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30 Best Hiking Trails in Hudson Valley (With Waterfalls & Scenic Views!)

Explore the top 30 hiking trails in Hudson Valley, featuring breathtaking waterfalls and scenic views perfect for all levels of hikers. Ideal for travelers seeking nature's best.

Tobi Miles
July 23, 2022
30 Best Hiking Trails in Hudson Valley (With Waterfalls & Scenic Views!)

The Hudson Valley is a charming and beautiful place to visit any time of the year. With 150 miles to discover, the Hudson Valley has inspired many artists' works due to its natural beauty. It is a place filled with culture, history, food, and farmer's markets!

A spectacular thing about the Hudson Valley are the diverse and vast trails. There are so many trails to explore that you will not know where to start! Every trail offers you a new and beautiful experience that you will never forget. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned hiker, there will be something for you.

The Hudson Valley is a marvelous destination that could leave you overwhelmed. There are so many trails, each more beautiful than the next. Therefore, you will want to make sure you go on the trails that will be best for you.

1. Rainbow Falls

Credit: John Menard / Flickr

The Rainbow Falls is an extraordinary 150-foot tall waterfall. It is located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve. The waterfall is so stunning, it has a tendency to become crowded frequently.

This trail will be located to the west of the park's main entrance. Afterward, you will follow the Gorge Trail until you reach Rainbow Falls.

The trail consists of many beautiful and jaw-dropping views. With the waterfall, lake and hardwood forest, there will be so much to uncover.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 0.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 65 feet

2. Kaaterskill Falls

Kaaterskill Falls is located on Spruce Creek in the eastern Catskill Mountains. It is a beautiful and remarkable trail featuring a 260 foot two-tiered waterfall.

This trail is especially perfect for beginners as it is well maintained and easy to follow. Though, it will still be great for hikers of all levels!

While you are walking to Kaaterskill Falls, there will be another waterfall in passing. Named Bastion Falls, it goes past the trailhead and you can see it from the road.

Overall, the Kaaterskill Falls trail is a short hike and takes around an hour to complete. It will be a great trail for those that are having a busy day but want to explore nature as well.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 396 feet

Related Read: Top 20 Best Catskills Hiking Trails

3. Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

The Old Crofton Aqueduct Trail is perfect for those who enjoy learning more about a region's history. It was first thought of in 1837! The aqueduct was to help supply fresh water and last for centuries.

By the 1880s, it was not able to meet New York City's needs anymore! As a result, the New Croton Aqueduct started to be constructed in 1885. This trail has so much to discover that you may even need a checklist!

You will want to see the double arch, which is a bridge within a bridge. You can also visit the New Croton Dam and the Ossining Museum.

Moreover, make sure to check out the Keeper's House as it gives you an interesting perspective. It is located in Dobbs Ferry and is the place where the Aqueduct caretaker lived!

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 46.0 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 2,083 feet

4. Ninham Mountain Fire Tower

Credit: Famartin

Ninham Fire Tower Loop is a beautiful trail that allows you to go atop a fire tower. This is a kid-friendly trail as well, so if you are looking to bring your kids, this would be great!

The best times to make this trail are March through November. Thus, it would be especially beautiful to walk this trail in the early morning as a sunrise trail, or as a sunset trail.

Dogs are also allowed while on this trail. They will even be allowed off-leash in certain areas. An important note before you hike this trail is that it is a popular area for hunters. As a result, you will want to wear highly visible equipment.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.4 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 318 feet

Related Read: 20 Best Waterfalls in New York

5. Breakneck Ridge, Breakneck Bypass, Wilkinson Trail Loop

The Breakneck Ridge, Breakneck Bypass, and Wilkinson Trail Loop are perfect for those that want a challenge on their hike.

This hike consists of many short, but difficult trail loops with many steep climbs and rock scramble over ledges as well. Therefore, you will want to make sure you have sturdy shoes.

Additionally, some reviewers have recommended following the trail counterclockwise. Going the trail counterclockwise will help make it easier.

An important note before you make your way to this trail is that you need to direct yourself to route 9D. As it is not possible to start the trail at the backside of the ridge.

Even though dogs are allowed on this trail with a leash, it is best to leave them at home. This is because of how difficult the trail is and how much you will need to scramble.

