3 craft breweries. 7 gorgeous hikes.
The Hudson Valley has over a dozen state parks, the Shawangunk Ridge, and Scenic Hudson’s vast network of parks and preserves. It is also happens to harbor a booming craft brewing scene. The number of craft breweries in New York has doubled since 2011—now with over 240 spots to grab a pint of fresh, locally-sourced ale—and the Hudson Valley is home to some of the state’s craft beer pioneers. No car? No problem. This hiker’s paradise is within reach from New York City by train, making any one of these hikes a perfect day-tripper’s getaway.
New Paltz Brewing Company (Pfälzerbräu)
The Giesberg brothers, who founded New Paltz Brewing Co., are just like their beers: homegrown and proud of New York State and their German roots. They credit the perfect amount of minerals in New York water for helping give their beers their flavor. The brothers are dedicated to revitalizing old, lost styles, and after a day of hiking the Shawangunk area ("the Gunks" to locals) you’ll be more than ready to try their Kellerbier, a rare “Cellar Beer,” which is not clarified or pasteurized and their Rauchbier or “smoked beer.” If the weather is nice, sit outside and try all of their authentic European-inspired handcrafted beers.
Sam’s Point Loop Road and Gertrude’s Nose Trail
The 22,275-acre Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located along the Shawangunk Ridge and is home to giant rock ledges, ice caves, arctic microclimates, waterfalls, and two-dozen hiking trails. The two-mile Loop Road Trail takes you past the ruins of a once thriving migrant berry picking community and up around Lake Maratanza, one of the park’s sky lakes. Next, you’ll take the trail to the ice caves, (check the park’s website for ice cave closings). Make your way back to the Loop Road and you will come to Sam’s Point. Its lookout features sweeping views into both New York and New Jersey. A more challenging favorite is the nearly seven-mile Gertrude’s Nose Loop, where the variety of terrain and views are enough to make you forget your sore feet. When you’re done, you’ll be more than ready to refresh at the New Paltz Brewing Company, which is just a short car ride away.
The Newburgh Brewing Company
The Newburgh Brewing Company is a quick ferry ride across the Hudson River from Beacon, New York. Once docked, walk up the hill to a large brick building that's home to the brewery and its expansive taproom. You will be more than ready to sample from the extensive beer list that has one of the state’s best IPAs and their cult brew, Cream Ale.
What 15-acre Mount Beacon Park lacks in size it makes up in its varied historic terrain. Take the Casino Trail and walk the old road, which will bring you to the ruins of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Station. Next, climb the 200-plus steps of the steel staircase that leads you to the trail and its switchbacks. Aside from the cardio, there are other payoffs like getting up close to railroad’s ruins and the overlook. Make sure to climb the fire tower, then either head back down the same way or connect with the Wilkinson Memorial Trail and return via the Fishkill Ridge Trail for a hearty 7.7-mile hike. When you’re done, walk a few blocks to the ferry and cross the Hudson River to the Newburgh Brewing Co.
Breakneck Ridge and Bull Hill Trail
Just south of Beacon are Breakneck Ridge and Bull Hill Trails. Breakneck Ridge is the undisputed hiking star of the Hudson Valley and often makes the nation’s top ten lists. It’s a straight-up scramble, and you’ll more than earn your share of breathtaking views (and brews!). There is also its lesser-known cousin Bull Hill (Mt. Tarus), a 3.6-mile trek with over 1,300 feet of elevation gain and fewer crowds. Both hikes are short walks from the Cold Spring Train station, and while Bull Hill Trail doesn’t have the hard climb of Breakneck, it will give you the aerobic workout you crave along its forest cliff walk.
Peekskill Brewing Co.
The Peekskill Brewing Co. is a gathering place for outdoorists with a serious draft list. On weekends, the place is packed with both the après hiking and biking crowd. Their Skills Pils, now in its 7th iteration of their rotating pilsner, is the house favorite. If you order a flight, make sure to try their More Barn Saison and C.R.E.A.M. Ale.
Blue Mountain Twin Summits Trail
A half-hour walk from the Peekskill Brewing Company is the 1,538-acre Blue Mountain Reservation, which is popular with hikers and mountain bikers alike. At the trailhead, take the Blue Mountain Twin Summits Trail, making sure to include the hike up both summits, and you’ll add to the already 2.6-mile hike. Overlook the Hudson Valley atop both the Blue and Spitzenberg Mountains.
Bear Mountain Loop Trail
The 5,000-acre Bear Mountain State Park is 45 minutes by car from New York City, and the 3.9-mile Bear Mountain Loop has the right mix of steep climbs and vista payoffs. A section of it crosses the Appalachian Trail, and when you finally reach the top, Bear Mountain’s summit will give you dramatic views of the Hudson and beyond. When you’re done, you’re a scenic 13-minute car ride from the Peekskill Brewery.
This article is part of our Trails and Ales column, where we highlight the best hikes by the best breweries near you.