ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. (August 19, 2015) — This summer, or anytime, explore the many hiking opportunities in Orange County, N.Y. Hikers and fans of the outdoors will appreciate the fine hiking available to experience alone or with friends and family.
Nature lovers of all levels will discover the peaceful beauty of Orange County’s countryside along these trails:
The Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, includes 88 miles in New York State, with portions running through Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Sterling Forest State Park, and Bear Mountain State Park where it originated. The first section of the route was established at Bear Mountain in 1923. In June 2010, a portion of this original path was repaved with 800-pound granite “steps” — laid in place by 700 volunteers — in order to accommodate the tens of thousands of people who walk this stretch of the path each year. The Bear Mountain Zoo section of the trail is very family-friendly.
The New York section is relatively flat and its lowest point on the entire trail (124 feet above sea level) is where the trail crosses the Hudson via the Bear Mountain Bridge. By combining this section with portions of other trails, hikers can traverse varied terrains and catch a glimpse of local wildlife. To learn more, visit: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/about-the-trail/terrain-by-state/new-york
Harriman State Park, the second largest park in New York State’s system, features 31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of hiking trails, two beaches, two public camping areas, as well as miles of streams, scenic roads, and vistas. There’s even a shuttle bus to pick up hikers, who take the MetroNorth/NJ Transit Port Jervis train up to the area, to take them to the park from the Tuxedo train station on weekends. To learn more about the shuttle service and get the list of “best hikes” in the park, visit: http://www.myharriman.com/
Schunemunk Mountain is the highest mountain in Orange County, and offers 25 miles of hiking routes. The 1,664-foot summit is located in the Town of Blooming Grove, with other portions in Cornwall and Woodbury. The name “Schunemunk” means “excellent fireplace” in Lenape, and the Lenni Lenape had a village on the northern tip of the mountain. The mountain is close to Storm King Art Center as well as Palaia Vineyards for some after hike refreshment.
The Long Path ascends the mountain by way of High Knob, crosses Perry Creek, and runs along the more northwesterly ridge, descending to the clove between Schunemunk and Woodcock mountains at the north end. The Highlands Trail makes use of several trails on the mountain, ascending the eastern side of the mountain along the Sweet Clover Trail, and following the more southeasterly ridge and crossing the summit by way of the Jessup Trail, which continues along the crest to the southwestern tip of the mountain. The Dark Hollow, Barton Swamp, Trestle, Western Ridge and Otterkill trails are also located on the mountain. These trails are for more experienced hikers. To learn more, visit: http://www.nynjtc.org/park/schunemunk-mountain-3
There are numerous hiking opportunities at Storm King Mountain, located along the west bank of the Hudson River, south of Cornwall-on-Hudson. Together with Breakneck Ridge on the opposite bank of the river it forms “Wey-Gat” or Wind Gate, the picturesque northern gateway to the Hudson Highlands. Its distinctive curved ridge is the most prominent aspect of the view south down Newburgh Bay, from Newburgh, Beacon and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
With wide views of the river and surrounding areas, both Storm King and Butter Hill summits are popular with hikers. The orange-blazed unnamed connector trail, leading to the yellow-blazed Stillman Trail, most often accessed at a parking area on US 9W, offers an immediate and steep climb up Butter Hill followed by a longer and more relaxing trip to the summit of Storm King itself. To learn more, visit: http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/storm-king/
Families will also love visiting the Hunter Mountain Preserve in Middletown. The preserve includes a Tadpole Trail and three-quarter mile long children’s exploratory nature trail with seven learning stations. Audio can be downloaded from Orange County Land Trust website: www.OCTL.org
Families can also explore the trails at Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Outdoor Discovery
Center in Cornwall, which features trails through different ecosystems as well as award winning “Discovery Quests” trails.
To learn more, visit: http://hhnaturemuseum.org/index.php/hiking-trails
Additional information on these trails and others can be found on the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference’s website: http://www.nynjtc.org/. The Orange County Tourism website also provides information on hiking options at: http://orangetourism.org/play/attractions/hiking-and-trails/
Be sure to visit Orange County Tourism’s Facebook page: Orange County Tourism NY. It’s a fabulous guide to up-to-the minute postings of area events and activities, great times, and memorable experiences available to visitors.
About Orange County Tourism
Orange County Tourism, based in Goshen, N.Y., is the county’s tourism headquarters and a participant in the I LOVE NY program. A comprehensive listing of area attractions, lodging, and events can be found at www.OrangeTourism.org. For a free copy of the Orange County Travel Guide, e-mail email@example.com or call 800-762-8687.