Insider Info: The 5 Hardest Hikes in the Hudson Valley
Personally, I prefer a paved path with a gentle incline, but there's some psychos in the Hudson Valley.
From the Catskills to the Hudson Highlands and everywhere in between, it's easy to find beautiful trails of all skill levels. Mount Beacon is a short but very steep hike that begins with an inhumanely-long staircase. The lemon squeeze at Mohonk is a claustrophobic's nightmare that makes you contort your body to fit through narrow crevasses. Neither makes the list. So what are the 5 toughest?
5. Breakneck Ridge in Philipstown, NY
The question was posed to members of the Hiking the Hudson Valley & Beyond Facebook group, and one of the most popular answers was one of the most famous Hudson Valley hikes: Breakneck Ridge. "Breakneck for sure. Anyone can walk far. Scrambling up a steep mountain like that is much more physically demanding (and fun and rewarding too!)", said one hiker.
4. Slide Mountain in Shandaken, NY
A hike that often flies under the radar, Slide Mountain is the highest peak in the Catskills with a prominence of 3,300 ft. Its elevation gain is also over 500 feet greater than Breakneck Ridge. Slide Mountain Trail is designated as "hard" and has a 4.5-star rating on AllTrails.com.
3. Fishkill Ridge Loop in Glenham, NY
"Fishkill Ridge Loop via Overlook or Wilkinson is under appreciated", came another local answer. The 8 mile loop in Dutchess County has an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet and is located on the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve.
2. Suffern Bear Mountain Trail in Stony Point, NY
This challenging trail tests your endurance as well as your muscles. As one Hudson Valley hiker said, "'Hardest/challenging' can mean different things depending who you ask. Breakneck is challenging vertically. The Suffern-Bear Mountain trail is challenging in distance/remoteness." At over 23 miles, this trail will certainly leave a lasting impression. So what's number one?
1. Devil's Path in Elka Park, NY
Far and away, the most-nominated trail for difficulty was Devil's Path. Described by one local hiker as "24 grueling miles with a ton of elevation gain and loss and lots of scrambles", most adventurers take multiple days to conquer this trail, although the nearly 16-hour hike can be done all at once. Are you up for the challenge?
Safe travels and good luck if you're ready to attempt one of the five most challenging hikes in the Hudson Valley. If you're looking for something slightly more moderate check out 30 beautiful (and not death-defying) options below.