Welcome to Hiking.Photos

A site dedicated to hiking and nature photos and videos, as well as stories about my adventures, in and around the Hudson Valley region of New York State.

I hiked with friends in my High School and early college days, but my interested faded away once I was in my late twenties. I decided to pick up the sport (hobby) again when COVID-19 isolation set in and I was spending too much time indoors.  I made a reemergence on Memorial Day in 2020 and have tried not to look back since!

I've always been interested in photography as a side hobby, so I decided to capture the interesting parts of my trips on camera to share with the world and remember by trips by. It's enjoyable to stop, observe, and record all the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.

Here are some quick stats about all the hikes I've cataloged:

Total Distance: 293.1 miles

Total Duration: 173.4 hours

Total Elevation Gain: 45,512 feet

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation - White Trail, Red Green Trail, Lean-To Shelters

March 20, 2021

5.6 Mi • 554 Ft Gain • 26 Photos • 1 Video

An easy stroll through the woods with two friends and their dog was a great way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon! I chose Ward Pound Ridge Reservation due to its variety of trails. There's something for the beginning hiker through the advanced hiker. It was the first day of spring and the temperature peaked in the low 60s in the afternoon. We stopped to explore one of the lean-to shelters available for rental. I'm interested in adding camping to my hiking experience, so will look into investing in camping gear for the summer or fall season this year.
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Harriman State Park - South Hill, Ramapo Torne, Russian Bear, Racoon Brook Hills

March 13, 2021

9.1 Mi • 1,673 Ft Gain • 182 Photos • 10 Videos

After a 2 week hiatus, I jumped back in with a killer hike that left me sore and also rejuvenated! I was really impressed with the variety of terrain on this hike. A good amount of climbs and descents with plenty of flat areas in between, hilltop views, rock formations, varying flora, and an abundance of streams. I stopped several times to take videos of the sound of the streams, having such a soothing and calming effect, especially hiking along Stony Brook at the end of the day. I would gladly do this hike again any day!
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Westmoreland Sanctuary - Lost Pond, Cole Kettle Pond, Terrace Garden

February 20, 2021

6.1 Mi • 863 Ft Gain • 80 Photos • 2 Videos

Of all the hikes I've been on so far, Westmoreland has the best blazed trails and marked intersections. Not only are there trail arrows at each intersection, there's a full trail map of the entire park. Even though I had both printed and electronic versions of the map, it was super convenient not to have to dig in my pockets. In the winter, there's not a lot to see, but there were plenty of rock formations, rock walls, and streams to keep me satisfied throughout the journey. I can't wait to explore in the summer once things start turning green again.
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Nyack Beach - Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake, The Hudson River

February 6, 2021

6.4 Mi • 1,115 Ft Gain • 126 Photos • 1 Video

The views of Rockland Lake and the Hudson River from Hook Mountain are breathtaking! After seeing things from the ridge above, I then descended down to the bank of the river, where I got to experience the sound of water crashing against the rocks and shoreline, bringing back memories of summer vacations. I was a bit unprepared for how grueling snow hiking is. The extra effort involved in lifting my feet and legs higher in the deeper snow did a number on my thighs and glutes. Even so, this was an awesome hike with amazing views and I'm so happy I found it!
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Ward Pound Ridge Reservation - Deer Hollow, Cross River, Kimberly Bridge

January 30, 2021

4 Mi • 453 Ft Gain • 36 Photos • 1 Video

The views of the partially-frozen Cross River and the snow-covered scenery gave a new perspective of the park. After some initial frustrations at the start of the hike, I made some adjustments to my gear and attire to get comfortable and the rest of the hike was enjoyable. I'm still getting used to using trekking poles. I've got a good rhythm with them now and am ready to try them on steeper terrain. Overall, I think I've become more acclimated to winter hiking and am ready to tackle some longer, more challenging winter hikes in the coming weeks!
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The Irvington Woods - Ice Pond, Memorial Loop, Hermit's Grave, Hermit Wetlands

January 24, 2021

3.2 Mi • 477 Ft Gain • 39 Photos

My fifth visit and first winter hike was all about trying out new gear, including trekking poles, sunglasses, gloves, and a gaiter. Although I've lived in the Northeast my entire life, I've never been enthusiastic about outdoor winter activity. I was imagining a bone-chilling, unpleasant experience, when in reality it wasn't bad at all. With the proper layers, I stayed warm and enjoyed myself. I will make a few adjustments for next time and will try to make winter hiking a new habit! Most of the gear worked really well and I'm happy I've graduated to using trekking poles.
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The Irvington Woods - Hermit's Grave, Sunset Rock, Split Rock, Barney Brook, Ice Pond

November 21, 2020

5.6 Mi • 843 Ft Gain • 97 Photos

My fourth visit to The Irvington Woods was on a beautiful 60-degree fall afternoon. My goal for the trip was to check out the unmarked trail that runs north from intersection #26 near Hermit's Grave. It was a little disappointing, but I had an exhilarating experience running into an injured deer that made it more interesting. Revisiting Hermit's Grave, the Terrace loop trail, Sunset Rock, Split Rock, and Ice Pond in the fall gave me a whole new experience of those landmarks. Even though I've graduated to more challenging hikes, this is still one of my favorite parks.
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Sterling Forest State Park - Greenwood Lake, Fire Tower, Jennings Creek, Bare Rock

