Few athletic activities are as therapeutic as going for a hike. It’s a mix of walking—one of the most basic but beneficial forms of fitness there is—forest bathing, and hill climbing all in one. Not only that, but finding a nearby hiking trail is one of the easiest ways to get out of your apartment and the City at large. And what’s more, it doesn’t take a three hour car ride to find one of the best places to hike near New York City.
New Yorkers already know that the City is chock-full of green areas to get a sense of nature in the middle of skyscrapers, from Central Park to Pelham Bay Park. But if you venture out about an hour beyond the five boroughs, you’ll come across picturesque hiking trails for the taking. Keep scrolling for 11 hiking hotspots that you can easily access from the City.
Places to hike near New York City
Located a little over an hour outside NYC is the Surprise Lake Loop, a four-and-a-half mile trail that’s right on Greenwood Lake. It’s a moderate hike with some rock scrambling within it, and is a particularly friendly bird-watching spot. If you want to feel like you’re immersed in nature and want a cardio fix as you hike, this is a good option.
The Sterling Lake loop is nestled alongside a lake in Tuxedo Park, New York, and offers views of the Sterling Forest Fire Tower (which you can climb) and the lush green woods of the forest. It’s considered a moderate-level trail hike, and would be a great place to run through.
Breakneck Ridge is a mountain trail about an hour and a half upstate New York and is for advanced-level hikers. There are lots of steep climbs and plenty of rock scrambling involved to reach the top, but the views of the Hudson River are worth it the challenge. Note: This hike is currently closed for COVID-19, but it’s one to bookmark for later.
Another popular upstate hike with lake views is Bear Mountain, a roughly four-mile trail for moderate-level hikers with a stunning view at the summit. Within Bear Mountain Park are picnic groves, biking trails, and lake access in case you want to fish or relax by the water.
Up in the northwestern section of Westchester County is this 1,538-acre park that features various hiking trails to two mountain peaks (Blue Mountain and Mt. Spitzenberg). You can choose from moderate trails ranging from about three miles long to just over six, and there are options for bikers and runners.
In the Hudson Valley is Anthony’s Nose, a hiking spot on the Appalachian Trail. It’s a moderately-challenging (and at times pretty steep) hike that levels out a bit after the beginning climb, and you’ll wind up with a panoramic view of the Hudson River at the top. Note: This hike is currently closed for COVID-19, but it’s one to bookmark for later.
Thirty miles outside of NYC you’ll find Harriman State Park, the second largest park in the state. There are over 100 hiking trails within the reserve for all different levels of hikers, all of which provide views of wildlife, scenic streams, and picturesque vantage points.
Though most New Yorkers know Storm King for its outdoor sculpture garden (a must-see), the state park itself has a variety of hiking trails—ranging from easy to moderate—that you can explore.
At the tip-top of the Bronx is an under-the-radar hiking gem: the Kazimiroff Nature trail, a beginner-level hiking loop filled with lush wildlife. Within the hike you’ll come across remnants of the Hunter Mansion garden, a salt marsh, and gorgeous vegetation (like sea lavender).
Six hiking trails make up the Greenbelt in Staten Island, which is known for its multiple loops (from beginner to moderate levels) filled with trees that you don’t see in Manhattan (like beech and hickory) and nature views. Just hop on the (free!) Staten Island Ferry to get there.
In Garrison, New York—a little over an hour outside of NYC—is Arden Point and Glenclyffe, a four-mile hike that’s friendly to all skill levels and comes along with views of waterfalls, the Hudson River, and West Point.
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