In the last issue of The Record, we gave you some less-intense hikes that were 30 minutes away maximum. This month’s walks are not for the faint of heart. Some of them are more than an hour away by car and boast ascents of more than 2,000 feet. But they also offer extremely rewarding views of the Hudson Valley. Grab your backpacks, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to scale some mountains!
Poet’s Walk (Red Hook, NY) This one is a mild hike in comparison to the others on this list, but it is a beautiful one, with gazebos, seasonal flowers, and long stretches of meadows that open out onto the Hudson River. Perfect for future Wordsworths who want to be immersed in nature as they write their next sonnet. (Approximately two to three miles.)
Address: 776 River Rd, Red Hook, NY 12571
Contact: Scene Hudson at www.scenichudson.org/parks/poetswalk; or (845) 473-4440
Brace Mountain (Millerton, NY) This trek is aptly named. Brace yourself for an intense excursion on the border of New York and Massachusetts that offers some of the best views of the Hudson Valley. Along the way to the top, you might discover a pleasant brook, an arresting collection of cairns and rock formations, and snakes. Make sure to review safety tips beforehand in case you encounter the casual copperhead. At the summit, not only will you discover a breathtaking, sweeping view of New York and Massachusetts, but you also may encounter adventurers paragliding off the summit. (Approximately four miles.)
Address: 89 Quarry Hill Rd, Millerton, NY 12546
Contact: Consult the Dutchess County Department of Parks and find a trail map athttp://www.dutchessny.gov/CountyGov/Departments/DPW-Parks/tmsbracemt.pdf
Alander Mountain (Mount Washington, MA) The Mount Washington area has quite a few nice hikes, including Mt. Everett, Mt. Washington, Bash Bish, and Alander Mountain. These also happen to be close by Brace Mountain. There are a few brooks and streams rushing by as you ascend the trails that occasionally can flood but the journey makes for a beautiful view on a non-rainy day. The summit affords several spectacular vistas of New York, overlooking towns such as Ancram and Copake or the woods with the Catskills in the background.
Address: 143 East St., Mt. Washington, MA 01258
Contact: MA Energy and Environmental Affairs athttp://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/ and search “Alander”; or (413) 528-0330
Mt. Beacon (Beacon, NY) This trek has several amazing views. When you first arrive, you will be confronted by a set of about 200 steps, then you will continue your ascent upwards to steep inclines and winding paths. As you make your way through, you’ll find several outlook points, an abandoned building, and finally, a fire tower. There are several other routes you can take to extend your hike if you’d like to add some more intensity (and potentially more stunning views). For full details, consult the official site. Try not to stray off the marked trails – a group of friends and I did that once and got very, very lost.
Address: 788 Wolcott Ave, Beacon, NY 12508
Contact: Scenic Hudson at http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/mountbeacon; or (845) 473-4440
Bull Hill/Mt. Taurus (Cold Spring, NY) Hiking in Cold Spring usually brings Breakneck Ridge to mind, but just a few minutes away is Bull Hill, a less intense but just as beautiful (and demanding) ascent to an outlook over the Hudson River. Be careful not to miss the outlook point, however – it is somewhat hidden off the main trail as you near the top. Extremely close by is Little Stony Point, so after a hot summer day of hiking, head on down to the tiny river beach to take a dip.
Address: Bull Hill, Philipstown, NY 10516, near the intersection of Fair Street and Route 9D
Contact: Visit http://hikethehudsonvalley.com and select “The Hikes” from the main menu. (At this versatile website, you can also find information about other sites and walks mentioned here.)
Mill’s Mansion (Staatsburg, NY) While not overly difficult, this journey is about four miles long. It affords views of Mill’s Mansion, the vast 19th-century palace now a state historic site, a beautiful lake, a lighthouse in the distance, and rocky cliffs along the Hudson River. There are small outlets where you can sit by the lake among the rocks. It’s a dog-friendly walk, so if you have brought your furry friend along there’s plenty of swimming opportunities along the way. (Approximately four miles.)
Address: 75 Mills Mansion 1 Rd, Staatsburg, NY 12580
Contact: Visit the Friends of Mills Mansion at their website https://millsmansion.org/; or (845) 889-8851
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (Pound Ridge, NY) There are many options for trails in this historic nature reserve ranging from easy strolls on the gravel to more difficult treks through the woods. Keep in mind that during the summer, you may have to pay a fee to park.
Address: 6 Reservation Rd, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Contact: http://parks.westchestergov.com; or (914) 864-7317
Tarrywile Park (Danbury, CT) This is very much a choose-your-own-adventure sort of hike, with a wide variety of trails and many different views. Some trails are longer and more difficult than others. Unfortunately, while Hearthstone Castle used to be one of the main features of this park, the Town of Danbury has voted for its partial demolition. Nevertheless, when exploring the various trails, you’ll find beautiful lakes, lovely meadows, intriguing old buildings, and much more.
Address: 70 Southern Blvd, Danbury, CT 06810
Contact: Visit Tarrywile.com; or (203) 744-3130
Locust Grove (Poughkeepsie, NY) A huge estate with Italian-style buildings where Samuel F.B. Morse, the Hudson River School painter and inventor of the telegraph, used to reside. It contains moderate trails leading to ponds and skimming the edge of the Hudson River.
Address: 2683 South Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Visit Lgny.org; or (845) 454-4500
Lion’s Head (Salisbury, CT) Though not as daunting as the famous mountain in Cape Town, this Lion’s Head is still worth an uproar. It is a short 2.4-mile climb, up and back, but still relatively steep in spots to ensure you get a good workout. At the summit, you’ll admire the sweeping views of fields, forest, and foliage, especially in the autumn when the leaves have turned and the landscape is dyed in orange and gold.
Address: 84 Bunker Hill Road, Salisbury, CT 06068