The New York City area has seen practically no snow this year. (My microspikes entry in December was the last one.) There’s been rain and mud, though. On the occasional nice day when we get out to do some local hiking, we’ve mostly stuck to well-groomed walks on bike paths or roads. Fortunately, there are a number of good choices not that far away.

Walkill Rail Trail, south of New Paltz, NY

The Walkill Rail Trail follows a former railroad route, and is level and scenic. It has views of the Shawangunk Mountains and the Walkill River. The trail crosses several bridges and a spectacular elevated trestle (near Rosendale). It passes through some towns so you can stop off and get a snack. It’s part of the giant Empire State Trail system, currently 750 miles.

Icy plants, Rockland Lake State Park

Rockland Lake State Park is mostly a loop around the lake, about 3 miles. In summer, they open a large public swimming pool with waterslides. There is also a full golf course and a par 3 course. In the days before refrigeration, Rockland Lake was renowned for its ice, which was cut out in blocks and shipped in sawdust as far as Europe.

Untermeyer Park, Yonkers

Yonkers’ Untermeyer Park is a truly unexpected place. Overlooking the Hudson River in a high-walled garden next to industrial buildings is a Roman-inspired formal garden with canals and manicured trees. Formerly run down, it’s being restored to some of its former splendor.

Hudson River Walk, north of Peekskill

Also on the Empire State Trail is the Hudson River Walk. The plan is to make this lovely level trail continuous from New York City to very much further north (I’m having trouble Googling today). However, they have been unable to acquire all the necessary properties, so there are some gaps and some sections on roadways. Still very pretty.

River Outpost Brewery, Peekskill

Did I mention that we like to stop for a beer after some of our outings? (I think I did.) After the River Walk, a nice place to end up is the River Outpost Brewery. It has great views and good beer.