Pros:Easily accessible trails, Nice views of the Hudson River, Free, Easy parking
Cons:Only 2.5 miles of hiking potential
The Bottom Line: If you're in the area and looking for a walk, definitely check out the Black Creek Preserve
While nothing special, the Black Creek Preserve in Ulster County, NY is a nice place to take a walk for a few hours, especially since you can get down right along the Hudson River and enjoy the views there.
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Located just off Route 9W in the Town of Esopus, the Preserve has 130 acres of land that go from Route 9W down to the shoreline of the Hudson River. Within that acreage there are a couple of rolling hills, some wetlands and vernal pools along with a network of trails that let you traverse most of the site and enjoy views along the Hudson River.
There are three main trails in the Black Creek Preserve and they are delineated by color. The initial yellow trail brings you across Black Creek on a small suspension bridge and up to the top of the largest hill on the property. From there it descends a bit where it meets the red trail. The red trail makes the largest loops on the property, going around the center of it past wetlands and vernal pools. The blue trail loops from the red trail down to the shoreline of the Hudson River where there's a nice overlook on the river that's a great place to have a picnic.
Now I would rate all of these trails as fairly easy walks, nothing overly strenuous. The only real hard part to the trails is the elevation gain and loss. When you begin you climb a steady hill and then descend down to the Hudson River. On the way back, you've got to come up from the river and then go back down the hill to the car. I'm not talking thousands of vertical feet here and the trails themselves are graded quite nice so you don't have any real tough stretches, but it is something to consider. I would think that most children wouldn't have trouble here along with most others.
The trails aren't that long. The yellow trail is only about 0.5 miles long, the red trail is a mile and the blue trail is half a mile. So if you do the full loop on both the red and blue trails and take the yellow trail in and out, the total walk here in the Preserve is about 2.5 miles.
My Father had found this small park and wanted to go and explore it so we did. We spent the better part of a morning walking the trails and taking it easy along the shoreline of the Hudson River. Neither of us found the walking difficult and overall the park was very nice and I liked how the trails looped around the property to give you a good walking experience.
I also liked that the trail went down along the Hudson. You don't find this in too many areas and it's nice to have a trail parallel the river. You can check out the shoreline and watch the river traffic head up and down river.
I might go again if I have someone with me who hasn't been in the area or hasn't seen the Hudson close up. I'd probably plan it to spend lunch down along the river though. There are several nice places you can sit back and watch the river go by and it would be the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch.
If you're in the area and looking for a walk, definitely check out the Black Creek Preserve. This small park along the Hudson River offers a couple of trails that all loop together along with some great views along the Hudson River.
Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime