Top 5 Adventurous Hudson Valley Activities

Are you a thrill seeker? In love with the rush of adrenaline and the challenge of doing something different, exciting, and maybe a little dangerous? Well, look no further. These are the top five attractions in the Hudson Valley for the adventurous among us.

Challenge Yourself at the Catamount Aerial Adventure Park

Catamount Aerial Adventure Park, which is located at the ski resort by the same name right on the border of Massachusetts in Hillsdale, NY, is not just a zipline park. There are ziplines, yes, but it is much more. Walk along precarious tightropes, hop from platform to platform, and swing from ropes like Tarzan -- all up in the treetops. They offer courses of varying levels, from easy yellow courses to the devilish double black, and the higher the level, the more physically fit you need to be in order to complete it. You'll come home sore, for sure, but it is so fun.

Check their website for hours, as they change seasonally.

Tube the Esopus

This one is for the adrenaline junkie who loves playing in the water. Town Tinker Tube Rental in Phoenicia, NY (in Ulster County,) has been renting out equipment for the last 30 years to thrill seekers looking to tube the rapids of the Esopus Creek. Keep in mind: This is not a lazy river. People have died while doing this. Seriously. You have to be at least twelve years old and a good swimmer for them to even let you attempt this. Oh, and the water can get cold. Town Tinker does provide wet suits for $15/day though, which I highly recommend if you get cold easily.

If all of that doesn't discourage you, take a trip over to Phoenicia and give it a try. Tubing the Esopus is a perennially popular attraction, and well worth the price of admission.

Descend into the Shingle Gully Ice Caves

I've mentioned this one in another article, but that's just because it is that amazing. The Shingle Gully Ice Caves are located in a primitive portion of Sam's Point Preserve in the Shawangunk Mountains. Accessible only with a permit and a guide, the all-day Shingle Gully Ice Cave hike is not for the faint of heart. There are breathtaking cliffs. There are stunning, prehistoric-looking fissures as high as buildings. And there are caves. Dark, cold, wet caves that you can climb down into and explore. Don't forget your headlamp and gloves.

Guided hikes are organized through Sam's Point Preserve in the summer and fall. Find one on their calendar.

Hike the Devil's Path

The Devil's Path is considered by many to be the toughest day hike in the Northeast, as well as one of the most dangerous. It is difficult, with a tremendous amount of elevation gain as well as a number of spots that require hands-and-feet scrambles up rocks and roots. You can attempt the whole 24.2 mile long trail in one go, or do one of the shorter sections and hit a peak or two. I've hiked along it to the peak of Twin Mountain (which has, arguably, the best views of the Catskills,) as well as to the peak of Indian Head Mountain (which is also beautiful.) The path is tough, and dangerous, but for the adventurous among us, it is well worth the challenge.

For those who are staying awhile, camping is available at the nearby Devil's Tombstone Campground.

Get Scared at Headless Horseman

This is the only attraction on my list that doesn't require some degree of physical fortitude, but it is just as heart-pounding as the others. If you're visiting the Hudson Valley in the fall, you'll want to check this one out.

Headless Horseman is the winner of numerous "best of" awards for haunted attractions, and with good reason. It is tremendously scary. The experience starts out with a haunted hayride (we sure love hayrides in Upstate New York. No joke.) In addition to the hayride, there are a number of other attractions, including live entertainment and several haunted houses (each scarier than the last). Headless Horseman is not recommended for kids, but they do have a children's day each year with toned-down attractions for the little ones.

Veronica Stork is a lifelong native of the Hudson Valley, where she tries to spend every spare weekend doing something exciting and local.