to crowds), so please ensure they're back open before trying to visit.
Hike Storm King Mountain
If you want a quick climb that offers some steep terrain with some of the best views of the Hudson Valley, without paying the price for a helicopter, Storm King is the mountain for you. Located near Cornwall, New York, Storm King Trail is a 2.6-mile loop that will take visitors approximately 2.5 hours to complete. At the main overlook of Storm King (there are several of them!), hikers can get a beautiful view to the north and on clear days can even spot the Catskill Mountains. We recommend waking up early to catch the sunrise over the Hudson River and hang out on the big boulder at the top for a hearty breakfast!
Hike Breakneck Ridge
Probably the most popular hike in the Hudson Valley, Breakneck Ridge is a great place to take in some of the best views in the Hudson Valley from the east side of the river. For those of you who do not own a car, Breakneck is easily accessible from the Cold Spring MetroNorth stop! This hike will take 4 hours to complete the whole loop, along with some difficult steep rock climbing that must be done to get to the top. Once you reach the top, take some time to enjoy the view, but don't be fooled, there are three more bluffs to master! When it's all done, we suggest walking into Cold Spring, a charming towns with loads of great food and drink.
Hike Mount Beacon
Mount Beacon is located in the quaint, small town of Beacon, New York. Only a 1:30-hour train ride from New York City, once hikers get off the train at Beacon, they will be greeted with boutiques, cafes, and a variety of shops on its humble main street. If it's not for its modern and contemporary art museum, DIA Beacon, that will make you visit this town, it will be Mount Beacon that features a 5.9-mile loop, along with a waterfall, and a newly renovated fire tower on the top of the mountain that offers even more stunning views of the Hudson Valley!
If you have never been to Beacon, we suggest taking the long 2-mile walk through downtown Beacon to get to the mountain! While walking through the town, you may even just text your significant other about moving to Beacon and starting your own micro-farm. This walk will even help you out on where to eat dinner when you're done, though I would suggest Two Way Brewery or Hudson Valley Brewery for a nice brew and food!
Hike Overlook Mountain
A day spent in this unique pocket of New York is a day you won't soon forget! Located near the site of the 1969 music festival, Overlook Mountain is in the hippy-dippy town of Woodstock, New York. With a fire tower and a lookout over the Catskill Mountains, this trail also features hotel ruins! Before or after hitting the trail, take a couple of minutes to walk across the street from the trailhead to visit the Buddhist temple that will make visitors feel as though they have teleported to the Tibetan mountainside!
With the combination of a hike up Overlook Mountain with a visit to a Buddhist temple and a meal at one of Woodstock's many fine, unique eateries, you will look back on this day fondly.
Hike Bear Mountain
With one of the widest panoramic views in the Hudson Valley, Bear Mountain offers a quintessential hike that will leave visitors wishing that they had brought their camping gear to its grounds! With a 4.5 mile loop, this hike will take 3.5 hours to complete, along with fun rock-clambering, magnificent views, and some of the most well-done trail work that makes this hike accessible for hikers of all levels. Another great hike just across the bridge is Anothony's Nose, where you'll be viewing Bear Mountain from the other side.
Cool Down at Fawn's Leap
Located in the Catskills, Fawn's Leap is a 24-foot waterfall that will leave visitors refreshed and reborn by the cold water that streams through its bends. Hidden in the Catskills, this cliff jumping spot will be one of the best places you will ever encounter! During the summer months, be sure to swim in the water, or even take the leap and jump from the cliff!
Even after two centuries of being home to the famous aesthetic visions of Thomas Cole and other Hudson River School artists, the Hudson Valley still welcomes droves of city-dwellers to come and experience its natural beauty. Come experience it for yourself! Perhaps, you will even make the move North too!