The Hudson Valley has some great hiking, despite its proximity to New York City. Beautiful rocky cliffs frame the Hudson River, the same Hudson that flows to NYC. Just miles from the city, you’re transported to a peaceful oasis filled with nature and cute towns.
We have loved exploring all that the Hudson Valley has to offer, including all of the amazing parks and hiking opportunities in the area.
In this post, you will find various areas to hike, each of which have their own repertoire of trails to explore.
1. Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park has to be at the top of this list. It is a ginormous state park with so many different hiking trails for all different abilities. There are lakes, beaches, pine forests, deciduous forests, and lots and lots of rocks.
Harriman State Park is a great park to hike in any time of year. In the fall, the leaves are incredible. The winter is a wintery wonderland, with ice formations on many of the rocky areas. In the summer, the forest is thick and the lakes great for swimming.
Another great aspect of Harriman State Park is that it is FREE! Most parking areas are free and it is free to access the park. (You may have to park at the Silvermine Parking Area on a busy summer weekend, usually around $10.)
One of my favorite trails in the park is the Pine Meadow Loop Trail which follows a creek, goes through a pine forest, and ends up at a lake.
For more information on visiting Harriman State Park, check out my full Harriman State Park Blog Post.
2. Hudson Highlands State Park
Hudson Highlands State Park is a very popular hiking location in the Hudson Valley. The park is located on the eastern side of the Hudson River from right above Peekskill to Beacon.
You can get to the Hudson Highlands State Park either by the train or driving. Note that parking here can be extremely difficult on good weather weekends.
There are many trails all throughout the Hudson Highlands State Park, but one of the most popular trails is the Anthony’s Nose Trail. The trail to Anthony’s Nose is 1.9 miles and has great views of the Hudson River and the Bear Mountain Bridge.
From most of the trails in the Hudson Highlands, when you get to the top you will have sweeping views of the Hudson River and surrounding area. Some hikes even feature distant glimpses of NYC, like the Bull Hill Loop Trail which is 5.4 miles long and leaves from a trailhead close to the town of Cold Spring, New York.
3. Beacon Fire Tower
Close to the Hudson Highlands, you will find Beacon and the trailhead to the Beacon Fire Tower. This is another popular trail and hiking area.
The trail to Beacon Fire Tower starts with stairs, before turning into a steep rocky path that ascends the hill at a pretty steep, constant rate. Once you make it to the top of the hill, there is a view point with some old runs and there are various trails and connections you can take.
The most popular route is to continue up the trail to the Beacon Fire Tower. At the fire tower, you can climb the stairs to the top of the tower to get 360 degree views of Beacon and the Hudson Highlands.
For more information on hiking at Beacon Fire Tower, check out my Beacon Fire Tower Blog Post!
4. Storm King State Park
Storm King State Park is located on the western side of the Hudson River, essentially across the Hudson River from the Hudson Highlands. It is smaller and has less hikes than the Hudson Highlands, but I find that it is often less crowded and has some beautiful overlooks.
The park is located between the towns of Highland Falls and Cornwall-On-Hudson. While there are many hikes in the Storm King State Park, my favorite hike is the Storm King Mountain Trail which is 2.4 miles.
If looking for a cute coffee shop after your hike at Storm King State Park, check out Cornwall Coffee and Mercantile Co. in the town of Cornwall-On-Hudson.
5. Schunnemunk State Park
Schunnemunk State Park is a less visited state park with a lot of great hiking options. It is relatively small, but unique, with nature much different than the other parks listed in this post.
A hike I recommend in Schunnemunk State Park is Schunnemunk Mountain via Western Ridge Trail Loop. It is a trail unique in this area. First you will walk towards a tall railroad bridge and then up a tall hill. At the top of the hill there is a lovely memorial bench with views of the surrounding area. For the rest of the trail, you will follow the ridgeline on silvery rocks, weaving around scraggly pine trees.
I find the ecosystem in Schunnemunk State Park to be similar to that of Minnewaska State Park, which is a little more north.
Tips for Hiking in the Hudson Valley
-arrive super early
The Hudson Valley is a super popular hiking area due to its location in relation to the city. Many of the parks listed in this list of the best hiking in the Hudson Valley have limited parking that fills up very quickly. In order to find parking and have a smoother experience, I recommend arriving early in the morning.
-be prepared for crowds
Some of the areas listed in this list are quite popular. Popular trails equate to having more people on the trail around you. If you’re looking for absolute solitude and a peaceful nature experience, I would recommend visiting at less popular times, or trying trails within Harriman or Schunnemunk State Park.
-wear proper attire
Some of the hiking trails in the Hudson Valley have short distances, but they really can back the punch with a steep grade and a lot of elevation gain in the short time. The rocky terrain of the Hudson Valley and likely steepness of the trails, really warrants proper footwear, such as supportive hiking boots or shoes with good traction. Check out these boots on Amazon.
-grab coffee at a nearby coffeeshop after your hike
In addition to great hiking, the Hudson Valley has some great coffee shops. I recommend Big Mouth Coffee Roasters in Beacon, NY or Valkyrie Coffee in Chester, NY if you are near either of those areas.
I hope that this guide can help you find a great place to hike in the Hudson Valley! Comments or questions? Let me know in the comments down below!
Thanks for reading!