Frequently Asked Questions

Huckleberry_235

Nobody actually asked me any of these questions, but if they did, here’s how I’d answer ’em:

1.  Why should I trust your trail directions?
2.  How did you come up with the scenery ratings?
3.  How did you come up with the difficulty ratings?
4.  What other resources would you recommend?
5.  Your writing sucks.  How can I avoid seeing more of it?
6.  Are you aware that there is a baby on your back?
7.  If something bad happens to me out there, can I sue you?
8.  What are all those funny markings on the trees?
9.  Is it appropriate to bring kids on these hikes?  Dogs?
10.  Why aren’t there more long hikes (5+ miles) listed on this site?
11.  Dude!  I found a mistake in one of your trail guides.  What gives?
12. Uh, why’d you do this?
13. Can we talk about photography?
14. Hey, these are all day hikes! What if I wanna sleep on dirt?
15. Did you make this page crash my Internet Explorer on purpose?
16. Dude, what happened to all the comment ratings?
17. Can I advertise here, or what?
18. Hey, where’d the forum go?


1.  Why should I trust your trail directions?

My name is Mike Todd, and I created all the trail guides on HiketheHudsonValley.com.  When I first moved to Poughkeepsie in 2000, I didn’t know a soul.  I’d just started interning at a little international computer company (you’ve probably never heard of it), and after work, I had absolutely nothing to do that didn’t involve a PlayStation2.  So I went to Barnes and Noble, bought a hiking guide, and started checking out some of the places around here.

I couldn’t believe what I found.  For me, growing up in southeast PA, hiking had always been something to do once a year, when my family went on vacation in Maine.  But in Poughkeepsie, you can drive less than an hour in any direction and arrive at a gorgeous new natural place to explore.  I still feel lucky every day to live in a place where you can go on vacation after work on a Tuesday and be home before dark.

Eventually, I started leading a weekly hiking group during the summers.  I did that for five years, and not a single person died the whole time.*  That’s why you should trust me.  Oh, and I got my Eagle Scout in high school, so I can also tie a bowline.**

*that I noticed
**no I can’t

Back to top


2.  How did you come up with the scenery ratings?

Some people might argue that it is impossible to assign a number to nature’s beauty, but all the hikes in Hike the Hudson Valley have been subjected to the Scientific Scenery Rating System, a rigorous set of tests that objectively determine a hike’s proper rating on a scale of 0 – 5 cameras.  If you don’t agree with any of these ratings, you’ll have to take it up with science.

Scientific Scenery Rating System
No Cameras Trail possibly booby trapped
Industrial waste somehow involved
Better than being inside
Not too shabby
You might text home about it
You might update your Facebook status about it
Dude, I can’t believe I forgot the camera
DUDE, I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT THE CAMERA!!!
Scenery knocks one sock off
Scenery knocks both socks off
Scenery literally makes love to your eyeballs*

* Yes, literally.


3.  How did you come up with the difficulty ratings?

The hikes on Hike the Hudson Valley are rated by difficulty on a scale of 1-10.  To help you better choose a hike with the difficulty level you’re looking for, here’s the Scientific Hike Difficulty Rating Scale I used to determine those numbers.

Scientific Hike Difficulty Rating Scale
0 You haven’t gotten out of bed yet.
1 Similar to the walk from the couch to the fridge.
2 Tingly sensation spreads across the lips.  Wait, no, that’s 2 peppers on a Thai menu.
3 Okay, this is starting to feel like a hike now.
4 Last safe number on which to bring friends who don’t like hiking.  Starting to feel a lot like exercise.
5 If you don’t break a sweat, you might be a cyborg and not even realize it.  Yet.
6 You owe yourself at least three slices of pizza after this.
7 This might hurt tomorrow.
8 And the next day.
9 And the day after that.
10 Would make Bear Grylls cry for his mommy.

Back to top


4.  What other resources would you recommend?

I)  The books that made the Mid-Hudson Valley come alive to me were two trail guides by Peggy Turco:

These books are fantastic and packed full of interesting information about the area.  I highly recommend them.

II)  I link to this site throughout Hike the Hudson Valley, but if you’re doing any hiking in CT, MA or eastern NY, BerkshireHiking.com is a fantastic resource with detailed, spot-on trail guides.

III)  Many of the hikes listed on Hike the Hudson Valley wouldn’t exist without the excellent work of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.  They have a nice online Trail Finder for New York.

**UPDATE 3/24/2014** Holy cow!  They have a new Find a Hike that is super-comprehensive and awesome, linking to their excellent online trail guides.  Highly recommended!

They also sell some fantastic waterproof, tear-resistant maps.  I got these as Christmas presents last year, and I really wish I hadn’t been too cheap to just buy them sooner.  They’re excellent:

There’s also a very limited subset of maps available to download for free.  But you should really buy some of their paper maps — if you like hiking around here, you need to have them.

Back to top


5.  Your writing sucks.  How can I avoid seeing more of it?

Great question!  For starters, the last thing you’d ever want to read is my weekly column, which runs in a few small newspapers outside of Philly, near where I grew up.  After those columns run in print, I post them on my blog at justhumormeweekly.wordpress.com, so you should definitely not click that link.

Otherwise, just shutting your eyes or closing your browser should do the trick.  Good luck!

Back to top


6.  Are you aware that there is a baby on your back?

AAAAAAHHH!!  Get it off me!  Get it off me!!!!

But seriously, this pack from Kelty (a gift from my awesome sister-in-law and her awesome husband) is the greatest thing in the universe.  When our son Evan was teething, he’d be cranky and going nuts.  Consequently, we’d all be going nuts.  But when I’d throw him in this thing and head out in the woods, he’d be happy all day long.  Taking Evan on hikes to preserve the sanity of our household is how I got back into hiking again, after taking a couple years off.  I can’t recommend this pack highly enough.

Back to top


7.  If something bad happens to me out there, can I sue you?  

I think a much better solution would be to avoid anything bad happening in the first place.  If you’re new to hiking, or even if you’re not, please take a moment to review these Day Hiking Guidelines (written for the Adirondacks, but good advice no matter where you hike) and these 10 hiking safety tips.  Following those tips will help limit your exposure to the risks inherent with heading out into the woods.  Hike the Hudson Valley is meant to show you some great places to visit, but it’s your responsibility to prepare and make good decisions out there.

I’ve taken care to make sure these trail guides are accurate, but I can’t guarantee that the trail conditions haven’t changed since my last visit, or that I didn’t say “turn left” when I meant to say “turn right.”  (If you find an error, please let me know so that I can update the page as quickly as possible.)

When online trail maps are available, I’ve linked to them in the write-ups.  I’ve tried my best to tell you everything you need to know to successfully complete each of these hikes, but it’s a good practice to always have a map with you before tromping off into the wild green yonder.

Back to top


8.  What are all those funny markings on the trees?

Just in case you played hooky on the day they explained how trail blazes work, here’s a handy-dandy graphic from the informative Wikipedia page on trail blazing:

Trail_blazes

You might see some variations on these markings, or a given trail might ignore them altogether, but it’s good to know these patterns as a rule of thumb.

Storm_King_00122 Depot_Hill_00427 Depot_Hill_00440

Back to top


9.  Is it appropriate to bring kids on these hikes?  Dogs?

For the majority of these hikes, yes, that would be a fantastic thing to do with your kids, assuming that you’ll watch them closely, and that you’ll choose a hike that matches their ability level (and that you’ll bring plenty of snacks and water).  In general, hikes rated a 5 or lower should be pretty friendly for most kids.

If you’re lugging a small child on your back, anything rated a 6 or higher on the difficulty scale should probably give you pause.  I’ve lugged my son Evan on my back on most of these hikes, and I’ve made note in the trail descriptions if there are any spots that would be difficult, dangerous or impossible with a kid on your back.

