Just up river from New York City is one of the most beautiful areas on the East Coast (in our humble opinion): the Hudson River Valley. Whether you have a car or just want to jump on a Metro North train (dogs up to 65 lbs allowed with no extra fee) or take Amtrak from Grand Central Station in Manhattan, in less than two hours you will be able to take great pet friendly hikes in the Hudson River Valley.
One of our favorite jaunts is the Walkway Over the Hudson. Accessible from Poughkeepsie (a MetroNorth stop) on the east side of the river or from Highland on the west side, the walkway was built in 1889 as the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. It soars 212 feet above the river and offers amazing views of the Hudson Highlands to the south and the Catskill Mountains to the north. It is part of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, so if the 1.28 mile walk across the river isn’t enough for you and your pooch, you can keep on going!
Another great place for a hike is Storm King State Park in Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, NY, on the west side of the Hudson. Once again, the views are unmatched. Though you’re climbing up to 1,385 feet above sea level, the hike is composed of a 2.5 mile loop and is rated moderate for difficulty. Get to the top, though, and you and your best friend will have a huge panorama before you that includes Newburgh Bay, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and historic Pollepel Island and Bannerman Castle further south. Dogs must be on a leash no more than 6 feet long. Visit Hike the Hudson Valley for an excellent guide to the trail as well as other details on what to expect.
Want something a little less challenging? Then we highly recommend a leisurely stroll with your pet through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It is comprised of 85 acres of rolling landscape offering Hudson River views and is cited as a notable example of the rural cemetery movement of the mid-1800s. Steeped in the history and lore of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, the cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features such renowned denizens as Washington Irving, Andrew Carnegie and Walter Chrysler. However, at Petswelcome, it’s the lesser known people who are our favorites, including Norman Mingo (he created the image of Alfred E. Neuman for Mad Magazine) and Maud Alice Earl, a famed painter of canines. Also interred at the cemetery were the Ramones. All of them. They filmed a video here in 1989 as a tribute to Stephen King’s Pet Semetary and were buried alive. Luckily for them, though, they got unburied and got to walk away, so you won’t be able to see any traces of them now.
Mohonk Preserve is located on the Shawangunk Ridge 90 miles north of New York City in Gardiner, NY. It is the largest nature preserve in New York and contains 8,000 acres of forest, fields, cliffs, streams and ponds. It has four trailheads, as well as self-guided trails around the Visitors Center, including the J&S Grafton Sensory Trial, the Weinstein Butterfly Garden and the LeVerne Thompson Nature Trail. We highly recommend the Sky Top Trail, which is rated easy but offers great views of the surrounding territory, including the Catskills and the Walkill River Valley. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
Bear Mountain State Park (see top photo) is a 5,200+ acre state park located in Rockland County, NY, on the west side of the Hudson about 50 miles north of Manhattan. The park is an original part of the Appalachian Trail, which was opened in 1923. It has 21 trails that will give you and your dog a great workout as well as fantastic views of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain Bridge and, on clear days, the New York City skyline. Popular trails include the Bear Mountain Loop, Bald Mountain, Anthony’s Nose and the Major Welch Trail. Dogs must be leashed within the park. The park also contains the historic Bear Mountain Inn, which, unfortunately, does not allow pets. However, the Overlook Lodge, which is also within the park, offers a limited number of pet-friendly guest rooms, with a pet fee of $45 for the first night and $5 for each additional night. The lobby has a panoramic view of the Hudson and is a great place to relax after a long day on the trails.
To find other pet-friendly lodgings in great places, be sure to check out Petswelcome’s new Travel Guides section where you can find hotels in dozens of top vacation destinations around the country.