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 3.2 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,269 feet

6. Gertrude's Nose

Gertrude's Nose Trail gives you stunning views atop many cliff edges and rock formations. With the ability to see the densely forested areas nearby.

First, you will start from Millbrook Mountain and make your way to Patterson's Pellet. Because of the beautiful scenery surrounding this trail, it is very popular. Therefore, you will want to get there earlier.

This trail has a lot of rock scrambling and it can get wet and muddy. Thus, you will want to make sure you have proper shoes while making this hike.

Furthermore, this trail may have some seasonal closures based on the weather conditions. Make sure to check the state parks informational website for assistance.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 6.7 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,141 feet

7. Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze

Credit: GPA Photo Archive / Flickr

The Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze trail will take you on a fun adventure! You will feel as though you are the main character in a movie on this trail.

You will have the ability to see a gorgeous lake, wildflowers, a cave, and the beautiful forest nearby. Therefore, this trail is perfect for those who want a harder trail to hike.

While on this hike there will be many small crevices you will have to squeeze through. Furthermore, this trail consists of a lot of rock scrambling. So, make sure you bring sturdy shoes!

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 1.0 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 291 feet

Related Read: 25 BEST Romantic Cabin Getaways in New York

8. Awosting Falls

Credit: Doug Kerr / Flickr

The Awosting Falls is a beautiful trail taking you to the stunning waterfall. This is a kid-friendly trail, so it will be perfect for those family get-togethers.

This trail is popular with bird watching, hiking, and mountain biking. Therefore, it is likely that you will meet other people on this trail. Furthermore, this trail has a fee per car. So, make sure you plan ahead.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.1 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 118 feet

9. Vroman's Nose

Credit: Schezar / Flickr

Those looking to bring their kids with them on their hike should consider this trail. It is short and relatively easy to do. What's more, is that it will still give amazing views!

Vroman's Nose is an interesting trail as it gives spectacular views of the valley beneath. Along with the beautiful fields of green.

Subsequently, it was given the name Vroman as the first inhabitants of Schenectady were the Vroman family. Surprisingly, it received the nose part of the name because it looks like a nose.

On an important note, you will need to be cautious during the winter months. During the winter it can get icy, especially on the lower-mid trail. Therefore, snowshoes or spikes may be needed in the winter months.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 485 feet

10. High Falls

Credit: Doug Kerr / Flickr

The High Falls trail is a beautiful out-and-back trail perfect for kids and adults alike. No matter your skill level, you will enjoy this hike!

Although this trail is popular with snowshoeing, the best times to visit are March through October. During this time you will get much more of the beauty and the greenery that surrounds the trail.

Those planning on hiking this trail may need a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach the trailhead. Though, it is also possible to ask at the Trailside Bar and Grill to walk.

Difficulty:  Easy

Distance: 1.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain:  134 feet

Related Read: 30 Best Hiking Trails In Upstate NY

11. Dover Stone Church

Credit: Oblong Land Conservancy / Flickr

Dover Stone Church is a lovely trail near Dover Plains, New York. With an opportunity to see a waterfall, cave, and lake. This trail is really unique and beautiful to see.

Furthermore, it is wonderful to see anytime from April through November. With that being said, you should try to go when it is dry. Consequently, if you visit this trail while it is dry you can explore the cave as well.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 580 feet

12. Brace Mountain Trail

Credit: Tyler Rhodes / AllTrails

The Brace Mountain Trail will give you a beautiful trail to the summit. At the summit will be a windsock in the cairn to mark it.

Throughout the trail, you will view a cascading waterfall and a smaller waterfall with a clear pool. The smaller waterfall will act as a great resting place.

This trail is very popular with many people using it for bird-watching. There have been many paragliders around this trail as well!

While dogs are allowed on this trail, they will need to be on a leash. Furthermore, there is a bit of rock scrambling, so older dogs may not enjoy this trail.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,509 feet

13. Alander Mountain Trail

The Alander Mountain Trail can be viewed from New York and Massachusetts. Both sides give you beautiful views of the summit. The route on the New York side is not as popular compared to the Massachusetts side.