Almost all of the hikes described on this site allow dogs on leashes, with a few notable exceptions.  “Dogs on leashes” is the default, and I’ll make a note of it in the full trail guide if that’s not the case.

**UPDATE February 28, 2014** From the comments below, it seemed like it might be useful to go ahead and call the no-doggie hikes out by name.  Here’s a list of dog-questionable hikes:

Dog-hoisting required:
Breakneck Ridge
Indian Head Mt. & Twin Mt.
Sam’s Point (ice caves only, not waterfall trail)
Wittenberg Mountain

Dogs allowed but I think it’d be crazy to bring ‘em:
Bonticou Crag

Dogs not allowed:
Mohonk Mountain House
Constitution Marsh
Stissing Mountain
Silver Sands State Park

w00f!

Back to top


10.  Why aren’t there more long hikes (5+ miles) listed on this site?

One time in college, I took a bunch of friends on an expedition to Hawk Mountain in eastern Pennsylvania.  The hike ended up being an 11-mile round trip.  In the group photo at the end, every person in the picture was giving me the finger.

Some people enjoy hiking ten miles in a day.  Most people don’t.  For me, 3-5 miles is the sweet spot, getting some good exercise and seeing some nice sights.  Too much less, and it feels like you didn’t even get started.  Too much more, and the fun-to-blister ratio starts to skew in the wrong direction.

Some hikes need to be longer to make sure you see what there is to see.  But in general, if I have a choice, I’ll try to keep it in the 3-5 mile range, and let you know if there are options to do more, should you be one of those people who sweats Power Gel and keeps a Clif Bar in an ankle holster.

Back to top


11.  Dude!  I found a mistake in one of your trail guides.  What gives?

First, thank you for phrasing that as a question.  Second, please, please, please, send me an email so that I can correct the error.  I write the trail guides with a light-hearted style, but I take the accuracy of those directions very seriously.  I’ve been lost in the woods with a crappy trail guide before, and I know how terrible that feeling is, and how dangerous it can be.  I’ve made every effort to be accurate and clear with my write-ups, but if there is an error, or you couldn’t figure out which way to go based on the words I used, or a trail condition has changed, I want to know about it and get it corrected as soon as possible.

I consider the user reviews for this book to be a cautionary tale.

Back to top


12.  Uh, why’d you do this?

When my friends would ask me about places to hike around the Hudson Valley, I thought, man, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a site that had all the information you needed?  Then I could just send people a link and they could explore all these hikes for themselves.  I couldn’t find a site like that for this area, so I thought it would be a fun project to create one.  Launching Hike the Hudson Valley has combined all the things I love to do in my spare time: hiking, writing, taking pictures and wasting time on the Internet.  I hope it’s a useful resource for you.

Back to top


13. Can we talk about photography?

Someone actually asked me a question!  I know, I don’t really believe it, either.  But let’s take a look anyway:

Hi. I’m a big fan of your site and the Facebook page. Thank you for providing such a fantastic (and entertaining) resource. As a hiker, and an aspiring amateur photographer, I find particular inspiration in the amazing images that you’ve put online. Would it be possible for you to share maybe some tips for those of us who want to take our DSLR with us on the trail, maybe a particular type of lens (or lenses) that you consider essential for great hiking and nature/landscape photography, or type of tripod (if any) that you recommend, or equipment bags and carrying methods?

Thanks,
Mike Arcigal

Oh, I wouldn’t call the images AMAZING, but you know, if you want to call them that, then I’ll just have to reproduce your words verbatim and put them on my website.  And capitalize the word AMAZING in case anyone missed it.

Really, thank you, Mike, for the very kind words and flattering question (and permission to reproduce your words here).  I shall attempt to give a non-terrible answer.

Let’s start with the easy stuff – gear recommendations.  I’m usually lugging a child on my back, so I try to keep the gear to a minimum.  The essentials:

1)  Tripod.  You need this to get yourself in the shot, but also to take waterfall pics or low-light shots, where the shutter needs to stay open longer.  I have two tripods:

– A GorillaPod.  This thing lets you set up the camera pretty much anywhere, as long as you have a rock or a tree or something to attach it to (you can shoot from about six inches off the ground, too, if that’ll work for you).  I used it to take these shots:

– A Zipshot.  A full-size tripod that weighs next-to-nothing.  I just got this recently, but man, it’s nice to have a full-size hiking tripod that you can set up in two seconds, and tilt the head for landscape and portrait shots.  I don’t have any winners taken with it so far, but I hope to have some soon.  I’m thinking my GorillaPod just got demoted.

2)  Remote control.  Great for firing the shutter from several feet away, and for taking long-exposure shots without your sausage fingers rocking the camera when you press the shutter button (which will make everything blurry).   You can attach the remote to the camera strap so you always have it.  Say cheese!

3)  Polarizing filter.  Want blue skies?  You need a polarizer.

4)  Lenses.  For hiking, I just use the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera.  It’s fine for landscape shots and outdoor people pictures, and it’s compact and light.  If I’m not toting a kid on my back, I’ll also bring the 55-300mm zoom, on the off chance I get close enough to a critter to take a shot.

A zoom lens also lets you create a different take on the view in front of you.

Without zoom (18mm):

With zoom (300mm) – here’s a shot of the peak just to the left of the bird in the above pic:

For indoor shots and people pictures, I highly recommend getting a nice, quick prime (fixed focal length) lens.  I have two, 60mm and a 35mm, and they’re awesome.  Much better at grabbing low-light shots without a flash, and people pictures just look better with them.  The 35mm f/1.8 is one of the cheapest lenses Nikon makes (it’s 200 bones or so).  When I’m in the house, it’s always on my camera.

5)  For carrying the camera, I just have a simple $20 camera bag with a belt loop that I wear on my backpack’s waist strap.  You can kinda see it here:

If I don’t have the big kid-carrying backpack on, I just throw the camera bag into a regular bookbag-style bag.

6)  Add-on flash!  On my old Nikon D40, the pop-up flash broke, and it was the best thing that ever happened to my indoor photographs.  This really has nothing to do with hiking photography, but I couldn’t write all this stuff without mentioning the add-on flash.  Fancy people call them speedlights.  I have the simplest Nikon one you can buy (the Nikon SB-400), and it has made my on-board flash completely obsolete.  I don’t know why they make onboard flashes so crappy, but even on my new camera (a Nikon D5100) with a functioning flash, I can’t bring myself to use it anymore.  Here’s why.

Onboard flash:

SB-400 speedlight, pointed up to bounce the flash off the ceiling:

See what I mean?  It just makes everything better.  It’s the #1 piece of general photography gear that I’d recommend, even though it won’t really do diddly for your outdoor pictures.

7)  Crap, I’ve spent a lot of money on camera stuff.

 

For non-gear-related tips, honestly, I shouldn’t be dispensing advice.  Two confessions that I’m ashamed to make: I almost always shoot in full-auto mode, unless I’m trying to do something specific with depth-of-field (in which case I’ll shoot in aperture priority) or shutter speed (then it’s shutter priority).  I mean, dude, the engineers at Nikon know what they’re doing.  Who am I to override them?  Plus, I usually have a kid on my back, and if I stop for more than three seconds, he’ll start screaming.  I can’t be futzing with the settings for every shot.  So there.  I confessed.  Oh, also, I shoot in JPG, not RAW, which further disqualifies me.  17MB per picture?  I don’t think so.  The highest resolution JPGs (more like 6MB) are good enough for me, and they blow up to an 8×10 no problem.  Serious photographers shoot in manual mode, and they shoot in RAW.  That’s why I’m a picture-taker, not a photographer.

But given that disclaimer, here’s some advice anyway.  What the heck.

1)  Take 17 bazillion pictures.  They’re free!  Go buck wild.  If there’s action going on, set the shutter to burst mode so it’ll keep firing while you hold the shutter button down.  If I go for an all-day hike, I might come home with 900 pictures.  From those, I’ll hope to have 10 or 15 winners.

