High, low, it’s off to hike we go!

Check out these hikes East of the Hudson

From the trails that weave through the Vanderbilt Mansion and Roosevelt home in Hyde Park to the spectacular views around the Hudson Highlands, kid friendly hiking areas are abundant in the Hudson Valley. Rich history and breathtaking scenery await families that explore the region.


East of the Hudson River


“There are so many wonderful places to hike for young children that it’s difficult to narrow it down,” says Joanne Michaels, author of Take the Kids: Great Places to Go in New York’s Hudson Valley and Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains: An Explorer’s Guide. Michaels, who lives in Woodstock, recommends several easy hikes for the entire family on the east side of the Hudson River.


“One of my favorite historic sites to hike with children is Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie,” says Michaels. “The trails there are relatively flat and there are several well-signed, easy loops. All of them lead over to the Hudson River, the train tracks are there as well.”


Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse Historic Site, has over three miles of trails made up of carriage roads and footpaths. The Saw Mill Trail does have an unguarded cliff that parents should be aware of prior to ascending to the lookout point so be sure to visit Locust Grove’s website for a downloadable map and trail information or stop at the visitor’s center prior to hiking. The two miles of trails through Poet’s Walk Park in Red Hook is also a family friendly hike that Michaels recommends.


Scenic Hudson, who maintains the park, offers a downloadable Park Quest that can be used to learn about the history and wildlife at the park. “(It) is an easy walk and children love seeing the Rhinecliff Bridge, the train tracks and the river, without having to hike that far,” says Michaels. Families can also learn about the history of the region on trails like those that are part of the Hyde Park trail system, including hikes around the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt Historical Areas.


Allan Dailey, Supervisory Park Ranger at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historical Site recommends Vanderbilt Loop, approximately 2.5 miles, for families with children that can handle two steep hills and the distance of the hike. Dailey says that visitors may want to include the Bard Rock portion of the hike to gain access to the water, but this will involve backtracking and adds about three quarters of a mile to the route. The Vanderbilt Loop is designated as a moderate hike and is part of the Hyde Park system, ten miles of trails and walkways that connect the National Park sites with other parks, nature preserves, local neighborhoods and Hyde Park’s central business corridor.


A family friendly feature of the trail system is its Hyde Park Healthy Trails Walkabout, where families can complete five of the trails designated on the Walkabout Trail Map, available online and at local visitors centers, and earn a free Walkabout patch. “Podcasts can be uploaded from our website to accompany you on the trails,” says Dailey. “They are historical talks about everything you see along the way and are made with kids in mind.” The Hyde Park Explorer Podcast is available for six Hyde Park trails including the Vanderbilt Loop.

Read on for hikes on the West of the Hudson.

Janine Boldrin is a writer who lives in West Point with her family.