A Walk in the Woods: Hiking and Camping in New York

September 27th, 2011 § 4 comments

It’s important for every family to spend quality time together in the woods.  Admittedly, planning for a weekend camping trip (or sometimes even a short hike) can be overwhelming.  As mentioned before, the key to camping success is to 1) talk it up with the family beforehand (Hey!  Maybe we’ll see a yellow-bellied sapsucker!), 2) share the pure camping joy with another valiant venturesome family or two, and 3) bring good bug stuff.

For those of you living in or visiting New York’s Hudson Valley, I’ve put together a small list of spots that should be checked out.  Although my family and I typically spend sleepless nights camping in the Catskills and Adirondacks, there are several areas within minutes of us that are perfect for day hiking and overnights.

Recommended Local Day Hikes

  • Peter Oley Trailways, Irvington (hundreds of acres, on reservoir)
  • Lenoir Preserve, Yonkers (40 acres, next to Croton Aqueduct)
  • Rockefeller State Park, Sleepy Hollow (1,233 acres, on Swan Lake)
  • Rockwood Hall, Sleepy Hollow (88 acres, on Hudson River)
  • Cranberry Lake Preserve, White Plains (165 acres on Cranberry Lake)
  • Croton Point Park, Croton (500 acres on Hudson River)
  • Teatown Lake Reservation, Yorktown (875 acres, with nature center)
  • Merestead, Mount Kisco (130 acres with Copland House)
  • Sylvan Glen Preserve, Yorktown (180 acres with granite quarry)
  • George’s Island Park, Monroe (208 waterfront acres, great birding)
  • Marshlands Conservancy, Rye (173 acres with salt marsh, great birding)
  • Butler Memorial, Mount Kisco (363 acres, watch fall hawk migration)
  • Hunter Brook, Yorktown (45 acres along stream)
  • Mianus River Gorge Preserve, Bedford (750 acres, old-growth forest)
  • Hudson Highlands State Park, Cortlandt (7,400 acres, Hudson views)

Local Camp Sites:

  • Harriman State Park, Rockland/Orange counties—25 miles away

46,000 acres with 32 lakes and ponds and 200 miles of trails, borders Bear Mountain, Sterling Forest and Storm King, fantastic fall foliage, highly recommended

  • Ward Pound Ridge, Pound Ridge/Lewisboro, 30 miles away

4,315 acres, 35 miles of trails, Westchester’s largest park, open meadows, streams, woodlands, fishing, wildflower garden, nature museum, stone lean-to sites, open tent sites

  • Fahnstock State Park, Putnam/Dutchess counties, 30 miles away
14,000 acres, 80 campsites, hiking, boating, swimming, birding and fishing, education center, weekend group hikes and craft activities
  • Mountain Lakes Park, North Salem, 30 miles awa
1000 acres at highest point in Westchester, 5 lakes, fishing, breathtaking hiking, yurt camping, lean-to sites, open tent sites
  • And a backyard—perhaps just footsteps away—makes a fantastic camping spot.

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