One of the Hudson Valley’s favorite Appalachian Trail hiking spots crosses the Great Swamp in Pawling, NY. It’s easy to find, north of the village of Pawling, right off Route 22 near the train stop and Native Landscaping, Inc. It’s a beautiful trail with several unique features including a long, rambling boardwalk that leads from the train depot right into the heart of the Great Swamp.
This is also a popular spot to leave trail treats, called “trail magic” for through-hikers. Don’t be surprised to cross paths with hikers from all over the country on their way to the village for a hot meal and supplies. This is a well-worn access trail because of its close proximity to food and friendly locals. But it still has that feel of Appalachian Trail solitude.
To access the trail off Route 22, just pull into the parking lot entrance north of Native Landscapes. There’s ample parking, but if you want to enter the trail from the train, check local schedules and it will drop you off right at the trail head.
The reeds that line the boardwalk aren’t indigenous, but they host a number of local animal species. It’s a fantastic place for a picnic, catching up on a book, practicing your photography skills, and there are traditional Appalachian wooden benches along the boardwalk for relaxing and watching wildlife. You’ll walk away with plenty of Instagram photos and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of the Great Swamp.