This will be a great hike for those that want a quiet and peaceful hike. Moreover, the New York side is shorter and steeper. The views from the summit will be spectacular. With the ability to see all of Hudson Valley and the Catskills in their entirety.

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 4.4 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,528 feet

14. Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail

Credit: John Marino / Flickr

The Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail is a must-see. This trail passes through five different ledges, each one more beautiful than the next!

Whether you want to go on this trail at night or in the early morning hours, each gives you a beautiful experience. With the ability to stargaze or watch the sunrise.

It is a truly remarkable place to visit at any time of the year. There is also good news for dog owners, as this trail allows your dog to be off-leash in some areas!

For those hiking in the winter, you will want to wear micro spikes. The trails can get icy and slippery. That is to say, in the spring as well it often gets muddy.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 6.3 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,981 feet

15. Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks Loop

Credit: Paul Comstock / Flickr

The Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks Trails may be done separately or together. Depending on the condition that you want a longer hike and a challenging rock scramble.

Throughout this hike, you will travel through open fields of woods to the top of a white crag. Furthermore, this crag will give you an amazing view of the valley beneath.

While the crag gives you amazing views, the rock scramble will be worth it as well. If you can do the scramble, you will observe some beautiful views.

Prior to taking this journey, it will be important to know that there is a fee per person for this hike. It will be preferable to hike from Mohonk Preserve trailheads as the Mohonk Mountain House has a higher fee.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.3 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 488 feet

16. Sam's Point and Verkeerderkill Falls

Credit: Coasterlover1994

Sam's Point and Verkeerderkill Falls is a unique experience. Even allowing you to hike through a rare and endangered ecosystem. With breathtaking views, you will want to bring your camera on this trip.

This trail includes one of the last remaining Rare Dwarf Pitch Pine Barren! Sam's Point is comprised of 5,000 acres and helps provide a habitat for flora and fauna. It is also located on the highest section of the Shawangunk Mountains!

Throughout this trail, you will find many rock crevices and caves formed by the talus from the cliffs. These caves stay cold year-round so that snow may stay inside them!

Make sure to arrive early, as it can get crowded! Those visiting in the morning and late evenings may have a more secluded hike.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 8.3 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 994 feet

17. Stony Kill Falls

Credit: Shinya Suzuki / Flickr

Despite the name, Stony Kill Falls makes for a perfect hike for the whole family. It is a quiet and beautiful hike that everyone will love!

Make sure you visit this trail after a lot of rain so you get the best view of the waterfall. Otherwise, there may not be any water flowing.

There is a fee to go on this trail and is known to have some seasonal closures due to weather conditions. It is important to always check the state parks' website for updated information before you visit.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.0 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 209 feet

18. Cornish Estate Trail

Credit: T. Carrigan / Flickr

The Cornish Estate Trail is perfect for those that want an easy and quick hike. Most of the hike will be on a concrete driveway and consists of a gentle ascent.

During this trail you will find many ruins and other structures. Such as a swimming pool, laundry facility, and a greenhouse! They will all be very interesting to visit.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.8 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 190 feet

19. Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road Loop Trail

Credit: Doug Kerr / Flickr

The Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road Loop Trail will give you stunning views of the lake. While this trail is nice to view from April through October, the best time is spring.

With all things considered, spring will allow you to see beautiful wildflowers and the green forest. This trail is also perfect for those that enjoy bird-watching and cross-country skiing.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.9 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 259 feet

20. Sky Top Trail

Credit: Grendelkhan

The Sky Top Trail view is amazing. The summit will be one of the best areas to take photos, so bring your camera! The trail is beautiful to hike year-round. Depending on when you go, you may experience snow surrounding you or the beautiful green trees.

On a negative note, this trail does not allow dogs. Though, it is kid-friendly. There is also a fee per person if you start your hike at Mohonk Preserve trailhead. While if you start at Mohonk Mountain House, the fee will be higher.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 291 feet

21. Overlook Mountain

Credit: rita murtagh / AllTrails

The Overlook Mountain Trail is an excellent area to explore as there are so many things to see. There are old hotel ruins, a plane crash, and a historic fire tower! This beautiful and unique area has so much to discover.

