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: 302.2 miles

Total Duration: 180.4 hours

Total Elevation Gain: 47,389 feet

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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Fahnestock State Park - Pelton Pond, Three Lakes Trail, Canopus Lake, Candlewood Hill Trail

August 9, 2020

9 Mi • 894 Ft Gain • 185 Photos • 2 Videos

Overall, this was my best and longest hike yet! I'm really impressed with this park and the variety of terrain it offers, including the elevation changes; navigation of rocks, streams, and trees; and beautiful scenery. Being able to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail was super exciting too! I've explored less than 10% of this park, so I will definitely be back to see more. There are several summits to the west that look interesting and several trails to the south that I'd like to see. Fahnestock, we will meet again!
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Rockefeller State Park Preserve - Swan Lake, Buttermilk Hill, Rock Wall Loop, Spring Trail

August 1, 2020

7.8 Mi • 626 Ft Gain • 93 Photos

Overall, I considered this more of a walk through and near wooded areas than a hike. All of the paths I ended up on were dirt or gravel carriage paths with little canopy and it sometimes felt like walking down a quiet street. It was still great exercise and it was outdoors, but I'd much prefer being more enclosed by woods than this. Now that I have a better lay of the land, I'm going to do more research about Rockefeller State Park Preserve to see if there are more traditional hiking trails. There are over 45 miles of paths here, so there is plenty to explore on future visits!
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The Irvington Woods - Split Rock, Sunset Rock, Marshall Pond, Ice Pond, Hermit Wetlands

July 19, 2020

6.0 Mi • 579 Ft Gain • 122 Photos • 2 Videos

I really enjoy the variety of this park. The eastern part of the park near the Saw Mill River Parkway drops off quite a bit and has a certain feel to it, with its rock benches, carriage paths, steps, and monuments. Coming back up into the interior is a little shadier and less vegetative, with awesome rock formations at Split Rock and Sunset Rock. The reservoir to the west is breathtaking. Then the northern Marshall Pond and Ice Pond are quaint and lush. I can still hear the ducks and other wildlife living in the Hermit Wetlands to the east.
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The Irvington Woods - Sunset Rock, Split Rock, Irvington Reservoir, Ice Pond, Marshall Pond

July 12, 2020

5.1 Mi • 515 Ft Gain • 136 Photos • 6 Videos

Having learned from my first hike in this park, I came prepared this time with 1.5L of water and the printed full trail map with the numbered posts. I left the park thirsty, sore, and with blistered ankles, but I'm glad I got to see some new spots, including Sunset Rock, Split Rock, Barney Brook, the Irvington Reservoir, Ice Pond, and Marshall Pond. I am gaining confidence in the layout and my navigation of the park. At this point I've hit every POI on the map, but I can't wait to explore even more as I still haven't hit all the different paths.
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The Irvington Woods - Hermit's Grave, Harriman Road, Macy Monument, Terrace, Steps

July 5, 2020

4.1 Mi • 416 Ft Gain • 41 Photos

My first visit to The Peter Oley Trailways System at The Irvington Woods was a bit disorienting. I printed out the full perimeter route beforehand, but I didn't realize this map doesn't have the trail marker numbers on it like the full map does. I could easily pull up the full map on my phone, but I was trying to rely on paper and instinct. Even though I didn't end up taking the route I originally intended or seeing all I wanted to see, it was a fun first trip exploring on and off the marked trails.
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Winding Hills Park - Diamond Lake

June 28, 2020

4 Mi • 385 Ft Gain • 8 Photos

With its beautiful pond views and elevation, Winding Hills Park is a great place for beginners and experienced hikers alike. As a Boy Scout, I think I've camped in this park at least once and probably hiked it several times, but I don't recall any of those details. It was fun returning with a childhood friend and I enjoyed the conversation that followed. I also got to take a break from being the solitary leader to just following and taking in the scenery. Winding Hills has a lot to offer and there is a section the trail we missed that I'd enjoy returning to in the future.
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Taxter Ridge Park Preserve - Woody Crest, Danny Gold Blue Trail, Orange Trail

