New York City is the go-to place for endless attractions, food, and shopping. But the hustle and bustle of the big city can often take away attention from its beautiful, natural surroundings. Hiking is a great way to exercise and explore the outdoors. Check out these amazing hikes in and around NYC.
1) The Brooklyn-Queens Greenway
The Brooklyn-Queens Greenway (BDG) is a great 40-mile path for anyone at the beginner level. It’s a pedestrian-cyclist route with one end in Coney Island, Brooklyn and the other in Fort Totten, Queens. The path is also a great choice for families as it interconnects many points of interest including parks, botanical gardens, lakes, the New York Aquarium, and the Brooklyn Museum. Don’t forget to stop and take in the beach views, waterfronts, and lush forest areas!
2) White Trail at Alley Pond Park
Photo via NYC Parks
Alley Pond Park is located in Queens and boasts a uniquely diverse set of ecosystems including freshwater and saltwater wetlands, tidal flats, meadows and forests. The park is home to many bird species, The White Trail is an easy-going course and takes hikers away from the city into a calm, peaceful forest setting. There are plenty of pine forests and even New York City’s tallest and oldest tree, “Queens Giant.”
3) John Muir Trail in Van Cortlandt Park
Photo via NYC Parks
Head up to Van Cortlandt Park in the Northwest Bronx for hiking trails such as the John Muir Trail. This trail is 2 miles in length and spans three distinct forest ecosystems. Along the trail, red oaks and tulip trees transition into hickory and sugar maple trees. There are even frog-filled marshes along the way. After hiking the John Muir Trail, check out one of the six other hiking trails within Van Cortlandt Park.
4) Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus)
Photo via Diana Richards
For a bit more of a challenge, take a train from Grand Central Station or drive 90 minutes up Hudson Valley to Bull Hill. Bull Hill has a 1,421 feet elevation and its a distance of 4 miles roundtrip. The trail features breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley, an abandoned quarry, and the surrounding mountains. With the right timing, watch the gorgeous sunset too! Afterwards, check out the nearby town of Cold Spring for food and beverages.
5) Appalachian Trail on Bellvale Mountain
Photo via New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
The Bellvale Mountain is located in Harriman State Park and just a 90 minute drive from the city. The trail is a challenging 6 miles long. The hike runs along the ridge of the mountain and there are many steep outcrops of rock to climb over. The hike is definitely a rewarding experience with beautiful views of Greenwood Lake and Sterling Forest. After the hike, make sure to try Bellvale Farms Creamery ice cream for a sweet and satisfying end to your trip.
Pro Tips for Hiking:
- Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes that support your ankle
- Stay hydrated, bring plenty of water or pack a a few recoups
- Take pictures of the trail map when you start out and always stay on marked trails
- Check the weather and be prepared, especially in summer when thunderstorms can roll in quickly.