We all seem to need a breath of fresh air after what felt like a stifling year. Is there anything to look forward to? The answer is yes. Spring is right around the corner and so is warm weather. Instead of taking a walk around the block you’ve grown to know during quarantine, be more adventurous by taking a hiking trail. You’d be surprised at how many hidden gems you’ll find super close to home with hills and mountains, to streams and water cascades, no matter your level of experience. If you’re not an ‘outdoorsy’ type of gal, and the creepy crawlies aren’t your friends, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a brisk hike in the upcoming months before it gets hot and sticky. To me, taking a hike in the summer is basically punishment. Nobody wants to swat and wave our hands in our faces while climbing a mountain, the cardio is annoying enough!
Grab a friend and put your hiking shoes on. We’re going into the mountains of Upstate New York!
- Hook Mountain State Park: Beginner (Nyack, NY)
Beginners, this ones for you! Break-in your new hiking boots at Hook Mountain State Park where it’s all about versatility and convenience. If you’re looking for the perfect mixture of flat and inclined trails, Hook Mountain will be your top choice. When you reach the peak, you’ll have a 360 view overlooking the Hudson River, New York City skyline and the Tappanzee Bridge. On the ground level, you have the option of walking, running and even biking alongside Rockland Lake stretching about three miles long. The park has a plateau with mountainside grasslands where you and friends can hangout, take photos or have a picnic. Not in the mood for hiking? Take your SO here for a chill daytime date.
Tip: Take The Long Path
- Harriman State Park: Multi-Level (Rockland & Orange County, NY)
In this park, the limit does not exist. It provides more than 40 hiking and biking trails giving you endless options of what level, duration or route you want to take. You can even combine any trails you want. Harriman reaches over 47,500 acres offering over 30 different lakes to choose from. Sounds like a hiker’s heaven, right? With so much to see at this incredible park, you can get away with visiting monthly- even weekly- and never get sick of it. This state park has trails for any level of endurance. On the way there, you’ll be driving through the mountains enjoying amazing views.
Tip: Take the Pine Swamp Mine Loop to discover a stunning abandoned mine.
- Hudson Highlands State Park: Intermediate-Advanced Level (Cold Spring, NY)
Expert hiker? This ones for you. In this park, you can either take the easy way out with moderate trails or challenge yourself by climbing- and I mean literally- climbing an extremely rocky and steep mountain. Even if you aren’t taking the strenuous loop, beginners will probably want to sit this one out. Reaching the top of the trails in this park gives you breathtaking views of the Hudson River and Breakneck Mountain, especially at sunset. I recommend going an hour before sundown giving you enough time to reach the top of the trail and be rewarded with a pastel brushed sky.
Tip: Take Breakneck Ridge Trail for experts, Bull Hill Loop for intermediate.
I hope this shortlist gave you the 4-1-1 on my recommended beginner, intermediate and advanced trails. Make sure you’re prepared with water and hiking boots as these trails can get a tad rocky- especially if you’re not used to hiking. Now all you have to do is pick one, grab a buddy and take a hike!