Beacon Mountain, locally Mount Beacon, is the highest peak of Hudson Highlands, located behind the City of Beacon, New York, in the Town of Fishkill. Its two summits rise above the Hudson River and can easily be seen from Newburgh across the river and many other places in the region. The more accessible northern peak, at 1,531 feet (467 m) above sea level, has a complex of radio antennas on its summit; the 1,610-foot (491 m) southern summit has a fire lookout tower.
Located in Ulster County, about 73 miles north of New York City, Ashokan Reservoir consists of two basins separated by a concrete dividing weir and roadway. It holds 122.9 billion gallons at full capacity and was placed into service in 1915. The Ashokan is one of two reservoirs in New York City’s Catskill Water Supply System.
Forest Park is more than 500 acres with a “knob and kettle” terrain (a series of small hills) and 165 acres of trees. The eastern section of the park contains hiking trails and bridle paths.
The 550-acre Muttontown Preserve includes the ruins of the mansion of King Zog, the last monarch in Albania. Zog fled Albania after the Italian invasion of 1939 and acquired the Knollwood Estate at Muttontown in 1951. The estate included a 60-room granite mansion originally built for Wall Street investor Charles Hudson in the early 20th century. But Zog never moved to the U.S. and sold the estate in 1955. Vandalism took its toll on the mansion, which was demolished in 1959.
If you don’t have a car, accessing this part of Harriman State Park and its network of trails is made easy by train service stopping at Tuxedo Station. The beginning of the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail is only a half-mile walk/hike from the station. Great views of Lake Sebago, Skenonto, Tuxedo Village and surrounding mountain ranges.
The Mohonk Preserve is 8,000 acres of cliffs, forests, fields, ponds and streams located on the Shawangunk Ridge, a section of the Appalachian Mountains. The Trapps is also a major destination for rock climbers. Minnewaska State Park Preserve adjoins the Mohonk Preserve lands to the south, and protects another 12,000 acres.
Saved from residential development in 2003, the 253-acre Franny Reese State Park in Ulster County contains three miles of hiking trails overlooking the Hudson River, Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Walkway Over the Hudson. Along the White Trail lay ruins of Cedar Glen, the estate of Dr. Charles H. Roberts, built in the 1860s.
Named for American poet Walt Whitman, the trail is in West Hills, near where Whitman grew up, and leads to Jaynes Hill, the highest natural elevation on Long Island (401 feet above sea level). A stone marker at the summit contains a plaque with Whitman’s poem Paumanok from Leaves of Grass.
Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary is a tidal marsh that serves as a natural habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife. The trail leads to a 700-foot boardwalk that allows you to traverse the marsh and take in views of Storm King and Breakneck Ridge. Also in this area is a small waterfall, Indian Brook Falls.
Old Putnam Trail in New York City's Van Cortlandt Park is actually an abandoned rail line of the New York Central Railroad Putnam Division. An unusual feature are 13 large stones which were shipped from quarries by railroad magnate Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt to determine which would be the most durable for building Grand Central Station. The route also connects with the John Kiernan Natural Trail and the South County Trailway into Yonkers.
With more than 1,500 acres, Rockefeller State Park Preserve boats more than 180 species of birds, 32 miles of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Swan Lake, which is pictured above.