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Top 10 Hidden Gem Hikes

Date Published: October 3, 2022

Dutchess County is home to 76 trail systems, equating 350 miles worth of paths perfect for treating your body to fresh air, movement, and quality time in nature. Many have gained popularity over the years, and for good reason, but we’re here to offer alternatives to those high trafficked trails and share some hidden gem hikes!

Before you hit the trails, download our FREE Dutchess Tourism Zen Finder Outdoor Experience Trail. This mobile passport provides 32 under-the-radar destinations for hikers, bikers, bird-watchers and anyone seeking peace and tranquility in the great outdoors. As you hike your way through the list, earn prizes like stickers, reusable waterbottles and the chance to win a grand prize of a YETI cooler.

To download your Zen Finder pass, click here.

Brace Mountain, Millerton

Conquer the highest peak in Dutchess County and be rewarded with stunning views! Brace Mountain is the peak ridge of the southern Taconic Mountains, located in the northeast corner of the county. With scenic surroundings, rugged terrain and even waterfalls, Brace Mountain is a great hike to add to your Dutchess County bucket list.

Burger Hill, Rhinebeck

Soak in sweeping, panoramic views from the Berkshires to the Catskills at Burger Hill. Although it may not be the longest hike, the steep incline makes for a heart pumping climb to the top! Local tip – plan your trip around sunset and enjoy the most beautiful painted sky.

Vassar Farms, Poughkeepsie

The Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve is located to the south of Vassar’s campus. The preserve comprises a multitude of habitats including streams, wetlands, ponds, forest, and old fields populated by a stunning diversity of flora and fauna. The 415- acre Vassar Ecological Preserve is an invaluable resource for Vassar College faculty and students conducting scientific research. Hike, bike or run on a network of marked trails.

Taconic State Park - Rudd Pond Area, Millerton

Rudd Pond Area offers an extensive trail system with terrain that varies from easy to challenging, offering spectacular views. The developed state park offers a variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Even cool off post-hike at the sandy beach!

Tymor Park, Lagrangeville

This wonderful 11.6-mile lightly trafficked loop trail located in Lagrangeville is the perfect option for all skill levels. Visitors will enjoy the well-maintained trails, wildlife sightings and natural scenery. The perfect destination to recharge and breath in some fresh air.

Stissing Mountain, Pine Plains

If you’re looking for a steep hike with a big payoff, this is it! And even after you’ve made it to the top, bolster up the courage to climb your way up the Fire Tower for gorgeous views. Fun fact: most of the region’s towers top off around 60 feet, but the Stissing Mountain Fire Tower reaches 90 feet, high above the treetops. The extra height makes for some amazing views of Thompson Pond, surrounding fields, and distant mountains.

Tivoli Bays, Tivoli

Just outside the quaint village of Tivoli is the beautiful Wildlife Management Area and Research Reserve. The lush trails offer varied and interesting terrain, accompanied by water views.

Mills Norrie State Park, Staatsburg

Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park adjoins Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills Memorial State Park and together, comprise more than 1,000 acres. Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park offers a full menu of exhilarating recreational opportunities and activities for visitors of all ages. The numerous trails that thread through the grounds of both Mills and Norrie State Parks are ideal for walking, jogging, and hiking - treating visitors to fabulous views of the Hudson River.

Vlei Marsh Trail, Rhinebeck

Explore Vlei Marsh, a vast wetland that a wide diversity of bird species, amphibian life and beavers call home. A mile and a half of looped trails take visitors through wooded areas and around the wetland. In addition, quirky sculptures made from organic materials by Hudson Valley artists line the trails, creating a unique atmosphere.

Bowdoin Park, Wappingers Falls

Many come to enjoy the pavilions and playground, but this picturesque 301-acre park in central Dutchess offers a forested and rocky landscape, including a wetland boardwalk and an observation platform. Enjoy cleared trails and amazing views overlooking the Hudson River. 

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