The Hudson Valley is well known for a wide range of outdoor activities that everyone can enjoy, including kids. Located in the Mid-Hudson Valley, we at Karl Family Farms have done plenty of hiking with our kids and we've assembled a set of kid-friendly hikes in our area that we're confident you'll enjoy.
Our unscientific method identifies trails that have:
Lastly all of these kid-tested hikes are within 30 minutes of the farm, so we'd love to see you at our farmstand before or after your hike!
This is a fun hike on a trail that's relatively well marked and features a small stream along the trail. A great place to let the kids play in the water (weather permitting) and you can bring your dog (leash required). There's even a 10 station scavenger hunt to keep the kids moving!
This is a simple, well-marked trail that's frequented by quite a few families and features plenty of beautiful scenery. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash. The foot trail is well maintained and you'll find a picnic area ideal for a rest stop. The parking lot is typically filled by late morning, so get there early.
This hike offers a wide trail and plenty of scenic views that makes it a great one for kids. In addition, kids will encounter plenty of interesting sights like the Hudson River, walking bridges, scenic overlooks, and plenty of space to explore. Bring your dog, but leash required.
This is a great short hike that's perfect for young hikers. The trail features all sorts of things to explore including a waterfall, wading pool and scenic views. A springtime hike here is ideal; the water level decreases in Summer and Fall which reduces the waterfall to a trickle; in the Winter, the trail can get pretty icy.
The easiest hike in the Hudson Highlands State Park, the Cornish Estate Trail is mostly paved which can make it easier for younger hikers. In addition, there's lots to keep kids engaged on this route including the ruins of the Cornish estate, great views, creeks, plenty of wildlife and some good picnic spots too. This trail is dog-friendly.
Hiking is something that everyone can enjoy, however some advanced planning will help maximize the experience for kids and adults alike. Before you set off on your Hudson Valley hike, we encourage you to consider the following tips:
Keep it Interesting - Creating points of during your hike will keep kids engaged and enthusiastic about the outing. This can range from setting a goal like reaching a scenic overlook, to counting turtles in an adjacent lake. Kids are curious; use that quality to elevate their experience beyond just simply walking down a gravel path.
Keep it Short - Most kids have a notoriously short attention span, so plan your trip accordingly. While mapping out your hike, consider shorter routes or those that may give you the flexibility to shorten trip if necessary. This will make sure that everyone will enjoy the activity with minimal dissatisfaction.
Give Kids Some Control - Allowing your children to call some of the shots on your hike will stimulate their desire to explore and make the activity more engaging. Options can include planning activities like selecting a trial, picking what's for lunch, or setting the pace during the hike itself. You'll find that kids will embrace an activity in which they have a hand in leading.
Bring Plenty of Snacks - It goes without saying that having plenty of snacks on-hand for any activity involving kids is a wise idea, and that goes for hiking too. Make sure to bring water and plenty of snacks that include those rich in carbohydrates (fruit, granola bars, etc.), high protein snacks (beef jerky anyone?) and maybe even some candy as a treat. Keeping everyone hydrated and energized will minimize distractions and maximize focus.
There are quite a few great hiking trails in the Hudson Valley and we've selected these five as superior options for kids. Each offers something that will keep all members of the family happy and engaged.