5 Family Hikes (less than 2 hours from NYC)


Springtime has finally graced us with her presence, so get outside and hit the trails! Hiking with my kids is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone gets something out of it. Kids learn to appreciate and connect with Mother Nature. For adults, spending time outside among the trees and greenery is therapeutic and calming. And (obvs) is also great exercise for the whole family. Bonus - the kids sleep REALLY WELL after a good hike.

As I put together this post though, something else felt more important. Reliving these moments gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling. The memories created on our family excursions are priceless. How often do we go on true adventures together? I wholeheartedly encourage you to go take a hike (in a good way). Be prepared to hear some whining and "my legs are tired" complaints, but overall everyone will come away from the experience feeling great. It will be a day to remember. *My kids are ages 6 years, 3 years, and 8 months. My 6 year old provided me with the difficulty ratings of each hike on the scale of 1 to 10. And all of these hikes can be done with baby in the carrier. Anthony’s Nose (Kid challenge rating: 8 out of 10) If you are looking for a pretty challenging hike for the whole family Anthony’s nose is great. The path is steep and rocky for the first mile up the mountain. For my kids, the more of a rocky scramble it is to the top, the more fun they have. I have noticed they complain a lot less when they have rocks to climb. Once you make it to the top, the trail is smooth to the overlook. It is a pretty awesome reward with amazing views of the Hudson Valley.

For more trail details click here.

Doodletown (Kid challenge rating: 7 out of 10) This is a great hike anytime of the year, but if you go closer to Halloween it will give the kids an extra thrill. Doodletown was founded in the 18th century and then abandoned in the 1960s when the land was purchased by the Palisades Park Commission. Many of the towns structures still exist! Stroll past the old crumbling foundations of houses from long ago, and make up your own ghost stories as you walk. Our final stop through this ghost town was the June cemetery overlooking a tranquil pond. The kids still talk about our “ghost town” hike! It is pretty long and sprawling, so even though there are not too many steep climbs, you should still expect to break a sweat. We did NOT do the full 7 mile loop, but started at the trail head on 9W and did an out and back trip to the cemetery.

For more trail details click here .

Fort Montgomery to Bear Mountain Zoo (Kid challenge rating: 3 out of 10) We discovered this short but scenic path last fall when the foliage was at it’s peak. It’s an easy/short walk along the Hudson River, so even nature loving toddlers can do it. We even took a few minutes to play by foot bridge and skip some stones by the water. Plus, you get the added advantage of seeing the animals at the Bear Mountain Zoo (which is free btw).

For more trail details click here .

Dover Stone Church (Kid challenge rating: 6 out of 10, including the extra loop up to the top of the “mountain”) This is one of my favorites. It’s exciting for the kids and adults alike. The “stone church” is actually a cave that resembles a cathedral-like structure, so you can walk right inside the cavern! Who doesn’t enjoy some spelunking from time to time? Bring a head-lamp or flashlight for added excitement. Also, be prepared to navigate some pretty slippery, rocky terrain to get to the cave, but it’s a relatively short hike from the parking lot. If you are looking to add a bit more of a hike you can choose one of the other loops that will take you up the mountain. At the top there are some small scenic overlooks to have a snack or lunch.

For more trail details click here.

Bear Mountain Summit Loop (Kids challenge rating: 2 out of 10) If you are looking for an easy nature walk with some gorgeous views then you should try the Bear Mountain Summit Loop. You can drive up to the top of the mountain to park, and there you enjoy a panoramic view of the valley and a nice one mile trail that circles the Mountain top. It does get a little crowded, so be prepared to nudge people out of the way to get a good family photo at the overlook. Afterwards head down to the Bear Mountain Carousel. They serve snacks and wine! For more trail details click here.


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