Hikes on the West of the Hudson River



Great hikes for the whole family

Across the river, families can find even more family friendly hikes including challenging hikes for older kids and nature trails that are perfect for young children. Michael’s recommends Sam’s Point Preserve in Cragsmoor outside Ellenville as a family friendly hike and points out that the preserve has one of the best examples of globally rare dwarf pitch pine barrens along with magnificent views. According to The Nature Conservancy this is a moderate hike and is recommended for children over twelve years of age. “The trails are excellent going through chasms and tunnels and around incredible balanced rocks which will delight children,” says Michaels.

 

Bear Mountain State Park, approximately ten miles south of the United States Military Academy at West Point, offers many hikes that range from easy to challenging, with one of the easiest hikes being the Hessian Lake Loop, a 1.5 mile paved path that can accommodate strollers and young walkers. For families looking for a more challenging route, the park’s Fort Montgomery Trail begins on part of the Appalachian Trail and continues under 9W and past the Trailside Museums and Zoo. The trail starts to get more difficult at this point and is more suited toward older children.

 

Further north on 9W is the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center in Cornwall. According to Marian Goldin, marketing associate for the museum, the site offers a diversity of hiking trails for a wide range of interests and abilities.

 

“Our trail system features over five miles of well marked trails that range from a stroller friendly half-mile walk through our wetlands and fields, to a more challenging 2 mile hike into the wooded slopes,” says Goldin. “Most of our trails have accompanying Quests Guides which feature a fun, interactive way to learn and enjoy your outdoor experience.”

 

The Wildlife Education Center, also part of the museum, is located in Cornwall-on-Hudson and features family-friendly trails that wind their way through a ravine, then back through the woodlands.

 

Minisink Battleground Park in Sullivan County is another hiking option on the west side of the Hudson River that Michaels suggests for families. The park has three self-guided trails of less than two miles: the Battleground Trail, Woodland Trail, and Old Quarry Trail. Trail brochures are available at the interpretative center.

 

Be prepared

 

Before settings out on any hike with your family make sure you are prepared with a good map, directions, and information on the conditions of the trails. Everyone should be dressed appropriately for changing weather and ticks, be wearing comfortable shoes appropriate for hiking, and have sunscreen applied. Don’t forget the water and snacks! And be sure to check on the availability of restroom facilities at your destination. A little bit of preparation can save a tremendous amount of aggravation when it comes to hiking with children and will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

 

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