Most of them come out like this:

But a few come out like this:

2)  If you haven’t already read up on photo composition, here’s a nice primer.  The rule of thirds (the first one in the list) is probably the most commonly known, and it really does help to keep that one in mind as a nice rule of thumb.

3)  Post-processing.  I used to think that doing anything to your photos after they came out of your camera was cheating.   My buddy Jeff, who is an awesome photographer, explained it to me this way: What comes out of the camera is a rough draft.  Don’t go nuts making it look like something it wasn’t – just use some available tools to make the viewer see the image the way you saw it.

The Poughkeepsie Journal used the above image for a local magazine cover.  If I hadn’t monkeyed with it in Lightroom, not sure it would have jumped out at them.  Now that I’m looking at it, maybe they monkeyed with it some, too?  Hey, yeah, their version looks a little more natural.  I like it.

The photo editing tools in Picasa are a nice way to get started – Picasa is free and lets you do some pretty cool stuff.  After that, you’ll need to drop some dollars on some more industrial-strength software.  I use Lightroom (thanks to my awesome wife who gave it to me for my birthday), but I’m pretty much a neophyte just twiddling around with the sliders until it looks hopefully not worse than when I started.  For my best shots, I’ll also put them through Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro, which is basically a collection of filters.  You can rarely go wrong with the skylight filter for landscapes – nice and subtle.  I hear Aperture is a pretty righteous program, too.

Now that I’ve dabbled in some photo post-processing, I’ve come to agree with Jeff.  If you’re showing people the images that came directly out of your camera, you’re showing them a rough draft.

Okay, that’s enough out of me.  I hope all of this was helpful, Mike!  Thanks again for the very kind question.

Anyone else have some good tips, links or gear recommendations?  Email them to me and I’ll post ‘em here (giving attribution to you, of course.  Unless you give like, really good advice, in which case I’ll pretend it was mine.)

Update 4/28/2013: Thanks to Julian Diamond of Julian Diamond Photography (see Julian’s Facebook page and web site) for offering some more tips!  Here’s some goodness from a Facebook comment by Julian:

Just wanted to say your photo discussion is very solid, in my humble, marginally professional opinion! A few broad ideas I agree with: pack light (kit lenses are great for daytime hikes, but I went ahead and bought the Sigma 10-20 too… you can get significantly more terrain in your shots, and it really works to emphasize views. Reasonably cheap, too); don’t get worked up over keeping your final images true-to-sensor, as processing is truly part of the creative process; and 3 or 4 outstanding shots out of 100 is very good in hiking-type conditions. Sure, if I have easy access to a prime location, I have every lens I own with me, and I know what to expect for lighting, I can more-or-less control my results. But out-and-about hiking requires plenty of exposures to produce a handful of nice looking images. The one thing I might suggest to an aspiring trail photographer is to get in the habit of considering your compositions out in the field. Many times I’ve shot an awesome scene, only to get home and kick myself for not including more or less of that tree/rock/creek in the frame. You can’t ever guarantee you’ll be happy with your work, but if it helps you nail one more shot every day, it’s worth putting some thought into every snap.

Update 4/29/2013: More excellent advice from an excellent photographer!  Thank you, Michael O’Donnell, for taking the time to share all of this.  I hope that people will visit your Facebook page and web site after they’ve read the following excellent tips, which I plan to review again before my next outing:

I could probably write 10,000 words or so but I’ll exercise some restraint and keep it under 9,000.

Gear: Take it slow on gear — the best approach is to simply start with what you have.  Shoot with you current gear until you reach some kind of limitation (or limitations), then address those limitations specifically.
 
The natural assumption when considering “better” photos is an SLR, but in a hiking context you have to consider size and weight.  Let’s say you currently shoot with your smartphone or a point-and-shoot and are considering the jump to a big boy.  Before buying, try this exercise on your next hike: pick up a nice-sized rock and place it in your bag.  For each extra lens you are considering pick up another rock.  Add another rock for your tripod.  If you’re shedding rocks during your hike an SLR is not for you, at least not for you when hiking.  That isn’t mean to discourage.  Nothing is more important than being in the right place at the right time so make sure your gear doesn’t get in the way.
 
I usually carry a full-frame (i.e. large) SLR, wide angle zoom, 50mm prime, 105mm macro lens, filter system, and tripod on my dedicated photo hikes.  It’s a lot of gear, but photos are my #1 priority in these cases.  If I’m out with the family I’ll just carry the camera with one lens mounted.
 
Composition: This is it.  The most important element and most difficult to master.
 
Where I see many photos go wrong is a lack of simplicity.  Start with a single element: what initially attracted you to the scene.  Feature that element.  From there add elements that enhance your primary subject and have a reason for every new item you add to the scene.  If you don’t know why you’re adding that tree to the scene, keep it out.  It’s not always that simple because natural scenes are generally quite chaotic but do your best to keep it simple.  Remember that while you are standing there taking in an entire scene with all 5 senses your viewer is engaged, eyes-only, with a 2D medium.  Focus their attention.
 
Next, consider balance.  Are the elements, shapes, and lines in your photo in balance?  Think of a see-saw — would the left half of your photo balance with the right half (in terms of visual weight)?  When asking the balance question think left-right, up-down, and corner-to-corner.
 
Lastly, the edges!  Scan the edges of your frame.  Do you have elements touching the edge, awkwardly cut-off, or random branches jutting into the scene?  Get them out of there.  Keep your edges clean.
 
Timing: You will read and hear that all good landscape photos are taken at or near sunrise and sunset.  I’d love to tell you that is a silly “rule” that is begging to be broken, but, damn, it’s true.  The light at those times is simply better, for three primary reasons: the color is superior, the light has direction, and the light is less intense.
 
It sounds really hard and from a general life perspective, it is.  From a photography perspective it’s actually easy.  All you have to do is show up.  Great light has a way of making great shots obvious.  Want to know what is really hard?  Make a great shot at 1pm.  That takes a masterful level of skill.
 
Here are the two biggest problems with sunrise/sunset shots: you’ll need a tripod and you may have to hike in the dark.
 

Settings: Settings for lanscape shots are actually pretty simple, assuming you have a tripod.  The tripod simplifies life because it makes shutter speed largely irrelevant.  ISO is even simpler: shoot at the lowest ISO your camera offers (usually ISO 100 or 200).  When you raise ISO you compromise image quality.  That leaves aperture, and ideal aperture is a complex issue, but f/11 will rarely be wrong.

Back to top


14. Hey, these are all day hikes! What if I wanna sleep on dirt?

One benefit of living in the Hudson Valley is that you can choose between zillions of awesome day hikes, rock one out, then go eat a large pizza, watch some Netflix and collapse in your bed at night, which is generally how I roll.  So I’m not an expert on camping in the area, but here are a few helpful pointers:

If anyone else has some awesome local knowledge they’d like to drop on the rest of us, please do so in the comments or in the forum, and I’ll keep updating this answer. Thanks!

Back to top


15. Did you make this page crash my Internet Explorer on purpose?

No, I sure didn’t! One day in late 2015, every page on hikethehudsonvalley.com started crashing in Internet Explorer. I don’t know why this is happening, and my searches for quick fixes aren’t yielding too many results at the moment. It appears to be happening solely in Internet Explorer — every other browser is rocking and rolling just fine. I wish I had more time to devote to squashing this problem, and it’ll be on my to-do list as long as it’s an issue. Thanks for the hassle, Bill Gates! (And my apologies to anyone who hit this issue — which obviously isn’t you, since you’re reading this. But if you hear someone cursing my name, please direct them to try Firefox, or Chrome, or literally any other browser in the whole world.)

**UPDATE 2017** The problem magically fixed itself!  Hooray!  Happy browsing, people who are still using Internet Explorer for some reason!

