ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. (August 20, 2015) ”“ Hundreds of miles of trails from level footpaths to challenging rock scrambles are networked throughout Orange County, NY. As summer moves into fall, the beauty of the landscape becomes more colorful, giving hikers a real show as they follow the trails. Here are some of the top hiking choices:
The Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, was actually started in Orange County. The 40 miles here include some of the more challenging portions of the trail. 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. www.appalachiantrail.org/about-the-trail/terrain-by-state/new-york
Harriman State Park, the second largest in New York State’s parks 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. A shuttle bus picks up hikers from the Tuxedo train station on weekends via the NJ Transit Port Jervis line, and drives them to and from the park. To learn more about the shuttle service and get the list of “best hikes” in the park, visit: www.myharriman.com/
Schunemunk Mountain is the highest mountain in Orange County with 25 miles of hiking routes. Once the 1,664-foot summit is reached, there are expansive views of the Hudson Valley. The name “Schunemunk” means “excellent fireplace” in Lenape, and the Lenni Lenape Indians had a village on the northern tip of the mountain. The mountain is also close to Storm King Art Center and Palaia Vineyards for some after hike refreshment. To learn more, visit: 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. With wide views of the river and surrounding areas, both Storm King and Butter Hill summits are highly popular with hikers. The orange-blazed unnamed connector trail leads to the yellow-blazed Stillman Trail. It’s most often accessed from a parking area on US 9W, where an immediate and steep climb up Butter Hill is followed by a longer and more relaxing trip to the summit of Storm King itself. To learn more, visit: hikethehudsonvalley.com/storm-king/
Small children, future hikers-to-be, can visit Hunter Mountain Preserve in Middletown. The level green space 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.” To learn more, visit: 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: www.nynjtc.org. Orange County Tourism’s website also provides more information on hiking: orangetourism.org/play/attractions/hiking-and-trails/
Visit Orange County Tourism’s Facebook page: Orange County Tourism NY. It’s a fabulous guide with up-to-the minute postings of area events, activities, great times, and memorable experiences for visitors of all ages.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-762-8687.