First hike to Fortress West Point and Fort Putnam
We’ve all read that walking is a beneficial, low-impact. It lowers blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol and increases the “good,” reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, helps you manage your weight, keeps you fit and even lifts your mood. The Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) is offering eight hikes this season, at various levels of difficulty, to help you realize those benefits as you learn about the history and natural resources of this beautiful area.
There is no cost to join HHLT on a hike (except for Castle to Castle, this season’s program fundraiser), but advanced registration is required. Family-friendly hikes are stroller accessible, except where indicated with “NS.” Please call the office or check their website (www.hhlt.org) to confirm that a hike has not been cancelled, particularly in cases of inclement weather.
Saturday, April 28 FORTRESS WEST POINT and FORT PUTNAM HISTORIC WALK – Join Colonel Lance Betros, chair of the West Point Department of History, and Colonel (retired) Andrew Chmar, Executive Director of the HHLT, for an up-close look at the storied past of this major Revolutionary War fortress, now the prestigious United States Military Academy. Get a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the cadet area, including locations like the dining hall, cadet chapel and headquarters building. Due to increased base security, please allow ample time and bring a valid photo identification. Meet: 9 a.m. at Thayer Hall rooftop parking area, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. Duration: 2.5 hrs. Level: Moderate/Family-friendly/NS.
Saturday, May 5: SONG BIRDS OF SPRING — Come, join Constitution Marsh Sanctuary Director Eric Lind for a bird walk on Sunken Mine Road in Fahnestock State Park, Putnam Valley. No birding experience necessary, but bring binoculars to get a close-up look at the spring migrants to be found. Meet: 8 a.m. parking area at corner of Dennytown & Sunken Mine Roads Duration: 2 hrs. Level: Easy/Family-friendly.
Saturday, May 12: VIEWPOINTS & VISTAS — The Hudson Valley has been the inspiration of landscape artists for centuries. Join photographer John Keller as he shares his tips and perspectives on a walk that reveals some truly breathtaking Hudson River views. Bring along your camera and accessories, as well as a notepad and pencil, to get the most of this casual introduction to nature photography. Meet: 9 a.m. Little Stony Point Park Bridge Duration: 2.5 hrs. Level: Moderate.
Saturday, June 23: HIKING 101 — If you enjoy our hikes but are leery of following a trail without a guide, this session is for you. River of Words Educator Lisa Mechaley will take you through the Garrison School Forest, along trails blazed by the newly formed Green Team, and show you how to read a trail map and trail markers. She will also go over what to pack and what to leave home so that you’ll be prepared for your next excursion. Meet: 10 a.m. Winter Hill Duration: 2 hrs. Level: Moderate/Family-friendly/NS.
Saturday, July 14: ROAMING THROUGH RUINS — Retired Harriman Park Educator Thom Johnson shares his knowledge and enthusiasm for Hudson Valley’s “ghost town,” Doodletown. You will hear the history that has affected the valley’s landscape as you enjoy the views and explore the village site and surrounding area. Meet: 10 a.m. Rte. 9W, about 1 mile south of Bear Mountain Bridge Circle Duration: 4 hrs. Level: Moderate/Difficult.
Saturday, September 8: STORM KING CHALLENGE — Enjoy the West Shore perspective with a challenging hike in Cornwall. Join in on this four mile loop hike that climbs to the North Peak of Crows Nest Mountain and features spectacular views of the Hudson River and the East Highlands. Meet: 10 a.m. Storm King State Park parking lot off Mountain Rd. Duration: 3 hrs. Level: Moderate/Difficult.
Sunday, September 23: CASTLE TO CASTLE (A Take-a-Hike! program fundraiser) — Back by popular demand! Members of the Osborn family will lead us from Castle Rock, the first Osborn castle built by railroad magnate William H. Osborn in 1880, to Cat Rock, built in 1919 by Frederick H. Osborn. At Cat Rock, our hosts will welcome us with refreshments. Hike takes place on privately conserved land, directions will be provided when you register. Space is limited, register early. Cost: adults $10, kids under 12 $5 Meet: 2 p.m. Park at Cat Rock, shuttle to Castle Rock will be provided. Duration: 3 hrs. Level: Moderate/Difficult.
Friday, October 5: SPOOKY — NOT SCARY— STORIES ON THE HUDSON — A Take-a-Hike! tradition, with a twist! Gather your courage and meet us for an eerie evening walk through the Cornish Estate ruins in Cold Spring. Professional storyteller Jonathan Kruk will spin yarns of local mysteries and spooky area legends, perfect for putting families in the Halloween mood. Meet: 5 p.m. Parking lot across from Little Stony Point Park Duration: 1 hr. Level: Easy/Tot & Family-friendly.
The Hudson Highlands Land Trust is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the natural resources, rural character, and scenic beauty of the Hudson Highlands. HHLT offers hikes to give people the opportunity to experience the beauty, history and ecology of the region firsthand. To learn more about our programs and conservation work visit their website or call the office at 845-424-3358.