One of my favorite places to hike with my family is in the sweet little town of Garrison, NY, about an hour north of Manhattan (even accessible by public transportation + short taxi ride). Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary is a 270-acre tidal wetland along the Hudson River. After a brief hike through the woods, just enough for little kids, the trail opens up to a sprawling 700′ boardwalk which snakes through the marsh, allowing you to walk on the water and admire the views.
It’s about a one mile hike in total, from the car and back so perfect length for a family with young kids. Even though there is a brief steep ascent in the woods, there are steps made of stones to make it safe and interesting or little ones.
We started off walking down Warren Landing Road which starts from the tiny parking lot (only 8 spaces). Take the gravel road down a slight hill toward the sanctuary’s visitor center. Once you get to the visitor’s center, which is comprised of two houses, you can easily find the trail head at the end of the property. My 4 year old’s job is to find the trail markers whenever we hike, and since this was the first time her dad joined us here, she was happy to lead the way. At the peak of the hike you’ll find a bench which offers a fantastic view overlooking the mountains and West Point. Soon after this point you descend the little mountain and the view opens up to a sprawling boardwalk which runs through the marsh.
The marsh is a sanctuary that provides a foraging and nesting habitat to more than 200 species of birds and 30 species of fish. The boardwalk has a couple signs marked with birds and critters who live there. We’ve made this hike a few times and haven’t seen many, but I’m sure that’s because there’s nothing quiet about my exploring 4 year old. This gorgeous hike is such a wonderful way to get a giant taste of nature just an hour outside of NYC. I look forward to our next visit here. For a waterfall hike accessible from the same parking lot click here.
- The parking lot only has 8 spaces. Don’t park along the road, the town will tow. If it’s full consider parking at the nearby train station and taking a taxi 845-265-8294 or 914-384-7061.
- There is a bathroom at the Audubon Center.
- There are no food options at the center.
- You can rent canoes from the center, unfortunately I don’t have any information on this.
- The hike is free.
- This hike is not accessible with strollers or wheels.
- There are a couple of steep points but I found it all very manageable with my daughter, she did this hike on her own as young as 3 years old.
- This is a great place for a picnic.
- Dogs are not allowed.
- There is another great hike from the same parking lot to Indian Brook Falls, click here for our review on that fun hike.
- For public Transportation: take Metro-North railroad Hudson Line to Garrison Station or Cold Spring (visit the MTA for schedules).
Take taxi service from the train station to Constitution Marsh by reservation, call 845-265-8294 or 914-384-7061.