Back to top


16. Dude, what happened to all the comment ratings?

Sometime in 2015, I added the capability to give a “thumbs up” to comments across hikethehudsonvalley.com, only running about a decade behind Facebook. It worked swimmingly, until one day in February 2016, when an update to that plugin crashed the entire site. I wrote to the author for help, but he didn’t reply (it’s a free plugin, so, you know, I can’t complain too much). I had no choice but to scrap the plugin and all the ratings it had saved to that point.

On the plus side, a new plugin installed on March 3, 2016, seems to be even better than the old one, with the only drawback being that we lost all the saved “thumbs” ratings. So please give a thumbs-up to helpful, funny, and/or kind comments across the site, and we’ll start boosting everyone’s self-esteem again. Sorry for the loss of all the old ratings.  I’m bummed about it, too.

Back to top


17. Can I advertise here, or what?

If you’re a local businessperson who’d like to advertise on this site, let’s chat about how we might be able to do that in a way that benefits everyone, including the awesome hikers who are entrusting us with their retinas. I’ve tried to implement ads on this site in a thoughtful way, and I’d love to make the site more useful by replacing some of the generated ads with local ads for awesome local stuff and services.

In my fantasy, tired, hungry hikers wander back to their cars after a long, awesome day, head to the restaurant right near the trailhead, and get some free garlic knots for mentioning the ad they saw on hikethehudsonvalley.com. Everybody wins!

Drop me a line if you’re interested and we’ll work it out. Thanks!

Back to top


18. Hey, where’d the forum go?

I removed the forum from the main navigation at the top of each page, mainly because nobody was using the forum anymore. Hey, it was worth a shot! I replaced it with a Leave No Trace page, which I hope will be more useful to people. You can still access the forum at this link. Maybe you’ll be the one to revive it!

Back to top


Search HiketheHudsonValley.com:

123 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Hey! Kent Falls in Kent CT which is about ten minutes from where I live in Amenia NY is a nice small hike to add to your list!

    1
  2. Hey Mike – first of all thanks for this amazing resource! Great info and an inspiring todo list 🙂 I was wondering if you know of a similar resource for backcountry skiing? Or which of these hikes you have listed here have good options for some downhill when we get enough white fluffy stuff. Thanks!

    0
    • Hi, Daniela! I’m afraid I’ve only tried to go skiing once since I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley, and didn’t realize the mountain was closed for the day until we rolled into the parking lot. So I’m 0 for 1 to date. If you have tracked down a good resource, I’m sure other folks would be interested to see it. Sorry I’m not more help!

      0
  3. Hi! First, I love your site! I’ve used it a bunch when researching a bunch of hikes I went on last summer. Unfortunately, I am a lover of the full-day hike (8+ miles) and hater of camping; thus I’ve had to branch out from the meager trails of Stamford, CT for better and longer hikes!

    But, my question is—given that I am driving 1.5–2 hours for these hikes—do you have any tips on how to read the weather to see if it’ll be worth it? I.e., I don’t want to drive so far and get to top and not be able to see anything. Obviously, if it’s heavily forecasted for rain, it’s a no-go for me. I’m in it for the workout and the view! I’ve been really lucky so far and have had great views on all my hikes.

    Just wondering if there were any key things to look at to make my decision! Thanks so much for your time!

    0
    • Hi Sarah! I’d have to second Jeff’s advice on the Hudson Valley Weather guys — they give the most detailed, accurate forecasts for the area. Otherwise, looking for low humidity will help — very humid, hazy days can squelch a good view. Some of the best views happen on days where the clouds just happen to break the right way at the right time, and you can’t really plan for that other than just to put yourself in the right place enough times that you get lucky every now and again. Sounds like you’re already doing that — hope you continue having some great adventures and some great views out there!

      0
  4. Hi Mike,

    I hope you’re well. I was wondering if there’s anyway to separate available hikes for public transport users?

    I’m obsessed with you and your blog and want to use you as a guide but I live in NYC without a car or access to one most of the time.

    Please let me know if there’s anyway you could sort out some hikes you know I could get to without getting lost transferring between the metro-north and busses?

    I would be so grateful.

    Best,
    Chelsea

    0
    • Hey, Chelsea! Thanks so much for the kind words. I’ve gotten this question fairly often, and I’m afraid I’m just not a very good resource on public transportation options to most of these hikes because I always just drive to the trailhead. I tried to get something going in the now-defunct Forum a while back: http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/forum/hiking-without-wheels/. But that’s, you know, now-defunct.

      One thought that your comment has sparked — what if I created a page on the main nav (right next to “Leave no trace”) called “Have no car”? People could leave tips and comments when they discover a good way to get to a trailhead via public transit, then I could update the corresponding trail guide(s) with that information. Think that would help at all?

      2
      • Mike,

        Yes! That would be so helpful.

        I really want to hike as many of these as I can, but not having a car makes it difficult to plan.

        0
  5. I’m trying to get a friend who is a friend of heights into hiking. Is there a hike that you’d recommend. She’s very sporty and capable, just can’t be scrambling over rocks or looking over a cliff.

    0
    • Hi there! Maybe Bull Hill? That’s a very nice hike with views and no cliffs. Huckleberry Point, Rand’s View, Black Rock Forest, Constitution Marsh, and Bash Bish Falls would all be good choices, too. Hope that helps, and I hope you have some nice hikes with your favorite acrophobic adventurer!

      1
  6. Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much for the great hiking resource.
    I wonder what app/GPS do you use to create the Google Terrain Map of hike route.

    Thanks,

    0
    • Hi Will,

      Thanks for the kind words! I use a Garmin eTrex to gather the data and mark waypoints while I’m on the hike. The file that comes out of the device is in GDB format. I use the Garmin Basecamp program (it’s free) to make minor adjustments (like renaming waypoints), then export the file in KML format. Google Maps lets you import that KML file to create the new map, then you can adjust settings in Google Maps from there to make the map look the way you want (show waypoint labels, pick the color and width of your track line, choose Terrain Map as the background, etc.). It took a fair amount of twiddling around in Google Maps to get them looking right, but now it’s pretty quick — let me know if you have any issues if you give it a whirl. Hope that helps!

      0
  7. Hi! It is entirely possible that I don’t know where to look, but all the info I can find online about winter hikes in this area are for less-intrepid, possibly kid-laden people. I’ve got the appropriate gear and the will to do something a bit more ambitious, even/especially in the snow, but would appreciate some guidance and recommendations.

    Thanks!

    1
  8. Hi! I really appreciate your write-ups! I moved to Poughkeepsie area a year ago and have done probably 6 hikes off your page. 🙂 you may be interested to know that Scenic Hudson just (October 2016) opened a new park in the Esopus area – High Banks Preserve. I haven’t hiked it yet but I hear its 3 miles of trails are pretty great!

    http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/highbanks

    (full disclosure, I work for Scenic Hudson, but not in the Parks division)

    0
    • Thanks so much, Alicia! I visited that site with my sons on its opening weekend, and I will absolutely write it up (most likely over the winter – I have a couple other write-ups already in the queue). Thanks for all the great work from you and your colleagues at Scenic Hudson – you all make the Hudson Valley a better place to live (and explore)!

      0
  9. Hi Mike – I was wondering where YOU might suggest hiking (after dark) to see the November Supermoon rise on Sunday the 13th. I have a hiking Meetup and would very much like to put a group hike together to witness this “largest appearing moon that won’t happen again until 2034”.
    Preferably somewhere that is on the easier side, don’t want to rock scramble in the dark.
    Thanks!
    Jamie

    0
    • I know you were asking Mike but I figured I would chime in here. When there was the super moon and total lunar eclipse happening at the same time (I think that was last year or the year before) I watched it from the Mount Beacon Fire Tower and the view was great. And you don’t have to go all the way to the fire tower either. There is a big open area at the top that is just as good to watch from. The fire tower is about another 20 minutes from that point and does have a bit of a increase in difficulty once you get almost to the fire tower.

