It is infinitely cool that you can come from NYC and hop right on to the Appalachian Trail, because it actually has its very own stop on the Metro North line.
You can hike from the station to a really gorgeous destination, Cat Rocks vista, however – this whole six mile roundtrip (out and back) hike is incredibly scenic. Right away the boardwalk is a stunner, there’s nothing I love more than walking the planks.
It’s an extensive boardwalk last just over a quarter of a mile.
Once you reach the wettest part of the swamp, it’s into the woods for a while.
The woods are quiet and gradually gain elevation. Not too long and you shall emerge into a sound of music-esque field of astounding beauty.
Even though it hadn’t rained too recently, the narrow boardwalk planks in the distance were slippery.
Be vigilant. Wildflowers were happy to hold on through the warm fall.
Trade the natural growth for a mowed lawn and make your way across the field.
Descend down to a road, but before you cross it admire the Dover Oak, unlike any tree around.
It is over 300 years old, 22 feet around, and the largest of its kind on the AT. You could alternately park here for a much shorter hike – just two miles round trip up to the view point. Once you cross the road you’ve got a mile till your final destination, and 700’ to climb, get scrambling.
When you pass the Telephone Pioneers spur trail you’re getting closer, about ten more minutes of hiking. Just as soon as the trail levels, keep a keen eye for an easily missed unmarked spur trail to the right – because that is the place you’ve been hiking towards this whole time.
The vista feels like it comes out of nowhere, but carefully descend to a magnificent scene – sprawling far past Pawling.
Good to know:
+Small dirt parking lot at the GoogleMaps GPS location: Appalachian Trail & MNRR Station in Pawling, NY
+Wonderful people at Native Landscaping offer restroom facilities to hikers
+Additional paved parking area right up the road