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Breakneck Ridge: Short Loop

Scenery:
Difficulty: 9 out of 10 (short, ridiculously steep climb)
Distance: 1.5 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 hours
Total ascent: 646 ft
Max elevation: 584 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take in some of the best views in the Hudson Valley, and you’re not afraid of doing some serious rock scrambling to see them. (Also, you want to bail out less than halfway up the mountain.)

Castle Craig

Scenery:
Difficulty: 5 out of 10 (steady climb with one quite steep, rocky section)
Distance: 3.6 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 2 Hours
Total ascent: 802 ft
Max elevation: 951 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to storm a castle to plunder some of the best views in the area.

Harriman State Park: Jackie Jones fire tower

Scenery:
Difficulty: 4 out of 10 (short-ish hike with mostly gentle inclines)
Distance: 2.8 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 Hours
Total ascent: 553 ft
Max elevation: 1,330 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a short hike to a fire tower with awesome views of the New York City skyline (with lots of other non-skyline-related beauty, too).

Balsam Lake Mountain

Scenery:
Difficulty: 6 out of 10 (long hike with steady, gentle inclines)
Distance: 6.0 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 3 Hours
Total ascent: 1,214 ft
Max elevation: 3,723 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You enjoy beautiful trails and fire towers with gigantic views. Who doesn’t like those things?

Red Mountain

Scenery:
Difficulty: 4 out of 10 (relatively easy stroll with some hill climbs and grassy stretches)
Distance: 2.7 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 hours
Total ascent: 574 ft
Max elevation: 1,223 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a pleasant stroll on some great new trails, see some crazy big trees, and scope out some beautiful views across picturesque meadows. (This place really chews through the adjectives.)

Monument Mountain

Scenery:
Difficulty: 6 out of 10 (Short-ish climb with some very steep spots)
Fees: Cheapskate alert! It costs $5 to park here (as of this writing in 2020), payable at an electronic parking meter. Money very well spent.
Distance: 3.5 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 2.5 hours
Total ascent: 1,167 ft
Max elevation: 1,613 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to traverse a steep loop to visit some amazing views and clifftop perches. (Also, you have a deep, abiding respect for gravity, and will be careful along the clifftops.)

Mt. Tammany

Scenery:
Difficulty: 8 out of 10 (Steep, rocky climb with rocks. And more rocks. Also, rocks.)
Distance: 4.0 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 4 hours
Total ascent: 1,639 ft
Max elevation: 1,540 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to scrabble up a beast of a mountain to see some gorgeous views.

Tremper Mountain

Scenery:
Difficulty: 8 out of 10 (long slog up a big fat mountain)
Distance: 6.5 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 4 Hours
Total ascent: 2,192 ft
Max elevation: 2,766 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to huff and puff up a mountain to see some righteous views from one of the five Catskill fire towers.

Great Swamp

Scenery:
Difficulty: 5 out of 10 (flat stroll leading to hilly stretches)
Distance: 4.9 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 3 hours
Total ascent: 817 ft
Max elevation: 765 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to stroll on a beautiful boardwalk that passes over peaceful marshlands on the Appalachian Trail, then check out the biggest honking oak tree for about 1,000 miles in either direction.

Red Hill fire tower

Scenery:
Difficulty: 5 out of 10 (hilly stroll with some steep-ish stretches)
Distance: 2.8 miles, Up-and-Back
Approximate roundtrip time: 2.5 hours
Total ascent: 837 ft
Max elevation: 3,057 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a relatively short stroll to a fire tower with a gorgeous view of the Catskills. Also, you appreciate attention to detail in your outhouses.

High Banks Preserve

Scenery:
Difficulty: 3 out of 10 (friendly stroll with gentle inclines)
Distance: 3.1 miles, Loop
Approximate roundtrip time: 1.5 hours
Total ascent: 370 ft
Max elevation: 294 ft above sea level
This hike is for you if: You want to take a nice stroll in the woods around a new, well-maintained preserve with varied terrain and interesting trails.