Hiking in New York City: Top Ten Hiking Trails

With around 30,000 acres of parkland and 1/3rd of natural areas within, New York has everything from rivers, forests, lakes, beaches, marshlands and wetlands. Hiking in New York City comes as a respite from the monotonous and bustling urban life and each of the five boroughs offer significant numbers of trails for all difficulty levels.  The 8-mile trail at the Bronx River Greenway lets you enjoy kayaking while Queens Borough has Brooklyn-Queens Greenway from Flushing Meadows Corona Park following Kissena Parks and Throgs Neck Bridge.

Hiking in Manhattan is possible at Giraffe Path covering six miles and Yellow Trail of Staten Island. The 8-mile trail at the Bronx River Greenway lets you enjoy kayaking or taking a refreshing dip into the freshwater river. The Queens Borough has Brooklyn-Queens Greenway stretching around 15 miles from Flushing Meadows Corona Park following Kissena Parks and Throgs Neck Bridge. Here are ten hiking trips from New York City:

Top Ten Trails for Hiking in New York City

1. Breakneck Ridge

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Overlooking the Hudson Valley and the Hudson River, Breakneck Ridge hike treats any experienced hiker with the vistas of Sugarloaf Mountain, Highlands, Bannerman Castle and Storm King Mountain while descending. Around 60 miles from New York City, the rocky and steep loop trail of Hudson Highlands State park spans around 3.2-3.7 miles and can be reached by car within 1.5 hours or train.
Difficulty Level: Hard
Distance: 3.2-3.7 miles loop, almost 10 miles total
Time: Around 5 hours

2. Sam’s Point, Ice Caves and Verkeerderkill Falls

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Pay USD 10 as entrance fee at the visitor center to traverse through the endangered and rare ecosystem of dwarf pitch pine barren to reach the labyrinthine passageways of Ice Caves that lead to the footpath of Verkeerderkill waterfall. Enjoy the panoramic view from Sam’s Point and relax at the lakeside beach. Marvel at the crevices and the cave formations of boulders while feeling the chill.    
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Distance: Over 7 miles
Time: 4.5 hours

3. Anthony’s Nose

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A part of the Appalachian Trail, the rocky ridge of Anthony’s Nose offers sweeping views of the rolling hills around Hudson and Bear Mountain Bridge. The steep and rocky incline of the 500-feet staircase is the main challenge of the hike. 
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Distance: 7 miles in round trip, 2.6 miles after the rocky staircase
Time: 3 hours

4. Appalachian Trail

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Whether you plan to cover the entire distance for several days or hike some part of it, the Appalachian Trail has several loop trails running through Harriman State Park consisting seven miles and Island Pond covering 3.7 miles. Take the weekend Metro-North Harlem train to reach here and on Saturdays, you can attend guided forage walks with Steve Brill. 
Difficulty Level: Easy
Distance: Varies. Total around 2190 miles covering fourteen states
Time: Varies

5. Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

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Get a historical insight and enjoy the vistas of Hudson while taking a leisurely hike from Tarrytown to Yonkers and stroll past Lyndhurst Castle, many historic buildings in Sleepy Hollow and the aqueduct that was built during 1837-42. You can also take the 10-mile round hike from Ossining to New Croton Dam.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Distance: 26.5 miles
Time: 3 Hours

6. Stairway To Heaven Trail

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Connecting Maine and Georgia, the scenic trail of Stairway to Heaven near New Jersey is part of the Appalachian and has cow pasture land, suspension bridge, waterfall, wildflower meadows and boardwalk leading to the steep staircase. If you are up for bouldering and rock slab-scaling instead of strolling on dirt trails and boardwalks, choose the steep and longer 7.3 mile section to reach the Stairway from where you will enjoy the views of Pinwheel Vista and Kittatinny Mountain valley.    
Difficulty Level: Easy to hard
Distance: 7.3 miles, 2.5-2.9 miles from Route 94, 2 miles boardwalk
Time: Varies  

7. Blue Mountain Reservation Loop

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Starting about one mile off Peekskill Metro North Stop, the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail boasts of spectacular views of Westchester and Hudson River as you follow green diamond blazes to reach Peekskill. Visit Peekskill Brewery to have Skills Pils before heading back.  
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Distance: 12 miles
Time: 3-4 hours

8. Sugarloaf Hill And Osborn Loop

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This Metro-North hike can be accessed through Garrison on Hudson line before Cold Spring and you will have to follow the trail to Martha’s Mile followed by Garrison Institute, Route 9D before reaching the trailheads. Sugarloaf Hill (red) and Osborn Loop (blue) will take you through the lengthy route overlooking Storm King Mountain, east Hudson Highlands and West Point.   
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Distance: 7 miles
Time: 5 hours

9. Staten Island Greenbelt

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The six marked trails of Greenbelt across the Harbor include the moderate 12.3-mile blue trail up to crest of the Todt Hill, the 7.6-mile white trail leading to Great Kills Park, the 4-mile red loop trail within the center and the 8-mile challenging yellow trail through swamp to Todt Hill. Enjoy bird-watching from the 1-mile Nature Center Trail.  
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Distance: Over 35 miles
Time: 3-4 hours for 12 mile trail

10. Lake Minnewaska And Gertrude’s Nose

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The 2-mile loop trail to Lake Minnewaska overlooking the mountains and the 7.8-mile loop halfway around it to Gertrude’s Nose will show you colossal chalky-white rock formations, dramatic cliffs and dense evergreen woods. While descending down the plateaus and steep slopes, you will find tall pine grove along the trail.    
Difficulty Level: Hard
Distance: 7.8 miles to Gertrude’s Nose, 2 miles to the lake
Time: Around 2 hours
Apart from the above, Bull Hill, Mount Beacon Trail, Surprise Lake Loop, Pine Meadow Trail etc are equally interesting for hikers. So, where are you planning for hiking in New York City?

This post was published by Rachana Jain

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