November 7, 2020

12 Mi • 1,942 Ft Gain • 161 Photos • 4 Videos

The Bare Rock lookout offered amazing views of Greenwood Lake and I'm so glad I took this detour. Climbing the Fire Tower was the highlight of the day; I only wish I took better photos. The area around Jennings Creek and the rest of the park did not disappoint. As usual, I could spend days here taking in all the various areas of the park. I especially want to visit the old mine areas the next time around. Trails were blazed well, with signs at the major intersections giving trail names, trail lengths, and POIs.
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Ward Pound Ridge Reservation - Leatherman's Cave, Wildflower Garden, Nature Museum

October 24, 2020

9.7 Mi • 1,250 Ft Gain • 207 Photos • 1 Video

So many wonderful new finds on my second visit, including Leatherman's Cave, Wildflower Garden, Trailside Nature Museum, phenology trail, Lenape indian wigwam shelter, and more. I really want to come back and explore that Orange phenology trail again and checkout the wildflower garden in the spring or summer. I'm pleased with the intersection markings in this park. They make it so much easier to navigate with a paper make and figure out exactly where you are.
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Harriman State Park - Pine Meadow Trail, Third Reservoir, Breakneck Pond, Lake Wanoksink

October 10, 2020

12.1 Mi • 2,044 Ft Gain • 183 Photos • 1 Video

Wow, what a gorgeous day for a hike! The weather was a little warmer than normal, peaking in the high 70's in the afternoon. Harriman State Park is huge and it would take weeks to explore it all, so I chose an eastern part of the park that looked promising on the maps and would take me past three bodies of water. Every time I hike in Harriman State Park, I appreciate it more! There's so much to see and do here that I can't wait until the season opens next year so I can take advantage of some of the camping and swimming options.
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Harriman State Park - Elk Pen, Island Pond, Lemon Squeezer, Bald Rocks, Appalachian Trail

October 3, 2020

11.1 Mi • 1,909 Ft Gain • 178 Photos • 2 Videos

I'm falling in love with fall hikes! The changing of the leaves and the cooler weather make for a great hiking environment. From logging a few more miles Appalachian Trail, visiting Island Pond, the Lemon Squeezer, the mine areas, the Bald Rocks, and more, this was a fantastic hike! Aside from a few moderate ascends and descents, but most of my path was pretty easy and flat. It was also my longest hike so far, at 11 miles. I really enjoyed Harriman State Park, and with over 200 miles of trails to explore, I can see myself coming back.
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Ward Pound Ridge Reservation - Raven Rocks, CCC Camp, Castle Rock, Spy Rock, Dancing Rock

September 26, 2020

8.9 Mi • 1,147 Ft Gain • 218 Photos • 2 Videos

The diverse scenery and designated points of interest, including the former fire tower, Raven Rocks, Indian Rock Shelter, the former CCC Camp, Castle Rock, Spy Rock, Dancing Rock, Bear Rock Petroglyph, and Matey’s Gulch, make for a very enjoyable hike for all skill levels. The ascents and descents were manageable and not grueling. The views on the Rock Trail to the south are magnificent. I found the trails to be very clearly marked, blazed at short intervals, and most of the intersections are numbered, which made it very easy to follow along on the trail map.
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Fahnestock State Park - Round Hill, East Mountain, Spooky House, Hubbard Lodge

September 18, 2020

7.5 Mi • 1,328 Ft Gain • 176 Photos

On a quiet Friday afternoon, I was alone on about 80% of the trail, only encountering people at the very beginning and very end of my hike. I enjoyed exploring the views that Round Hill and East Mountain offer. The terrain was interesting and varied, and the ascent is manageable. It's steep enough to give a good workout, but not so steep you feel like you're climbing stairs. The "spooky house" in the middle of the hike was a unique find. I would like to come back to explore more of this trail and some of its offshoots, including the hidden waterfall that I didn't find this time.
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Bear Mountain State Park - Hessian Lake, Major Welch Trail, Perkins Tower, 1777W Trail, 1777E Trail

September 6, 2020

7.5 Mi • 1,484 Ft Gain • 116 Photos

Overall, I really enjoyed the hike and the company of my friend! The first part of the day was challenging getting up the mountain, but the rewarding views and panoramas make it well worth the climb. Most the rest of the hike was moderate to easy, with many sections on paved or packed gravel pathways. If the mountain is too much, there are plenty of other trails to the south that don't require as much work. I plan to come back and explore the Doodletown area of the park more, as there's some really rich history here.
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Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve - Anthony's Nose, Camp Smith Trail, Bear Mtn Toll House

August 15, 2020

9.1 Mi • 2,498 Ft Gain • 155 Photos

Wow, this was definitely the most intense hike I've done yet, taking almost 8 hours and navigating almost 2,500 ft of elevation gain. From either direction, there's a lot of uphill and downhill work involved, with several rocky stair-like climbs and descents along the way. The views of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain, and the surrounding areas are magnificent! It was definitely rewarding after the journey up to relax and take it all in. This is probably not the right hike for a first-timer, but can be managed with enough water and supplies.
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All content, photos, and videos are Copyright (c) 2020-2021 Ryan Smith. You may not use or copy any content without written permission.
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