June 21, 2020

2.8 Mi • 369 Ft Gain • 39 Photos

I went partially off trail on my third visit, following the eastern border along I-287, then to the west eventually coming across a cool stream that abuts a private property. I followed the park's exterior as it passed a murky iron-shaped pond on more private land, complete with a rowboat sitting idly on the shore. Overall it was a fun hike and I enjoyed going off script to see parts of the park that aren't normally seen. I will come back at some point and spend more time in that northwest corner that has a lot of goodies!
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East Irvington Nature Preserve - Weckquaesgeek Trail

June 14, 2020

2.0 Mi • 239 Ft Gain • 38 Photos • 1 Video

This was technically my second visit to East Irvington Nature Preserve, but the first one was so many years ago, I don't even remember it. This is a small, but quaint and quiet area. I imagine there are some good valley views in the fall and winter with less leaves. This is a really nice one-mile trail for beginners or for those who don't have a lot of time. I was able to squeeze an hour of activity and 2 miles in by looping through a few times and exploring off the paths. I'm curious if any wildlife visit the pond as I didn't observe any on my visit.
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Taxter Ridge Park Preserve - Carriage Trail, Water Tower, Danny Gold Blue Trail, Yellow Trail

June 7, 2020

2.9 Mi • 191 Ft Gain • 29 Photos

On my second visit, I decided to take the Danny Gold trail to the west (left) this time. A nice, well marked trail took me out to the Mount Pleasant Lane parking lot in no time. It was fun exploring the western and southern parts of the park, including the Tarrytown water tower, that I had not seen on my first visit. The boundary between the park and the residential areas is very thin, but I can understand someone wanting to buy property near an area that most likely will not see any development for hundreds of years (we hope!).
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Taxter Ridge Park Preserve - Yellow Trail, Woody Crest, Danny Gold Blue Trail, Orange Trail

May 25, 2020

2.5 Mi • 325 Ft Gain • 31 Photos

This was my first hike at Taxter Ridge Park Preserve and my first hike overall in several years. From Taxter Road, the yellow trail starts in a lush green area, heading up a moderate slope. There are shaded areas and sunlit openings. There are several downed trees, shrubs, and other greenery. It's an easy trail and is clearly marked. Be sure to checkout the brick remnants of "Woody Crest", a former home for handicapped children, along the way. I see a lot of beauty in this park and will be back to explore the other trails and areas.
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Great Saw Mill River Cleanup 2019 - Liberty Coca-Cola Site, Elmsford

April 14, 2019

35 Photos

I volunteered at this year's Great Saw Mill River Cleanup, organized by Groundwork Hudson Valley. At the Liberty Coca-Cola Site in Elmsford, I personally found tennis, soccer, golf, whiffle, and softball balls; two commercial garbage can lids; a road cone and part of a barrier; over two dozen plastic pots for plants; a plastic crate; food, snack, candy, and condom wrappers; rubber shoe soles; a pull out bed; a couch with cushions; steel pipes; a gasoline container filled with an unknown liquid; a rusted out shell of a car; tires galore; and bags full of plastic and glass containers.
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Great Saw Mill River Cleanup 2016 - Farragut Avenue, Hastings

April 16, 2016

6 Photos

This was my first time volunteering at the Great Saw Mill River Cleanup, organized by Groundwork Hudson Valley. Each year's cleanup event takes place at 8-10 different locations along the Saw Mill River. This year I chose the Farragut Avenue location in Hastings. I learned how Oriental bittersweet and porcelainberry vines threaten local trees by depriving them of sunlight and nutrients, and in some cases even strangling them to death. I helped clear said vines from jeopardizing about 30 trees along the Farragut Ave portion of the river.
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Bear Mountain State Park - Cornell Mine, Major Welch, Hessian Lake

August 4, 2013

1 Photo

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in August, my neighbor, his girlfriend at the time, and I set out for a stroll through Bear Mountain State Park. We started in the main parking lot, near Bear Mountain Inn. I believe we took Cornell Mine (CM) until it connected with Major Welch (MW) around the west side of Hessian Lake. From there, we took the unmarked trail to the north and east of Hessian Lake back to the parking lot. I only snapped one photo that day from the trail overlooking the lake.
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Rockefeller State Park Preserve - Brothers' Path, Swan Lake

July 6, 2013

2 Photos

It was the Saturday afternoon of Fourth of July weekend and I think I just needed to get out of the house for some time with Mother Nature. If I recall correctly, I took Brothers' Path (BP) around the east side of Swan Lake and then back up the west side of the lake.
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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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