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Dover Stone Church

Discover, enjoy, spend the day!

Family-friendly hikes, hiking, hudson valley, places to go, things to do, Dover, Dutchess County, waterfalls, caves, kid-friendly

This hike deep in Dutchess County, located in Dover Plains, is by far the most kid-friendly hike in the county. If your family has not been here, then now is the time to visit! Last year the preserve opened 5 miles of new trails so there is no shortage of things to explore!

When you first enter the preserve you are overlooking a tree lined path filled with wildflowers, native grasses and birds, stone steps lead down to the trail where your adventure begins! It feels and looks as if you are about to step into a storybook, this place is so magical.

The path meanders all along a babbling brook, which makes the hike very relaxing and so fun for kids. My daughter loves to take her shoes off and stick her feet in, even in the freezing winter months! This brook has another surprise in store for your family, following it you will end up at the reason most families visit the preserve; the Dover Stone Church. Named because of the cavern's resemblance to church windows, it is a very spiritual place.

You can enter the cave, by traversing the rocks over the brook. The sunlight filters in making it feel as if you have entered a sanctuary. Water ripples around you, and looking out the entrance frames the landscape perfectly. Small waterfalls tumble in various places over the rocks, I cannot express enough how much I love this hike.

There are lots of places to picnic, we love to bring a lunch that way we don't have to leave the serene nature and we can spend the whole day exploring. The new trails are well marked and maintained and we love all the fun features such as natural stone steps and wooden bridges. There is just something fun about finding a bridge in the middle of the woods.

Tips for this hike:

  • There is no parking for this preserve but there is plenty of public parking nearby, on weekends we park right at the public school parking lot.
  • I suggest shoes that you don't mind getting wet, so that you can enter the cave and explore.
  • Stay on designated, marked pathways as the property adjacent is private.
  • The entrance to the preserve is on the West side of Route 22, look for a blue and yellow state historic marker. For more information and directions visit Dover Stone Church website.

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