      I also went with a group from Meetup.com so I wasn’t hiking alone. They were very friendly and everyone looked out for one another both up and down. They are doing another hike to the tower for the super moon on Sunday. If interested, you can check out the event here http://meetu.ps/e/C9qpb/gS8cs/d The meet up says full but if you just show up I’m sure you will be able to catch up with someone to hike with you. You could alternately just check out Mike”s writeup on the Mount Beacon hike and follow his guide. Hope this helps.

      0
      • Thanks for the great suggestion, Jason! Another good spot would be Mt. Overlook (though it is a tough hike) — it’s a gorgeous overlook, and the hike back down is mostly on a wide gravel road, so not so many roots and rocks to worry about. I watched a moonrise from there many years ago, and it still sticks with me. We barely needed the flashlights on the hike down, and turned them off entirely for much of it. Hope this helps, Jamie – enjoy the supermoon!

        1
  10. HELP!
    I hiked Mt Beacon 2 wks ago & took a map/pamphlet. It shows a parking lot by Sunnyside Rd where you can hike the Overlook Trail & stop at Fishkill Ridge Trail & go back or continue on it or up to Lams Hill… Why cant I find any info on just doing Overlook Trail from Sunnyside Rd to maybe Fishkill ? How many miles? Is it steep or???
    Also if I did want to do Fishkill Ridge Trail where is parking?
    I am looking for a little challenge -nothing more difficult than Mt Beacon Casino Trail to Fire Tower & nothing over about 4 miles….. Any info would be much appreciated! THANKS

    0
  11. So glad I found this site! Is there any possibilities of actually becoming a member to this sites so that users can receive alerts/update emails?

    1
  12. Hi Mike! I’m looking for a hike with sweeping views of the hudson valley for a family, but that are not to far from the town of Hudson.
    Any recommendations?
    Thanks a lot in advance 🙂
    Agathe

    0
    • I hear Harrier Hill is a nice family-friendly hike, though I’ve never been there. Olana also has beautiful views of the river and some nice hiking trails, which are on my list to explore one of these days. Hope that helps!

      0
  13. Just hiked Schunemunk with your trail guide in my hand. Many thanks!
    This was our second mountain in our families new addiction, we did French Mountain in Lake George in August.

    We’re hoping to hike Slide mountain next month, but you didn’t give us an excellent trail guide yet!!!

    What guide will you follow when you get to Slide?

    The Kench family
    Long Island, NY

    1
    • Thank you so much, Hal! (Great shot, too.) Slide is on my list, but the views are apparently pretty overgrown, so it hasn’t been my highest priority. I just did Hunter Mountain via Becker Hollow last week, and it was amazing. I’ll work on the guide for it over the winter. As for Slide, this is the route I would try: http://catskillmountaineer.com/SMW-slide.html

      Happy trails to you and your family!

      Mike

      0
  14. Hi Mike!

    I just found your website and this is awesome. Thank You! We have a 6 month old puppy that literally looks just like yours from what I can tell in photos (but he’s already almost 50 pounds, so maybe a little bigger). I’m going through the different hikes you’ve been on (I originally came for breakneck but worried about the climbing with him – some of those looked crazy steep on the climbs, and he’s hard to lift while balancing). We’ve done a few hikes already, in the 5-6 mile range over on the Harriman side, but won’t have a car this weekend. Do you have a hike you can recommend from mass transit I can look at that we’d be able to do with the dog (He’s a better hiker than me, so it can go difficult, but maybe not high vertical climbs)?

    Thanks,
    Kelly

    0
    • Hi Kelly! Sounds like a great pooch you’ve got there. I’m afraid I’m not much help when it comes to mass transit – perhaps a stroll from the Cold Spring station to Bull Hill and Little Stony Point? It adds some distance, but should be doable. This article is a good resource, too: Top Summer Hikes for Car-Free New Yorkers

      Hope that helps!

      0
  15. Hey Mike,

    I have been using your guides to determine which new locations to hike. I have already went to 4 locations this year and I absolutely loved the Monhonk Mountain House/Labyrinth/Lemon Squeeze.

    Just want to thank you for doing this for everyone else to enjoy

    1
    • Thanks, Eduardo! I’ve never flown a drone before, but assuming they can be flown without buzzing so much that they ruin everyone else’s natural buzz, I think any of these hikes would have cool and unique views to explore aerially.

      0
    • I was at a crowded Bear Mt. this summer when two guys had their drone flying. It was equal parts cool and distracting. My advice would be to keep the flight short if there are a lot of people around. Because even those of us who thought It was cool got tired of the loud buzzing. If no one’s around, let it fly. Anthony’s nose would probably be pretty interesting with the river and bridge. Schunemunk would also be impressive, to see the monoliths from the air.

      0
  16. Love your site! Thank you for taking the time to share your adventures.

    Do you know of an app to that tracks actual miles traveled on hike with heavy elevation changes? My apps seem to only track satellite miles…2D miles.

    Coming down the Casino trail from the fire tower to Beacon, other hikers claimed it was a 4-4.5 mile hike up. My app tracked it at 1.6 miles one-way. I had just hiked over to the fire tower from the Breakneck trail head in Cold Spring and when asked, told them I traveled 4.7 miles, according to the app.

    Planning to hike from Cold Spring to Beacon and back via the Breakneck, Wilkinson, Casino, Fishkill, and Notch trails. I would really love to get more accurate distance data. I’ve been told to buy a pedometer. Do you have any suggestions?

    0
    • Hi Shadow! I use a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx that I got in 2011 (so it’s probably long obsolete), and it’s how I gather all the distance/altitude data I put in these guides. It’s not always exactly on the money, but it seems to give pretty reliable numbers. There are many similar models now that would most likely be useful to you as well. If you’re looking for accurate stats, picking up a hiking GPS would be a good investment — I’ve enjoyed having this one. Hope that helps!

      Mike

      0
  17. Your site is what got me into hiking almost 2 years ago and now I want to try and see if I can complete the Catskill 3500. I see you have done writeups on a few of those mountains. Do you plan on doing more? Is there a way for you to mark up the ones you’ve already done with some kind of symbol next to them to better help me find the hikes that are part of that club rather than me jumping back and forth between your page and the official least? Or is there a better site out there that is like yours that only focuses on those hikes and would be better for me to use instead? Have you yourself competed the Catskill 3500 and if so what advice can you give for someone who is thinking about trying it themselves? And if you haven’t yet, are you looking for a buddy? 😉 Thanks.

    1
    • Thanks so much the nice comment, Jason! I only have a handful of the 3500′ peaks documented on this site: Wittenberg, Panther, Overlook, Indian Head & Twin, and, dang, is that it? I better get cracking! Sigh, I just checked, and Overlook isn’t even one of them. Sorry to be so lame.

      I actually work with a former president of the Catskill 3500 Club, and I asked him what resources he’d recommend. He pointed me to the homepage: http://www.catskill-3500-club.org/

      He also told me that they try to do volunteer-led hikes to each of the 3500′ peaks every quarter! I had no idea. From their homepage, you can download one free copy of their newsletter, The Canister. In that newsletter, you’ll find a schedule with a TON of guided hikes. Sounds like you’re an aspirant now — good luck becoming a member!

      0
      • Well I’m not an aspirant until I officially register to be one which I am going to do soon. Thanks for the website. Although after much searching I came across that one myself. I just love your guides so much and had hoped you had done more or were planning to do more soon in the Catskills. I guess I’ll have to register for the canister and hop on to those guide hikes then.

        0
        • I do plan to keep chipping away at them, but it will be a while before I can get any more of them documented. Really glad to hear that my guides have been useful for you, and I’ll try to bump some more 3500′ hikes onto the list this year. Thanks for the motivation!

          0
  18. Hi there.

