Today my dog and I discovered one of our new favorite hiking spots in the Hudson Valley! Not that it’s a new spot – it has been around for years – but it’s one we have never experienced before. A chance traffic detour from one of our go-to hiking spots landed us here – it must have been fate! I’m talking about Black Creek Preserve on Route 9W in Esopus – one of Scenic Hudson’s little-known gems.
From the moment we started on the trail, we were welcomed by a wooden trellis and a little further up, a pretty impressive suspension bridge. I felt like we were in a movie! Black Creek on one side, the expanse of nature surrounding – it was perfect. The trail was very well-marked and easy to follow (a trait of all Scenic Hudson trails). The park had some inclines, so we did get a bit of a workout, but the openness of the dirt trails made the experience so pleasant (perfect for someone who doesn’t want to wade through waist-high grass and brambles). And the fact that the trail is all shaded is another big plus in my book – especially for hot summer mornings. Just watch your footing – the abundance of natural shale along the trails means that there are occasionally some loose rocks and gravelly spots.
Perhaps our favorite part was when the blue trail took us down to the banks of the Hudson River – and there was a small hidden beach where my dog, Scout, had a fantastic time going for a swim! Human swimming is prohibited but I felt quite content to sit on the rocks and watch my little man having such a good time.
Scenic Hudson requires dogs on their trails to be leashed for the safety of all park users, and you may have seen my previous articles on the use of long lines (if not, see Why Using a Long Line Makes for a Better Walk for You and Your Dog). I always keep Scout on a long line when hiking – for his own safety and the safety of others – but he never feels restricted or unhappy. He can still romp and explore but it’s something that we get to do together, which strengthens our bond. Don’t believe me that hiking on a leash can be fun for your dog? It’s all about how you use it!
Just look at these videos I took today. They can give you a sense of the trail itself, but I think most importantly they can show you how a dog can still have a great time on leash :-)
If you live in the Highland or Poughkeepsie areas, Esopus is just a short drive away. Heck, I’m from Newburgh so it’s about 35-40 minutes for me – but Black Creek Preserve was totally worth it! Scout and I will definitely be spending more time there this summer. Happy Hiking!
Maria Huntoon, CBCC-KA