Highlights: Pleasant orchard, surprisingly nice views
Distance: 1.65 miles, partial loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 1 hour
This hike is for you if: You’re looking for a pleasant stroll (with views!) right in Poughkeepsie’s backyard.
Background you can feel free to skip: If you’re waiting for plate tectonics to do the trick, it can take a really long time for new hiking destinations to pop up. Lucky for us, the Scenic Hudson organization can speed things along considerably, giving us great new places to explore without the million-year wait. Take Peach Hill Park, for example, which opened to the public in 2006 and offers a surprisingly nice stroll just a few minutes from Poughkeepsie’s business district.
I found out about this place in November from a Scenic Hudson brochure, and we hustled over there one Saturday before the weather turned too cold. The views really are impressive, and as you head around the orchard, there are several money spots with overlooks in multiple directions. It must be gorgeous here when the apple trees are in bloom, too.
Roaming about Peach Hill Park feels like going to a pick-your-own orchard, but without the apples that cost five times more than the grocery store’s. Actually, the Peach Hill Park brochure says, “Please – leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories…and apples.” So it looks like you can snag some apples here, too, if you visit at the right time and don’t mind chomping on a bug or two.
The trails are wide and well-maintained, with picnic tables and benches scattered throughout. The day we were here, we saw just a couple of other families strolling around, but I expect this place probably turns out some decent crowds in better weather. If it doesn’t, it should.
**UPDATE JUNE 2012** Tom Meyering’s comment at the bottom of this page tipped me off that the trails here have all been changed around since I created this trail guide. It’s on my to-do list to get back out there and write up a new guide, but I have a three-month-old and a three-year-old at home now, so it might be eighteen years or so before I get a few minutes to myself to do that. (Hopefully it’ll be much sooner.) In the meantime, you can check out the updated trail map and plot your own course around the park. Rock and roll, and thank you, Tom!
1. I feel like it might be overkill for me to provide a trail guide for this place. For one, you can see a perfectly fine trail map on the park’s brochure, and the trails are very clearly labeled throughout the park. And even if you didn’t have the foresight to print out a map, you can pick up a copy in the parking area.
2. But let’s assume you didn’t print out a map and they were out of ‘em at the parking area. Your mission here is to follow the Core Trail (white markers) around the property. From the brochure: “The best overlooks in the park are found along this trail.” I took ‘em at their word on this, and didn’t explore the other trails. If you have the time and the inkling, they’d probably be worth checking out, too.
From the parking area, head up the small hill along the gravel path, following the white trail markers.
3. Just keep following the white markers. About 10 or 15 minutes in, you’ll see the blue trail heading off to the right. Stick left on the white trail. The only turn you have to worry about on this hike is coming up in a moment.
4. You’ll come upon a bench off to the left of the path, where the white trail splits. This is the beginning of a loop, so you’ll come back to this point on whichever trail you don’t pick right now. We went right, and that seemed like a nice way to do it. But I won’t be offended if you choose left.
5. Did you go left? I’m offended if you did.
6. If you went right, just keep chugging along and you’ll pass a series of nice overlooks. Same if you went left. Stop and hang out on a bench or two. What’s the rush?
7. Stop occasionally to remark to yourself, “How come I never knew about this place before?” At least that’s what I did.
8. Follow the loop back to where it started. If you chose right originally, hang a right again to retrace your steps back to your car. If you went left, shoot a flare gun and hope help comes to tell you which way to go, ‘cause I’m still offended. Oh, okay, it’s left again. Actually, it’s more straight than left, but you get the idea.
9. Follow those white markers all the way back to the parking area.
10. Dump your free apples into the trunk and give an air-five to all the people who kept this beautiful place from turning into Peach Hill Estates.
Directions to the trailhead: From the center of Poughkeepsie, follow Innis Ave (Rt 115) north until it becomes the Salt Point Turnpike. Keep heading north for a few minutes on the Salt Point Turnpike (still Rt 115) to a right turn on Edgebrook Drive (the first right after Bedell Rd). Go straight on Edgebrook for a few hundred yards and you’ll see the Peach Hill Park entrance clearly marked on your right.
You can also get directions by checking out the Peach Hill Park entry on the HiketheHudsonValley.com Google map.
Sorta nearby address for your GPS: This hike actually has it own address. Far out!
Peach Hill Park
34 Edgewood Drive
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
GPS coordinates of parking area: 41.73051, -73.88058 (Clicking will open in Google Maps or the Apple Maps app, depending on your browser/device.)
Related resources: If you’re looking for actual facts and/or useful information, see the official Peach Hill welcome page, or the Scenic Hudson Peach Hill page. You can also print out a trail map and find more good information on the Town of Poughkeepsie’s Peach Hill Park brochure, and some other odds and ends on the Town of Poughkeepsie’s Peach Hill Park page.
More Peach Hill Park pictures from the hike’s Picasa album:
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