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Hike the Hudson all year long

12 winter trails even little legs can explore

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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, there’s plenty of relatively flat trails that can be enjoyed by the whole family no matter how low the temperature drops.

Norrie Point Trail, Staatsburgh State Historic Site
Old Post Rd., Staatsburgh. 845-889-8851.
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.

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


Bear Mountain State Park
Rte. 9W, Bear Mountain. 845-786-2701.
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.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Route 44/55, New Paltz. 845-255-0752.
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.
Transformed from an abandoned Railroad in 1983, the Walkill 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.

Dutchess County Rail Trail
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.

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Mohonk Preserve
New Paltz. 845-255-0919.
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.

Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park
Rte. 209, Town of Mamakating. 845-794-3000 ext. 3072.
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.

Clermont State Historic Site
One Clermont Ave., Germantown, 518-537-4240.

Enjoy views of the Hudson River, and explore the grounds, from formal gardens to carriage roads to steep hills leading to the river. The house itself is closed from January through April, but on November and December weekends guided house tours are available from 11 am to 3 pm.

Poet’s Walk
776 River Rd., Red Hook.

Follow easy trails to the gazebo and add on a loop to the summer house to see why these views inspired nineteenth-century writers. Once the snow gets deep, strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes to take full advantage of the 2 miles worth of trails throughout this 120 acre park.

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Esopus Meadows Preserve
269 River Rd., Ulster Park.

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.

Roosevelt Farm Lane Trail
4097 Albany Post Rd., Hyde Park.

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.