Nestled in the foothills of southern New York – only 50 miles from Manhattan’s skyscrapers – Warwick, N.Y. offers challenging hiking trails for people of all ages and abilities.
With stunning vistas, beautiful waterfalls and plenty of roadside parking, Warwick offers easy access to he world-famous Appalachian Trail directly off several highways. The A.T., which winds its way more than 2,180 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia all the way to Mount Katahdin, Maine, first enters New York at the Warwick border with New Jersey.
A series of challenging boulders and indescribable views of Greenwood Lake is the highlight of this section of the trail. More than 9 miles between roads, the daylong trek is challenging.
It passes over Prospect Rock, at 1,433 feet the highest section of the AT in New York, where on a clear day you can see the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the south.
Hikers venturing along this section should come equipped with plenty of food and water.
Further north, Route 17A, which connects the villages of Warwick and Greenwood Lake, bisects the trail with four parking lots allowing access to both north and southbound hikers.
Bellvale Creamery, right off one parking lot, was voted the second-best ice cream parlor in the USA according to TripAdvisor. The creamery has its own picnic tables and spectacular views of the picturesque Warwick Valley to the west.
Walking north from Route 17A, hikers encounter a relatively flat section of trail which leads to rocky outcrops and great views of a very different valley to the east. The Eastern Pinnacles and Cat Rocks are overlooks that are fun for the whole family, but be careful: Those rocks are high and falls can be dangerous.
Further on, the three-sided Wildcat Shelter provides plenty of camping, a privy, water source and fire ring for overnight camaraderie for those sleeping over.
The foot trail then drops downhill from the shelter to Lakes Road – more parking – and then crosses to the gorgeous 30-foot high Fitzgerald Falls, one of the East Coast’s most beautiful waterfalls.
After a day of activity, the quaint Village of Warwick, with restaurants, bars, pubs, shopping, bed and breakfasts and inns, beckons at the base of the mountain to the west. Greenwood Lake, on the east side of the ridge, also has plenty of places to eat and drink and boasts numerous marinas and lakeside parks as well.
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