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH. I grew up in NH and now live in NYC and miss having off the beaten path hikes to go on that I know of and can actually get to in a day. I hiked Rands View and honestly it was one of the best hikes I have done in years and years. You really made my day (and my dogs!) and I just want to let you know that this website truly is such a gem, thanks for sharing the beauty of the Hudson Valley with the larger world and trusting that those of us who hike it will take care of it.

    All the best,
    Rebekah

    1
    • Hi Ron – I’d check out “The Hikes” page and search on “waterfall” — if the description has the word “honking” or “huge” in it, that’s probably a good one to start with. Plenty of great options, though you might find them starting to slow down to a relative trickle at this time of year, unless you can visit after a good rainfall. Hope that helps – happy adventuring! http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/the-hikes/

      0
  19. Hi!
    I love your website, there’s so much information, and I like how “casually,” “user-friendly” everything is written. Very down to earth, a pleasure to read through.

    I’m looking to book a weekend upstate, we live on Long Island, for my boyfriend’s birthday. We went for a “hike” last weekend in Suffolk County. I thought a weekend upstate “hiking” would be nice. I use ” ” around hiking bc we’re not looking to go rock climbing or anything dangerous.

    I was hoping you could suggest a trail for us. Here’s what I’m looking for:
    A train that is mild in difficulty, I’ve only gone hiking twice — once was last weekend, the 1st time was in a rainforest in Puerto Rico…which was more of a stroll.
    I’m starting to get more into photography — so scenic is ideal, maybe a waterfall. I’d love to snap some great shots.
    Not be more than 30-40mins from our hotel/resort

    Any feedback you can provide me would be great!! Thank you!

    1
    • Hi Michelle – so sorry for the late response here! I’d recommend perusing “The Hikes” page (http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/the-hikes/) and checking out all of the hikes with five-camera scenery ratings. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Choose one with the difficulty level you’re looking for and/or the right proximity to wherever you choose to stay, and you’ll be off and running. Hope that helps, and I also hope your boyfriend’s birthday hasn’t happened yet 🙂

      Happy adventuring!

      Mike

      0
  20. Hi,

    You have an awesome website, Both myself and my manager use your website for our personal adventures as well as inexpensive adventures for our campers. We are having Community Day on Saturday July 18th, raindate July 19th. We were wondering if you would be interested in obtaining a booth were you could show off your awesome website, the booth would be free.

    Check out http://www.beekmanrec.com/info/activities/program_details.aspx?ProgramID=17677

    Thanks again for keeping such a great site available. Hope to meet you on July 18th.

    Dani Palstini

    1
    • Dani,

      I know it didn’t work out last time, but I hope you’ll keep me in mind for future events! Thanks so much for the kind words, and for reaching out with such a nice offer.

      0
  21. Hi–

    I saw the article about you in the newspaper yesterday and I’m checking out your wonderful website. I hope to go on several hikes this summer–so thank you for all this great info.

    I also wanted to ask–does any part of the hike in the Minnewaska State Preserve go past the old Ski Minne rockshelter that was once excavated by New Paltz and Vassar? I cannot find a map showing how to get there. Everything says just “west of Trapps Gap.”

    Thanks,

    Regina Clarke
    Rhinebeck, NY

    0
  22. Awesome job. I haven’t done any of these yet but hope to soon. Keep up the good work .. love your little comments …. makes reading the reports a lot of fun.

    0
  23. Embarking on my first Hudson Valley hiking excursion tomorrow and this site was really useful (fun and easy to navigate, at that.) We decided on Storm King -for distance and, who are we kidding, the name.

    Keep it up! Thanks!

    0
  24. Hey! Oh how I wish I found this website my freshman year! So few weekends available before I graduate! Haha. I really enjoy your website! It’s really well done with a lot of detail. It’s just what I need to get back into hiking after a few years off the trails. Thanks!

    0
  25. I thoroughly enjoy your site. I just used it last week to hike Mount Beacon to the fire tower. I saw in your FAQ that you said you hiked a lot with your son. I have a 6 month old son that I really want to start taking on hikes/walks and get him used to the outdoors. That pack you have looks awesome but I just don’t have the money for it right now. I do have a Baby Bjorn where I wear him in the front. Based on your experiences, what tips or advice can you give me? Like what ages are good to start taking him with me and for his current age what places would you recommend I take him in. Thanks.

    0
    • Awesome, Jason! I started hiking with both of my sons when they were about nine months old — they need to be old enough to have pretty good neck control, especially if they’ll be sitting in a pack that doesn’t provide neck support. One piece of advice I’ll give is to use a hiking pole or two. It helps you keep your balance and makes everyone safer. (This is coming from a guy who took a header while wearing my son on my back – it can happen really fast. If I’d been using a hiking pole, it wouldn’t have happened. We lucked out that time – I got a bloody nose, but my son didn’t have a scratch.)

      This time of year, a pack that holds the baby against your skin (or with just a fabric layer between the two of you) is going to be like hiking with a furnace strapped to you. Just something to keep in mind.

      I’d recommend keeping it to the lighter, shorter hikes — a 3 or a 4 out of 10 to get started, building up to bigger adventures. Hope this all is helpful. Happy adventures!

      0
    • For a baby-carrying pack, check out craig’s list and local resale shops. Every kid eventually outgrows the pack! For instance, there is a good resale shop in Dobbs Ferry where I have seen baby-packs in the past. You can often call these places and ask. Happy hiking!

      0
  26. So glad I found your page! The pics of the hikes give me a better idea of what to expect and I like that.
    Thank you so much.
    See you on the trail!
    Rita

    0
  27. Thanks so much for the information; I recently moved back to NY from HI and would love to continue hiking! I love the site and am excited to start hiking some of these trails in the summer. I have one question, do you know how I can find out of there are any tent camping sites anywhere near some of the hikes that are closer to NYC? (i.e Anthony’s Nose, Lemon Squeezer, Black Rock Forest, ETC.)? Thanks for any help you can give me!

    Katie

    0
    • Hi Katie – welcome back to NY! For camping closer to the city, I know that there are some shelters in Harriman State Park, and one that is close to the route given in the Lemon Squeezer guide, but I’ve never camped there and am not too sure on the specifics (though this site looks like a good resource: http://www.myharriman.com/overnight-camping-in-harriman-state-park/). There are also a ton of great spots in the Catskills, where you can camp anywhere you’d like, as long as you’re below 3500′ and at least 150′ off the trail — guidelines here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7872.html. Your best bet for camping anywhere near Anthony’s Nose would be to look up the Appalachian Trail shelters – there are some in/near Peekskill: http://www.hikerhostel.com/shelterlist.php. Sorry I’m not an expert on camping around here – I generally just fire up day hikes, but I hope all this is helpful!

      0
    • Hi, Karina! I’d be really surprised if it is – we still have some patches of snow around here, and I would expect that the Lemon Squeeze will still be impassable. The phone number I gave in the trail guide is the best source of information I know of for the timing of the opening – though you may also want to try calling Mohonk until you speak with a human. Sorry that’s the best I can do — good luck!

      0
  28. My hiking buddies and I have used your website many times to not only locate great hikes, but not get lost once we’re there. Now in the dead of winter, we are getting hiking withdraw. Is there any great winter time hikes you would recommend? Maybe some easier trails that wouldn’t be too treacherous with snow on the ground? Thanks!

    0
    • That’s great to hear, Megan! Glad you’re getting some use out of this site. I am also getting some cabin fever this winter — it’s been so harsh that I haven’t been out much (using my kids as an excuse, since the snow is currently taller than them). Several folks chipped in some ideas for winter hiking on this site’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HikeTheHudsonValley/posts/725385210829421?stream_ref=10

      You might find some good recommendations in there. In general, I’d look at the easier hikes (5 out of 10 difficulty and below), since winter is chipping in a several extra difficulty points of its own these days.