The old hotel ruins are notable as this was the first hotel built on the mountain in 1833! However, you will need to be careful as you approach the summit. As many reviewers have cautioned about rattlesnakes.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,397 feet

22. Walkway Over the Hudson

Credit: Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr

The Walkway Over the Hudson is a beautiful loop trail over two long bridges. In addition, these bridges will give you some stunning views of the Hudson River and the surrounding city.

This is a perfect trail for those that want to hike with their family. The trail surface is mostly paved concrete or asphalt. With most of the trail being in the gentle grade category at 5% or less.

Going counterclockwise will give you some steeper sections at 1.5, 2.6, 3.0 through 3.2, and 3.8 miles. Therefore, those using wheelchairs or mobility equipment may need assistance during these steeper sections.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4.0 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 492 feet

23. Sam's Point Ice Caves Trail

Sam's Point Ice Cave Trail is an easy and beautiful trail. The first part of the trail is paved, then it turns to dirt. The summer is the best time to visit. As the caves will provide some coolness on a hot sunny day!

This cave is truly beautiful to see. You will not want to miss it! Though, with that being said, you will need to make a reservation to visit this trail.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.3 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 531 feet

24. Storm King Trail

Credit: Adam Bronner / AllTrails

The Storm King Trail is a marvelous trail that can be done in either direction. When done clockwise, you will start with rock scrambling which is easier to do since you will be scrambling up the rocks.

T&T Tips: Wear proper shoes on this trail and download a map before you start because the trail is not well-marked.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.4 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 629 feet

25. Perkins Memorial Tower Observatory Loop

The Perkins Memorial Observatory Loop is located in Bear Mountain, New York. This trail will start by following the 1777 West Trail until you reach the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail will go towards the top of Bear Mountain. Additionally, at the summit of Bear Mountain, you will have a remarkable view of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania!

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.7 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 892 feet

26. Anthony's Nose

Credit: Patrick Alexander / Flickr

Anthony's Nose is one of the more challenging trails. As it requires a lot of rock scrambling. Though, all of the rock scrambling will be worth it! You will get stunning views of the surrounding hills nearby and the Hudson River.

You will start at the Appalachian Trail and turn right at the intersection. After a mile you will reach Anthony's Nose. Finally, you can continue past the two creek crossings and pass by Manitou Mountain to make the trail longer.

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 7.6 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 2,421 feet

27. Reeves Brook Loop Trail

Reeves Brook Loop Trail offers many stunning views and a bit of a challenge. Here, you will see some of the best views at Harriman State Park!

This trail has a lot to offer. From beautiful streams, waterfalls, and rock scrambling, there will undeniably be something for everyone to enjoy!

Many reviewers have recommended following this trail counterclockwise to get the best workout! As the rock scrambling can be challenging.

You will want to make sure you follow your map on this trail! Particularly because there are many trails that will take you off course.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.8 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 872 feet

28. High Peters Kill Trail

Peters Kill is a cascading stream located in Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Thus, it will be a perfect trail for a Sunday morning if you are looking for a bit of a challenge.

You will ascend through a wooded area of former fields and stone walls with ridge views. Subsequently, it is a pleasant hike filled with a quiet atmosphere.

Though, you will need to check the weather conditions for this trail. The park occasionally has seasonal closures.

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 6.5 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,643 feet

29. Bear Mountain Major Welch Trail

Credit: Jim Wroten

The Major Welch Trail is an alternate trail to hike up Bear Mountain. It will give you amazing views of the Hudson River along with the Perkins lookout tower at the peak.

This trail is quite challenging. The trail has a difficult scramble. Therefore, proper shoes will need to be worn when hiking this trail.

There is a fee per vehicle for those that are wanting to do this trail as well. Though, luckily if you are an Empire Passholder you can hike for free!

Difficulty: Challenging

Distance: 4.1 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,177 feet

30. Balsam Lake Fire Tower

The Balsam Lake Fire Tower will provide you with a 360-degree view of the beautiful surrounding mountainous area. Moreover, it is the seventeenth-highest peak located in the Catskill Mountains!

This tower is only open in the summer, so you will want to make your trip revolving around that. Furthermore, hiking in the later hours is especially rewarding as the night sky will be filled with stars to see.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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