Easy accessibility from New York City and New Jersey and famously panoramic views have made the Hudson Highlands a key destination for day hikers from lower New York and upper New Jersey.
- Hudson Highland summits are often broad, exposed rocky outcroppings, and many offer sweeping, dramatic and highly-photogenic views;
- The steep challenging scramble up Breakneck Ridge might be New York State’s most beloved day hike;
- These peaks are very popular. In the summer and fall, every trailhead and parking area is beyond packed. Especially on weekends and holidays, you’ll need to arrive early-early to ensure a parking spot.
Geologically, the Hudson Highlands rock bed dates from the Precambrian. These rocks were formed in the very earliest days of the Earth’s history. More recently, these beautiful highlands were ground out by successive mile-thick ice-sheets.
The Hudson Highlands are extremely biodiverse. Biomes range from brackish tidal marsh and mudflats to pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit forests, and rocky grasslands at higher elevations. Although hugely popular for day hikes, the area is also extremely popular for birding.
Hudson Highlands Mountains
Some quick notes on safety…
- Unlike the trail blazes in the Catskills and Adirondacks, Hudson Highlands blazes are non-reflective. If you don’t have a headlamp in your pack, make sure you’re off these hills long before dark.
- In the warmer months, you’ll want to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.
- Always pack The 10 Essentials.
For the summer and fall of 2021, I plan to hike and report on as many of these mountains as I can…
Hudson Highlands East
- Storm King
- Breakneck Ridge
- Bull Hill (Mount Taurus)
- South Beacon
Hudson Highlands West
- Bear Mountain
- Popolopen Torne
- West Mountain
- Harriman State Park
Disclosure: Links to external products and websites on this page may be affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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Leave No Trace
Please remember to hike thoughtfully: Leave No Trace.
- Stay on marked trails. Do your part to protect the surrounding ecosystem.
- Wear proper hiking gear (such as hiking boots or sturdy shoes).
- Bring water with you, carry a trail map and make sure to leave enough time to complete your hike. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
- Please note that overnight camping and use of fire are prohibited throughout the park.
In case of an emergency, NYS Park Police can be reached at (845) 889-8866.
Scenic Hudson & the Birth of the Environmental Movement
Founded by local citizens and hikers in 1963 — to stop an industrial project that would have turned Storm King Mountain into a ConEd hydroelectric plant — Scenic Hudson is widely credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement.
Today, with more than 25,000 supporters, Scenic Hudson is the largest environmental group in the region. Check out their list of 45 amazing parks dotted up and down the Hudson Valley.