DOGS NEED EXERCISE TOO... WHERE TO WALK YOUR DOG IN THE HUDSON VALLEY
Is your dog hyper? Well, he could probably use some exercise. Is your dog a little on the plump side? Well, he could probably use some exercise. Is your dog prone to anxiety? You get the idea here. Dogs need to run around a bit—it's their natural instinct—and so do you if you want to stay healthy.
"An abundance of activities are waiting for you and your canine
friend to explore right in our own backyard. Go get 'em!"
Mohonk Preserve’s 8,000-plus acres are a playground for you and your dog. Just make sure you respect the Preserve’s rules by keeping your dog on a handheld leash at all times. Slightly less traveled are the trails beginning at the SPRING FARM TRAILHEAD on Upper 27 Knolls Road in High Falls, which is clearly marked and just down the hill from the entrance to Mohonk Mountain House. Those who venture to this trailhead often scramble up to the top of Bonticou—which is not where you want to go with your canine friend—so stay clear of the rock scramble, and you hopefully won’t see too many people. The SKI LOOP is a nice, shady, easy walk, and
"a creek parallels the trail,
so your dog can get a cold drink."
If you are looking for something a bit more strenuous, take Cedar Drive to Cedar Trail (red-blazed) to the NORTHEAST TRAIL (blue-blazed), and do a nice loop down to Clearwater and then Farm Road, which will bring you back to the parking area. At the junction of the Northeast Trail and Clearwater, look for the small pool of water for Fido to have a quick frolic and a roll, though he will probably find it before you do. When you pay the day-use fee, you can ask for a map to help guide your way.
MOHONK SPRING FARM | PHOTO: JOHN MIZEL SPRING FARM TRAILHEAD | PHOTO: LISA ANDREWS
Watch our Mohonk Preserve video: visitvortex.com/Mohonk_Preserve
MINNEWASKA STATE PARK
Minnewaska State Park Preserve also has lovely trails for you to explore. The park can get super crowded on the weekends, so again, stick to less traveled trails—and be on the lookout for trails with shade and water. If you park in the Lower Awosting Lot, head out on the carriage road. There’s a spidery network of social paths that head off into the woods on the left of the carriage road that lead to MOSSY GLEN TRAIL (yellow-blazed), which parallels the Peterskill. You’ll eventually cross a bridge and walk on a lovely, shady, mountain laurel-filled path along the creek. Just be careful that you don’t trip over the many tree roots that jut out of the ground. The trail eventually
intersects with BLUEBERRY RUN (blue-blazed), and if you turn left here and walk uphill, it leads to a nice view of the valley.
The network of trails is quite intricate, so get a trail map and create a loop for yourself or turn around at your leisure.
Despite the crowds at the park, you might end up seeing few people if you avoid both Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting. If the crowds don’t bother you, then these lakes are breathtakingly beautiful, but unfortunately for Fido, swimming for dogs is not allowed.
VERNOOY KILL FALLS
Another favorite place for walking in the spring is the path to VERNOOY KILL FALLS on state forestland. Springtime is perfect for this hike because you’ll beat the summertime bugs that seem to thrive here. The parking area can be found on Upper Cherrytown Road in Kerhonkson. Take Route 3 (Samsonville Road) off of Route 209 (1.5 miles north of the junction of 209 and Route 44/55). Go 1.3 miles, and turn left onto Cherrytown Road. Go 3.6 miles to Upper Cherrytown, and follow it for 3.2 miles to a DEC parking lot on the right. About a 1/4 mile from the trailhead, you will cross a bridge, where you should encourage your dog to take a drink because there won’t be any more water until you reach the falls. The trail consists of two miles up a gradual path that leads to three stunning pools of water with flat bluestone ledges just calling to you to picnic on. The water in the pools is freezing cold, but Fido won’t mind. It’s refreshing and calming and a great place to head out to avoid the crowds.
Watch our Vernooy Kill hike video here: visitvortex.com/Vernooy_Kill_Falls_Hike
Don’t have a dog? Many of the area shelters are in desperate need of dog walkers. Volunteer to do the job, and both you and the dog will get a bit of exercise. Who knows, you may have such a good time that you decide to adopt one of your own.
Each year, it seems as if more miles are added onto the HUDSON VALLEY RAIL TRAIL, so go check out what’s new nearest your home. Pick a leg, such as New Paltz to Gardiner, and make a day of it. The VISITvortex map of the trails can get you started at
visitvortex.com/magazine/Hudson-Valley. And if you haven’t already checked out the train trestle in Rosendale, do so this spring season. It’s quite spectacular, and you can even get a bite to eat right on the trail about a mile south of the trestle at Rail Trail Café, a destination open Friday night through Sunday (weather dependent) for two-legged and four-legged friends. Yum.
For a sneak preview of Rosendale Trestle see our video at visitvortex.com/Rosendale_Trestle
WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON
If you are more of a city mouse, then head to Walkway Over the Hudson for your daily walk. Park off Haviland Road in Highland or Parker Avenue in Poughkeepsie, leash your pet, grab some plastic shopping bags to pick up dog poo, and you’re off. You’ll see every type of dog imaginable, from unwieldy and excitable Labs to dainty and refined poodles and everything in between. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a cat on walk—leashed, of course. The total distance across the bridge is just over a mile, making it the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. There are benches to take a seat and enjoy the view, but bring a bit of water because no shade exists at all. However, the spring breeze on a warm day is almost always heavenly.
You’ll see every type of dog imaginable, from unwieldy and excitable Labs to dainty and refined poodles and everything in between. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a cat on walk—leashed, of course. The total distance across the bridge is just over a mile, making it the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. There are benches to take a seat and enjoy the view, but bring a bit of water because no shade exists at all. However, the spring breeze on a warm day is almost always heavenly.
This bridge might very well be the best and most scenic place to people and dog watch in the area.
DOG PARKS IN THE VALLEY
IF SOCIALIZING IS MORE YOUR STYLE, THEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT SOME HUDSON VALLEY DOG PARKS.
KINGSTON POINT DOG PARK, located at 102 Delaware Avenue and just a short distance from the mighty Hudson, has an area for both small dogs (under 30 pounds) and large dogs.
If you’re heading to the Catskills with Fido and need a place to stay, consider the Emerson Resort at 5340 Route 28 in Mount Trempor, and take advantage of its CATAMOUNT DOG PARK, where your dog can run free, grab a doggy shower, and access fresh running water.
Folks in New Paltz worked hard to organize the NEW PALTZ DOG PARK on Libertyville Road near the fairgrounds, so this two-acre park is fairly new to the dog park scene.
Just south of Poughkeepse in Wappingers Falls, you can visit BOWDOIN PARK at 85 Sheafe Road. Set on 300 acres on the banks of the Hudson River, this park even has a water spray area for kids and Fido to get a quick little shower. Though Bowdoin is technically not a dog park, it is pet-friendly and its rules allow leashed Fido to walk its four miles of trails and two boardwalks.
WOODSTOCK, BEACON, AND FISHKILL also have dog parks, and more information and directions can easily be found online.
Most dog parks have a double-gate entry system, where you enter one small-enclosed area and take off your dog’s leash, and then you and your dog enter the larger dog park, leash-free. While not much exercise for humans, dog parks can be a great place to teach your furry one how to behave around people and other dogs. Puppies and young dogs especially benefit from socializing with their canine cousins, learning their place in the greater pack and running off leash.