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12 Hudson Valley Winter Trails for Families



Get your kids out and about this winter

Mohonk Preserve in Winter

Looking for something fun, healthy and educational to do this weekend? Why not take a hike? The Hudson Valley is home to some of the most gorgeous views in the country, all year round. And while it may be better to keep the kids off of the steep, icy mountain trails right now, there’s plenty of relatively flat trails that can be enjoyed by the whole family no matter how low the temperature drops. 

DUTCHESS COUNTY

Dutchess County Rail Trail, Entrances in Hopewell Junction, Wappingers Falls, and Poughkeepsie;  www.dutchessrailtrail.com

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

For rail trail fun on the eastern side of the valley, check out the 13 mile Dutchess County Rail Trail, which runs from the old train depot at Hopewell Junction all the way to the Walkway Over The Hudson in Poughkeepsie. Even if winter whipping winds keep you off the Walkway, there’s plenty of woodland views to enjoy for those who don’t make it all the way to the Hudson.

Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail, 4097 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, www.nps.gov/hofr

The trails are free and open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week.

Admission to the buildings are $18 per person, free for children 15 and under. Open from 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week.

A madhouse in the summer, the buildings and grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Estate are quiet and serene in January and February. It’s a perfect opportunity to relax and take your time touring the houses, as well as the packed-gravel trails that connect the historic sites. Watch for birds and wildlife along the way.

Norrie Point Trail, Staatsburgh State Historic Site, Old Post Rd., Staatsburgh. 845-889-8851; www.nysparks.state.ny.us

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

A great hike along the Hudson River, this trail is one-of-a-kind because of its proximity to the river’s edge. For about 2.5 miles, enjoy breathtaking views as you stroll along with the family. Make plans for before or after the hike to visit the Mill’s Mansion on the grounds—an elegant country estate built during America’s Gilded Age.

SULLIVAN COUNTY

Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park, Rte. 209, Town of Mamakating. 845-794-3000 ext. 3072; www.co.sullivan.ny.us

Open 7 days a week from 8 am until dusk.

The canals might be frozen, but you can still step through history on the 45-acre Delaware and Hudson Canal Linear Park. Travel along three and a half miles of trail that passes the remains of original locks, drydock and waste weirs. Signs are located throughout the park to explain the different canal structures. 

ULSTER COUNTY

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Route 44/55, New Paltz. 845-255-0752; www.nysparks.state.ny.us

Open from 9am to 5 pm throughout the winter.

Admission Fee: $10 per vehicle 

Found on the beautiful Shawangunk Mountain ridge, Minnewaska boasts some of the best views of the Hudson Valley. You won’t be able to enjoy the park’s famous swimming holes, but you can take advantage of plenty of hiking and cross-country skiing trails.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, Entrance by Water Street Market, New Paltz;  www.wvrta.org

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

Transformed from an abandoned Railroad in 1983, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is now a linear park where people can enjoy hiking, biking, cross country skiing and other outdoor recreation. The path stretches from Rosendale to Gardiner, passing through scenic New Paltz, including Historic Huguenot Street.

Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz.  845-255-0919; www.mohonkpreserve.org

Open from sunrise to one hour after sunset, seven days a week.

Admission Fee: $12 per hiker, children under 12 are free.

At the Preserve you’ll enjoy scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and peace & quiet. Save the rock climbing for the summer and instead take advantage of the miles of wide, flat carriage roads that lead throughout the Preserve. 

Esopus Meadows Preserve, 269 River Road, Ulster Park www.scenichudson.org/parks/esopusmeadows

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

You won’t find any meadows here: The name refers to the tidal flats, once a feeding ground for local livestock. but you will find a network of easy trails, a brand new pavilion with picnic tables. and a pedestrian-and boat-access-only beach with a great view of the lighthouse. Bring some binoculars along, as you may spy a bald eagle on the preserve as well.

Franny Reese Park, Macks Lane, Highland, NY http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/frannyreese

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

The Walkway Over The Hudson in impressive enough when you’re on it, but it’s even more impressive when you’re overlooking it. That’s the main attraction at Franny Reese Park, an impressive bluff perched above the western shores of the Hudson. There’s 2.5 miles of trails to enjoy on your way to the view, as well as the ruins of an estate to pass by as well.

ORANGE COUNTY

Heritage Trail Entrances in Monroe, Chester, and Goshen http://www.nynjtc.org/book/9-heritage-trail-orange-county-rail-trail 

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

Also known as the Orange County Rail Trail, the Heritage Trail follows the former Erie Railroad on an 11.85 mile trek. There’s a wide variety of things to enjoy, as the trail winds past historic graveyards, onion farms, a wildlife sanctuary, and the villages of Monroe, Chester, and Goshen.

Bear Mountain State Park, Rte. 9W, Bear Mountain. 845-786-2701; www.nysparks.us

Open from 8 am until dusk, seven days a week. 

Admission Fee: $8 per vehicle 

Most hikers who come here tend to head straight up the park’s namesake mountain and leave the rest behind. But three of the park’s best all-weather attractions — the ice skating rink, the carousel, and the zoo  — are at opposite ends of the park. That lends itself to taking a great hike along the lake as you enjoy all the park has to offer. And if you need a break, you can stop at the Bear Mountain Inn halfway through for some hot chocolate. 

PUTNAM COUNTY

Manitoga: The Russel Wright Center, 584 Rte. 9D, Garrison. 845-424-3812; www.russelwrightcenter.org

Open from dawn until dusk, seven days a week.

Suggestion donation:$5

For a variety of unique and interesting hikes, visit the home of Russel Wright, American home-furnishings designer. Hike over 4 miles of paths through a 75-acre designed landscape with links to the Appalachian Trail. Each path was built to illuminate the beauty of nature and create an adventure through the forest. All of the paths were designed to go in one direction, and all begin at Mary’s Meadow, named for Wright’s wife. Pets are welcome if they are kept on a leash. Note that the trails are closed the first few weeks of December, and the main entrance is not plowed in the winter.