The Appalachian Trail is one of Dutchess County’s largest park with 30+ miles of trails within a protective corridor of 4,000+ acres.
The trail enters via Southern Dutchess County (north end of Fahnestock State Park) through the towns of East Fishkill, Beekman, Pawling, and Dover before entering Connecticut.
There is Free Parking in Pawling, NY off Route 22. The free parking is located at Pawling's Metro-North Appalachian Trail Train Station
The Pawling Nature Reserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy and maintained by local volunteers from Pawling and Dover.
Both The Nature Conservancy and the Pawling Nature Reserve Committee are dedicated to preserving ecologically valuable land in its natural state. These lands are available to the public for enjoyment and nature study.
Ferncliff Forest Preserve is located on Mt. Rutsen Road near Rhinecliff north of Rhinebeck.
Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve is a 200 acre forest known as the second-best old growth forest in the Hudson Valley. The forest is available for hiking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and picnics at no charge. Along the 4 miles of trials are the remains of hand-dug wells, cisterns, root cellars and old foundations.
10 Rules for Hiking Safety in Dutchess County
1. Play it smart. Taking on a three-day hike when you haven’t exercised in years it’s certainly not the best choice. The same is true of going on a solo hike if you don’t have the experience and preparation for it. Even when going on a hike with somebody else, always let people know your destination and when to expect you back. If something happens and you don’t turn up, a search party will know where to look for you.