The Simple Life
The city has the tendency of cradling us, rocking us back and forth, away from nature, away from physical-ity, away from the beauty of it all. Sometimes all it takes is a little hike amongst the trees, with a dog by your side. After all, dogs change us the same way nature changes us—they’re both good for our hearts. Here are the trails that’ll do your, and your canine’s, spirit some good.
Awosting Falls | New Paltz A moderate hike with 9 miles of wooded trails and insane views can only be topped off by the waterfall where you’ll end up. Your journey will start at a famous glacial lake, Lake Minnewaska, sculpted from cliff and fallen rock. Your hike will be through rough trails, with 1 mile of gentle carriage roads—both of which your dog will walk with ease. Along the way, you’ll make friends with uplifted bedrock, evidence of the last ice age over 10,000 years ago. The highest point of the mountain will show views of the Hudson Valley and some of the most famous climbing areas in the Gunks (a ridge of bedrock in Ulster County, Sullivan County and Orange County, extending from the northern-most point of New Jersey to the Catskill Mountains). Following a gentle path on the way back, you’ll end up at Awosting Falls—a beautiful reward to a day well spent.
Stony Kill Falls | Wawarsing A waterfall many haven’t heard of, Stony Kill Falls is like an “appetizer” compared to other hikes because of its ease and length. It’s very, very hard to get lost on this trek—all you have to do is follow the stream and unmarked trail to get to its beautiful waterfall. The terrain is a bit wild and unkempt—you’ll feel like no one has been there before, like you’ve landed on some kind of hidden treasure—and well, that’s the fun of it. According to Stony Kill Falls lore, you can hike above the falls to find a place called Nudist Pool, for the more adventurous at heart.
Devil’s Tombstone Campground | Hunter Devil’s Tombstone is a large, 7-foot boulder, carried down the mountain many centuries ago by a landslide or glacier—which now rests, nestled into a rugged moun-tain pass in the Catskill Mountains called Stony Clove. (The word “clove” comes from the old Dutch word “Kloove,” meaning “gash or cut in the body of mother earth”.) Rumor has it, Stony Clove was a favorite haunt of the Devil during the early days in settlement of the Catskills. The very popular Devil’s Path Trail is over 21 miles long with links to the Indian Head and Hunter-West Kill Wilderness, which are moderate and easy enough for your pup to come along—and thankfully so, because you won’t want to be alone in a place the Devil used to frequent.
Hunter Mountain | Hunter A lot of people think Hunter Mountain (the hike) is related to Hunter Mountain (the ski area)—but the walking trails are a little tougher than the slopes. We recommend the gentler and more accessible route—an 8-mile hike from Spruceton Road trailhead, which will save you 300 vertical feet from the alternate trails. You’ll reach a large clearing at the summit of the mountain with a fire tower and observer’s cabin once you are 3.4 miles in. It’s open to the public and has majestic views from all sides—the mountains of the Blackhead Range, Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, and the ski trails alike. There are some steep parts on your descent, so go slow and make sure it’s not your pup’s first hike. When you reach your car, finish the day off with a beer at West Kill Brewery and say hi to our friends at Spruceton Inn Bed and Bar before you head out.
Split Rock at Mohonk Reserve | Gardiner Nature is truly a wonder, especially when it is child and dog friendly. You’ll find rocks in the formation of stairs that lead you down the side of a 12-foot waterfall, which flows into an 8-foot deep swimming hole. The turquoise water is crystal clear, making it the perfect spot to cool off in the summertime. The reason why dog owners love it so much? There are a number of large flat rocks where everyone spreads out a blanket and relaxes for hours until the sun goes down. There’s bound to be a handful of dogs there anytime you visit. The best part about this spot is its flexibility. Hikes range from easy .25 miles to strenuous 7.5 miles—it’s up to you.
YOU, YOUR DOG, AND A LITTLE TRAIL
By Emily Marucci