Finding convenient hiking options in New York is never an easy task; in a city bursting with imposing skyscrapers and swarming streets, most New Yorkers are in need of breathing fresh air and exercising in nature by the time weekend steps in. Fall is certainly one of the best seasons to do so, with its sublime fall foliage and mild temperatures.
The New York area is blessed with generous forests and hiking trails. From the Pocono Mountains, to New Jersey’s greenery to New York’s Hudson Valley, there are a multitude of options that nature lovers can explore. However, without driving or renting a car, most of them are out of reach for the average person. There are also several companies that organize day trips; yet, the costs of joining can easily add up.
This is why just an hour away from midtown, the village of Cold Spring can be found, east of Hudson River. The Putnam County village is a delightful historical district, with well-preserved 19-century buildings and stunning fall foliage. Despite its incredibly small population and overall size (0.6 square miles), Cold Spring has become a very popular weekend destination for tourists from New York City.
Nestled between exceptional vertical terrains, its popularity rose mainly due to its proximity to the Hudson River. Going past Main Street, one mile into the woods opens up into the scenic Hudson Highlands and its hiking trails. Entering the park leads to several trails, both left and right. It is fairly easy to reach the top, where picturesque views of the Hudson River await. You can choose to continue your hike, or set camp for a few hours. Be prepared with some snacks and SPF cream, as the sun can be quite powerful.
Towards the end of the afternoon, you can descend down the hill, unto a beautiful beach. It may not be alike Long Island beaches, but its seclusion is highly desirable.
Once back into the village and onto its Main Street, you can stop for late lunch/dinner at one of the restaurants set on the porch. Hudson Hil’s Café & Market is a good one; it will shock you how much lower the prices are in comparison to NYC. Walking on Main Street is utterly invigorated experiencing the good ol’ fashioned “Americana” feel. Most houses are decked out for Halloween, whose porches will instantly take you back to the settings of older American movies.
To get to Cold Spring, you can hop on a Metro-North train, directly from Grand Central, which gets you into the village in a little over an hour. Very accessible and bound to relax you from the city grind!
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