My name’s Annie. I am a mountain-hiking, fly-fishing, and overall earth-loving member of Brolonation. Before I share my 10 favorite hikes, I’d like to tell you how I was introduced to these guys, and why I fell in love with the brand:
About a year ago, I was hiking a piece of the Appalachian Trail in the Hudson Valley with my best friend Renee, and I was telling her as we took off from the trailhead about how many pairs of sunglasses I had lost on various hikes over the years. About 20 minutes into the hike, we came to a strip of highway that you need to carefully cross in order to get to the main trail. We patiently waited until there was a big enough gap in between cars for us to safely cross, but as we crossed my sunglasses fell off of my head and smack in between the two lanes of the northern bound traffic. Then came the *crunch*.
I was not thrilled, but the two of us laughed it off. As we climbed the first ascent, Renee began to tell me about this company her friends started, Burt Brolos, and how she was a part of Brolonation. She thought I could really use a pair of Brolos to manage the state of my sunglasses. She had decided then and there what I was getting for my 25th birthday, and she delivered. Months later (I had completely forgotten about the conversation by now) she gave me my first pair, and the rest is history!
Anyway, I usually spend most of my time working in an office based in New York City, but I have taken to the mountains, as usual, to ride out this quarantine. The slower pace of this new reality has given me some time to reflect upon some of the awesome outdoor adventures that I have gone on in the past, and also to go on some new adventures (while maintaining social distance, of course), so I’m here to share some of my favorite trails with you. If you have done any of these hikes, or have other favorites in the area, comment below! All pictures are from the Mianus River Gorge Hike.
1) Black Mountain/Letterock Mountain - Bear Mt., NY (8.2 miles)
It seems fitting to start with this hike, since this is what Renee and I were hiking when the infamous sunglasses incident occurred. The Black Mountain Loop is a wonderful hiking trail that starts at the base of the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area. This loop combines a few short pieces of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) on both Letterock Mountain and Black Mountain and flaunts some great views. You also pass through the remains of the old Spanish Mine, which comes with some controversial history.
2) Kaaterskill Falls - Catskill Mountains, Hunter, NY (varied)
There are two different trails that lead to the falls themselves, and none of them are any more than about two miles. One leads to the top of the falls, while the other leads to the bottom of the falls. Do not be deceived, however, by the short distance, as both trails have their challenges. The hike to the top is certainly easier, and it leads to an overlook that is a sight to be seen. The hike to the bottom of the falls is a bit longer, and quite a bit more of a vertical, but if you like waterfalls, this hike absolutely cannot be missed. There are several ways to approach this trail, and they have added new parking lots so I encourage everyone to plan a trip, but to do their research in advance to decide the best way to access the trails for your needs.
3) Rand’s View - Falls Village, CT (5.3 miles)
I know, I know, the trail head is not *technically* in New York, but this is still considered a Hudson Valley trail and it is too beautiful not to be included. Also part of the A.T., Rand’s View begins like a standard A.T. hike -- moderate inclines, beautiful woods, a scenic view at the top of Mt. Prospect -- but unlike other hikes, Rand’s View’s beauty does not peak at this view. Instead, it continues on through dense woods and spits you out in a rolling meadow with panoramic views of the Berkshires. While this hike is worthwhile at any time of year, it really sits in its prime in the fall thanks to the seasonal foliage in the Berkshires.
4) Mianus River Gorge - Bedford, NY (5 miles)
The Mianus River Gorge is a beautiful network of three interconnected trails, all varying in difficulty and scenery. The shortest of the trails is a quick, easy, kid-friendly stroll through the woods complete with stone pathways across gentle streams and endless amounts of skunk cabbage. The medium trail is a nice long saunter through the primeval forest (which comes with much history behind it). The longest trail, with a few more hills and twists than the other trails, follows the edge of the gorge all the way to an overlook, and then branches off to a trail that leads hikers down into the gorge itself to a remote spot right on the riverbank.
5) Alander Mountain - Copake, NY (7.5 miles)
Alander mountain is a wonderful peak in the south Taconic Mountains, and located partially in Copake, NY and Mount Washington, MA. One of the highlights of this in-and-out hike is that it is not heavily wooded towards the peak, which gives you a few hundred feet of unobstructed panoramic views. Not a short hike, but gentle and definitely worth the view. There used to be a shorter, more direct (and steep) option, but I have heard murmurings of it closing permanently. Please leave a comment if you have confirmed this!
6) Anthony’s Nose - Cortlandt, NY (2.6 miles)
This little piece of the A.T. may be short, but it is a workout and well worth it! The total ascent is about 700 feet, and it is a constant uphill climb for the first half, but the end result is truly one of the most beautiful overlook views of the Hudson Valley. Fair warning though, this is a very popular climb, so you might run into several fellow hikers. There is plenty of space for everyone and the more the merrier, but if you are looking exclusively for solitude, this is not where you will find it.
7) Teatown Lake Reservation - Ossining, NY (varied)
This reservation is a network of trails totalling in about 15 miles. It is open 365 days of the year from dawn to dusk, and offers trails of varying lengths and a very diverse terrain that are great for hiking, and also for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing when there is snow on the ground. There is a fee for parking during peak periods for non-members, but the variation in landscape and difficulty makes it a great option for everyone.
8) Algonquin Peak - Lake Placid, NY (4.3 miles)
*These last three options are all in the Adirondacks -- the hikes are a bit more inclined, the elevation a bit higher, and the distance a bit further North.
Algonquin Peak is the second highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains and based in Lake Placid, NY (which is, in itself, a lovely destination for a weekend visit). Reaching an elevation gain of almost 3,000 feet, the hike to the top is steep, and then very steep, so I would definitely recommend hiking some of the smaller Adirondack peaks before making this climb, but the views from the top and the waterfall and open rock faces that you get to see along the way is worth the practice.
9) Mount Goodnow - Newcomb, NY (3.9 miles)
Mount Goodnow is a great option for beginner hikers, families, and regular hikers who just want a lowkey option. In the same region as Vanderwhacker and Mount Adams, it is just under four miles round trip reaching a maximum elevation of about 2,600ft. What makes the peak particularly enticing, is a beautiful firetower that adds some extra height and provides access to a stunning panoramic view of the High Peaks.
10) Mount Marcy - Lake Placid, NY (varied)
Mount Marcy is the highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains, which alone makes it an exciting hike. A seven and a half mile hike and elevation gain of over 3,100 feet, this is a big climb. There are a few trails that lead to the summit all with varying lengths, terrain, and levels of difficulty, but the most popular (and shortest) is the Van Hoevenberg Trail (7.4 miles, one way). The views are phenomenal, as are the habitats and different terrains you will come across, but (like Algonquin Peak) it is important to approach this climb with caution, and make sure that everyone involved is experienced and properly prepared.
Well, there you have it! These are a handful of my all-time favorite hiking spots in New York. Please be sure to do your own research before attempting any of these trails as there is a lot more needed to be fully prepared, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! (This is especially important now that many trails are closed due to COVID-19). Also, we’d love to hear from YOU! Leave a comment with some of your favorite hiking spots below!
--Brolonation’s East Coast Adventurer
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