      Hope that helps! Spring’ll be here any day, right?

      0
  29. Just stumbled upon your web site. Love it. Great job. I have done quite a few of the hikes in the Hudson Valley. I will be doing Anthony’s Nose tomorrow so I was looking for something on line about the hike. Yours was just what I was looking for. It had great information and some great hikes that I have not done before but plan on doing. Thanks again for putting together such a great hiking web site.

    0
  30. LOVE this website! Have you ever done the Ellenville Ice caves in Shingle Gully? I know this is a difficult hike requiring a permit but I have always wanted to go. Do you know how long a hike it is and when it is the best time of the year to go? I am assuming it is a 9 or 10 because of difficulty and not dog-friendly. Any comments would be appreciated.

    0
    • I have done this hike a few times and it is a great hike that is very difficult. A definite 10. But there are no marked hiking trails to follow. You do need a permit but you also need a guide that can get you in and then get you back out. If you went on your own, you would have a very difficult time knowing where to go and an even harder time finding your way back out. The best suggestion is to sign up to do this hike with AMC. A hike leader with them does about 8 hikes a year from April to June with 12 hikers. I have done it the end of June and there was still snow in some of the deeper colder crevices we hiked in. You will think that you are hiking in Jurracic Park. We actually went in to a cave where exiting the cave was one of the most difficult and scary things that I have ever done. The cave was below freezing temperature wise. The walls and floor were covered with ice. We had to exit the cave by pulling ourselves out with a rope while coming out of a rock hole about as big as an office garbage can. It took 12 of us over an hour to exit the cave. Fun but a bit scary as it is pitch black in the cave. We all had headlamps to give us some light. Last year there was no ice in the cave and we were able to get out in half the time.

      0
      • Thanks for all the great info, Bob! I’d never heard of this hike before. I’d love to check it out some time, but it looks for now like I’ll leave the trail guiding to the pros.

        0
  31. Hey there – Just found your FABULOUS website. Do you have any recommendations for a one night backpacking route? Preferably a loop with amazing views and a water source so we don’t have to schlepp all our own water? Ideally tent spot would be 3-4 miles in? It’s for this weekend. Many thanks in advance!

    0
    • Glad you’re liking the site, Sara! On the Huckleberry Point hike, I mention a campsite (and give directions to it) that would be a really nice spot, a couple of miles in, right near the overlook. Might get crowded there on the weekends, though. Anywhere in the Catskills, really, would be nice, and you can pretty much plunk down wherever you can find a good spot below 3,500′. There are a ton of ready-made campsites right off most of the major trails. Here are the rules: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7872.html

      Hope you have a great weekend!

      0
  32. I’d love to see you do write up on the Surprise Lake loop in Greenwood Lake (technically in NJ, the real starts on the ny/nj border). It’s a gorgeous hike, views of the Greenwood Lake, on a clear day you can see some Manhattan skyscrapers, the “Surprise lake”, rhododendrun tunnels, another isolated mountain lake. It’s a harder hike, some hand scrambles, lots of loose pudding stone, the whole loop is about 5 miles I believe, but just to the mountain peak and lake is 1.2 miles, if you wanted to turn around and retrace from there.

    0
      • Thanks for the suggestion on Surprise Lake, Megan! It’ll be the next write-up to go on the site – your comment came in at just the right time. Very much appreciated! (For the town names, I actually had that listed on the first prototype of the site, but it looked all clunky with all the other information I was trying to cram in there. I intended the Google Map for the site, with all the pins for each trailhead, to take the place of the town list. Hope that gets the job done!)

        0
        • I’m glad you enjoyed the hike! I grew up in Greenwood Lake and have always started from the marina lot, and you’re right the view of Greenwood Lake is definitely the high point on that hike, often we just turn around from there now.
          Ps. the Chinese takeout in gwl is also incredible, right next door to Mangos.

          0
  33. Great descriptions of hikes. I would really appreciate it if you listed if each hike was accessible by public transportation. Thanks!

    0
    • Hey Jeff, I’ve never really messed with any of the GPS settings. I use a Garmin eTrex hiking GPS, and I know how to use it juuust well enough to get the information I need out of it. When I get home, I save the file to my computer using Garmin Mapsource (that’s where I edit the waypoint names, since I rarely spell anything correctly while I’m actually out hiking.), then use Garmin Basecamp to gather ascent/descent and timing information (the interface is a little nicer in Basecamp, which is a free download). After that, I save it as a GPX file and upload it to Everytrail (and then MapMyHike to create the Google Earth flyovers). Did any of that make sense, or was it at all useful? I hope so!

      0
  34. Mike,

    I LOVE your website!!! Its the best one on the internet. A friend recommended it to me and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. I’ve done 3 hikes in the last month, all that I found on your website. I did Banticou Crag, Monhonk Lemon Squeeze, and Breakneck…each awesome. Between your witty and accurate descriptions to the skill ratings and camera ratings to great directions and solid web layout…you’ve done an excellent job with your site. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the work you’ve put into it…way better than any guide book I’ve found.

    I’m thinking about Bull Hill next week.

    All the best to you on your next adventure.
    Ellen

    0
    • Well, dang, Ellen, that’s just about the nicest comment ever in the universe! Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m really glad to hear that the site has been useful for you. Have a great trip to Bull Hill (another excellent choice), and happy adventuring to you as well!

      0
  35. When do the trails open? I’ve been on the trails many times before but we always went in the middle of the day. Once, I believe we arrived at 7 am and the trails were not yet open. I live on Long Island so I’m not driving 3.5 hours just to wait there.

    0
    • Hi Stephanie — Depends on which hike you’re talking about. Some of these trails are always open (like the Catskills hikes, which allow camping below 3500′), but they’re all at least open dawn to dusk. Trying to think of any exceptions, and I’m not coming up with any. If anybody knows of trails that don’t open at dawn, please post ’em here. I try not to get up that early, if I can help it.

      0
  36. Pretty please with sugar on top let lost city be your next write up. I’m looking for a place that has BUTT KICKING rock scrambling and I think this is it. I just can’t seem to find any good info on the Internet about it. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you have a wonderful day.

    0
    • A request! Cool! I’m planning a trip to Lost City soon, but it’ll be a while before I can bust out a trail guide. I’ll bump it ahead a couple spots in the queue, though!

      0
      • Just an update here: I did make an outing to Lost City with a buddy of mine, and it pretty much remained lost. We’re firing up a second expedition at some point, though — we shall locate the money spot at Lost City or get lost again trying!

        0
        • Just chiming in regarding Lost City. To find it:

          1. Park at the Mohonk Preserve’s Coxing log
          2. Start on the High Peter’s Kill Trail.
          3. Switch to the King’s Lane Trail
          4. Take it to the end, where it just seems to stop at a large slope. Ascend up that slope (off trail) and find your way to the top of the ridge. While it is not an official trail you can make out the paths carved by hikers that have come before.

          Regarding scrambling, I don’t think there is much of a scramble to be had. What I have described above is too easy to be considered a real scramble.

          An alternative would be to head to the climber’s area of Lost City. Just after switching from the High Peter’s Kill Trail to the King’s Lane trail you’ll see a path heading off to the left. It’s easy to spot if you’re looking for it since it is lined with small stones. This will lead you right to the talus field at the base of the cliff. The problem is that I don’t think you can scramble your way to the top — it requires real rock climbing.

          0
          • Thank you so much for keeping me updated. I have a map of the area, I see where kings lane and lost city is. Sad that there wasn’t the rock scrambling there I had hoped for. Thanks again for getting back to me 🙂

            0
    • I am heading up from NYC on the train to stay overnight in Cold Spring with a friend, early morning this Sat, Mar 21, and wanted to do a hike on the Breakneck ridge. What would be the most easiest route?
      White trail plus red trail plus yellow?
      I haven’t been hiking in a long time and the ones I went on were easy to follow without a map…You just follow markers on Breakneck Ridge right?
      I really want to go for it, but I want to make sure I select the easiest trail possible on Breakneck Ridge.
      Or would you recommend I start with Bull Hill?

