Kaaterskill Falls II (upper trailhead)

Scenery:
Difficulty: 5 out of 10 (2 out of 10 for an easy stroll to the viewing platform, 5 out of 10 if you also visit the lower falls, 7 out of 10 for a rugged hike if you follow all the steps below (to lower falls and Inspiration Point))
Distance: 4.7 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 3.5 Hours
Total ascent: 1,177 ft
Max elevation: 2,211 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to check out a mind-blowing two-tier waterfall, ogle some amazing views, and explore some awesome trail features.

Race Mountain (Mount Race)

Scenery:
Difficulty: 8 out of 10 (rugged climb with some stream-hopping and steep sections)
Distance: 7.1 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 5 Hours
Total ascent: 2,080 ft
Max elevation: 2,360 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to traverse some of the most beautiful trails in the area, see some pretty waterfalls, and check out a nice view at the top.

Indian Ladder Trail

Scenery:
Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (relatively flat, easy stroll with a large staircase on either end)
Fees: Cheapskate alert! There's a new (as of 2018) parking fee here of $6. Money well-spent.
Distance: 2.5 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 2.5 Hours
Total ascent: 541 ft
Max elevation: 1,207 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a relatively easy hike with a massive payoff, and you’re not scared to drive to Albany to make it happen. Also, you’re cool when your nature comes served with crowds.

Croton Gorge Park

Scenery:
Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (short climb up a dirt road)
Fees: Cheapskate alert! Access to the park is $10 per car on weekends ($5 if you have a park pass), May through September only. All other times, it’s free.
Distance: 2.1 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 hours (includes playground stop – WHEEEE!)
Total ascent: 188 ft
Max elevation: 254 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a relatively easy stroll up to, around, and over a giant honking waterfall.

Brace Mountain II (South Taconic trailhead)

Scenery:
Difficulty: 9 out of 10 (very steep, rocky hike with the odd rattlesnake)
Distance: 3.8 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 3.5 Hours
Total ascent: 1,515 ft
Max elevation: 2,303 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to climb a difficult, rugged, and awesome trail to one of the best views in the Hudson Valley (or anywhere else).

North-South Lake: North Point

Scenery:
Difficulty: 9 out of 10 (long hike with a few very steep sections)
Fees: Cheapskate alert! There’s a per-car day use fee to hike here ($10 per car as of 2014.) Money well spent.
Distance: 7 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 4.5 Hours
Total ascent: 1,144 ft
Max elevation: 2,989 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You’re a fan of incredible views, you appreciate a good ledge and you want to do some serious hiking.

High Falls Conservation Area

Scenery:
Difficulty: 2 out of 10 (short hike with a couple small climbs)
Highlights: Nice Trails, Waterfall
Distance: 1.5 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 Hours
Total ascent: 251 ft
Max elevation: 469 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You’re in the mood for a stroll and you appreciate a big fat waterfall.

Falling Waters Preserve

Scenery:
Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (short hike with a few rolling climbs)
Distance: 2.7 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 Hours
Total ascent: 399 ft
Max elevation: 150 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You like cascading waterfalls, river views and beautiful countryside. If that doesn’t apply to you, the Poughkeepsie Galleria might have some good sales going on right now.

Stony Kill Falls

Scenery:
Difficulty: 4 out of 10 (easy stroll with some clambering at the falls)
Distance: 1.45 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 Hours
Total ascent: 193 ft
Max elevation: 1,291 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a short, pleasant stroll to a breathtaking 90-ft waterfall.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Scenery:
Difficulty: 6 out of 10 (longish hike with hilly sections)
Fees: Cheapskate alert! The parking fee is $10 per vehicle (as of April 2015).
Highlights: Lake, Views, Waterfall
Distance: 6.4 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 4 Hours
Total ascent: 814 ft
Max elevation: 1,908 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to pack enough highlights for four hikes into one four-hour loop. And also, you’re not afraid of some crowds.

Kaaterskill Falls (lower trailhead)

Scenery:
Difficulty: 5 out of 10 (steep, rocky, short hike)
Distance: 2 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 Hours
Total ascent: 527 ft
Max elevation: 1,946 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a short (but steep) hike to a huge waterfall. Also, you don’t mind when your nature comes served with large crowds.