      Thanks!

      0
  37. your website is amazing….thanks so much for putting it together, I did sams point this past weekend, one small thing though you have to fix, the gps address you give is wrong,…..the town should be pine bush, ny. other than that im loving all your insight!!!! thanks a million!

    0
    • Jenna, that’s really awesome to hear! Glad you’re getting some use out of the site.

      It’s tough to find online, but most resources give the address as Cragsmoor. Quite the quandary! To make sure this doesn’t trip anyone else up, I added this note after the address:

      (And if your device doesn’t like “Cragsmoor” as the town, try it with “Pine Bush” instead. One hiker reported that this worked better for her.)

      That ought to do the trick, right? Thanks for reporting this issue so nobody else will have the same problem — happy adventuring out there!

      0
      • perfect! do you still do group hikes? its hard at times to find good hiking partners, most of my friends are ready to kill me I think! hiking isn’t so much there thing.

        0
          • Looks like I’m outvoted! The trail guide has been updated with both locations, so anyone looking for that spot on their device of choice should be all set.

            0
        • That’s a nice idea! Maybe I’ll start doing it again one of these days, but it’s been several years since I’ve led group hikes. If you Google “Hudson Valley Hikers”, you’ll find a very active group of local hiking enthusiasts who take a wide variety of trips, with outings happening several times per week.

          0
      • It might be easier to put the coordinates of the trailhead location into your GPS (I know I can type latitude/longitude into my Garmin). If you go onto Google Maps and right click the trailhead location, then select “What’s here?”, Google will give you the numerical coordinates of that spot.

        0
        • I finally put the coordinates on all the trail guides! Sure, this comment is three years after your suggestion, but I knocked it out last year, so I’d like credit for only procrastinating for two years. Thanks for helping to improve the site!

          0
    • Sort of! But the group is much smaller now — usually just a kid on my back, another kid holding my hand, and a dog trotting alongside. And occasionally my wife, when I can talk her into it. The group I used to lead was for younger people. That description used to fit me perfectly! Like a decade ago.

      0
  38. Hi! Love the website! I have a comment about dog-friendly hiking recommendations. I hate it when I’m out with my two (elderly) dogs — and that’s most days — and I come to a part of a hike that is easy for people, but impossible for a dog to scramble up. Sometimes we can give ’em a hoisting (a hoisting they shant soon forget!) but sometimes there’s nothing we can do, and we have to go back.

    I think that dog-hostile trails are the exception, rather than the rule. I’m thinking of making a list of dog-hostile trails….

    Did I say I love the blog? :0)

    0
    • Thanks so much, Suzy! Off the top of my head, here’s the list:

      Dog-hoisting required:
      Breakneck Ridge
      Indian Head Mt. & Twin Mt.
      Sam’s Point (ice caves only, not waterfall trail)
      Popolopen Torne

      Dogs allowed but I think it’d be crazy to bring ’em:
      Bonticou Crag

      Dogs not allowed:
      Mohonk Mountain House
      Constitution Marsh
      Stissing Mountain

      When there’s dog-hoisting required, or if they’re not allowed at all, I point it out in the trail guides. If I don’t mention pooches at all, it should be A-OK.

      Hope this helps, and I hope you have many more excellent adventures with your two hiking buddies!

      0
  39. Love your website. Will start to do them all and bring the kids too.
    The site is perfect but if I could ask… could you add a map with all the trails or add the distance from NYC.
    So I can estimate the distance from NY for the drive.
    Thank you!

    0
    • Hi Agathe — thanks, and you’re in luck! See the homepage (hikethehudsonvalley.com) for a Google Map with markers for all the trailheads listed on this site (click the link under the map to open it in its own window, which is much more useful). Also, each individual trail guide has a link under “Directions to the trailhead” directly to its entry on the Google Map. Hope that helps! Happy adventuring!

      0
      • Thank you Mike! Was too excited by the hikes to see the homepage. Did the Black Rock forest and loved every minute of it. Lovely snooze at the top 😉

        0
  40. Hello, Thanks for the great resource. This site is awesome. I just moved to NY and I am having trouble finding a trail book that matched the quality of trail guides I had in CA. Can you recommend a book or even some hikes in the western half of NY? Specifically the the finger lakes area, that are dog friendly. I know that the terrain is a bit flatter over on this side, but I’m sure that there are some amazing scenic areas. 6-8 miles hikes are okay, even short backpacking trips with day hikes would be great. I hiked the JMT in CA and the trip was life changing. If you are ever in CA and have 2-3 weeks, this is a great backpacking trip if you can stomach the 15-20 mile days. Last question. I promise…What are your top 5 most amazing hikes, your must sees? Thanks again.

    -Thomas

    0
    • Glad you like the site – thank you! I’m afraid I’ve only been to the Finger Lakes twice, and I’ve never done any hiking there, except from the parking lots to the wineries. As for my top 5 hikes, I’d check out any of the 5-camera hikes listed on “The Hikes” page. I only give the 5-camera rating to hikes that I think are absolute must-sees. Hope that helps!

      0
  41. Have you ever done blackhead and blackdome mtn in the Catskills. If not you should definitely do it. I’d compare it to indian head and twin mtn loop as far as difficulty and scenery.

    0
    • Thanks for the recommendation! I was going to do Slide for my next Catskill hike, but I’ll put Blackhead/Blackdome in the top two and surprise myself with which one I pick. Much appreciated.

      0
  42. I just found your website and I’m impressed. Thank you! I’ve been hiking in this region for years, used to live in Pokips but moved to Mount Kisco in 1980. Not only do we have great hiking, we’ve been getting more and more new trails. (I’m a real estate appraiser and have worked for years in acquiring parkland for various federal and state agencies and land trusts). I can suggest some additional hikes you don’t have on your list, e.g.,

    Town park on Whippoorwill Road, Chappaqua (Town of New Castle), about 300 lovely acres with streams, ponds and hills, good for a 2 hour walk.

    Round Hill, a scenic detour starting off behind Hubbard Lodge in Cold Spring, loop of about 4 miles with views of the Bear Mtn. Bridge.

    Teatown Reservation, Ossining. Sometimes lacking in solitude but with a lovely path around Teatown Lake, including a long floating bridge over the lake, easy walking and superb for children. An easy jaunt for a sunny winter day. Maybe 2 miles to circle the lake.

    Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Pound Ridge, NY. Westchester County park, expensive parking fee but big,s scenic woods near the back.

    Devil’s Den Preserve (Nature Conservancy), Weston, Conn. Very pretty woods, about 3 hours easy walking to loop the perimeter plus many side trails.

    Appalachian Trail, section along Housatonic River north of Kent, Conn., very pretty 5 mile stretch of easy walking.

    Let me know if you want more info. I’ll continue reading your reviews, always looking for new outings. Keep up the good work. Ken Golub

    0
    • Ken,

      This is great — thanks so much for taking the time to give me some more destinations! I’m slowly (very slowly) adding more hikes to the site, and I will absolutely put some of these on my to-do list.

      Thanks!

      Mike

      0
      • Mike, I just re-encountered your site while planning another walk on Round Hill in Cold Spring. I notice you are missing 3 Lakes Trail in Fahnestock Park, off the south side of 301. It’s become a favorite since it’s close to home, and since I found a way to expand the route into a figure 8 loop. (Otherwise it’s a too-short out and back when you hit the outflow stream from John Alden Pond). The route passes several pretty WPA ponds, a waterfall, some rock scrambles and a few old iron mines, takes about 2.5-3 hours. If you send me a mailing address I’ll send you a map. kengolub@yahoo.com

        0

Leave a Reply to Bob Warsak Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)