Summer is nearly upon us, which means you’re probably starting to think about ways to enjoy The Great Outdoors! Hiking is one of the most rewarding summer activities – you explore new areas, get in touch with nature, and get great exercise. While New York City is more readily known for Broadway and skyscrapers, its proximity to the Appalachian Mountains means there are some decent trail options around the city. Here is a list of awesome hikes you can do if you’re in the Greater New York City area.
This one is for beginner hikers or those who don’t have the time or means to travel outside the city. It’s a popular walking, jogging, and biking path along the Hudson River up the west side of Manhattan. It runs from Battery Park all the way to Riverside Park, nearly at the other end of the island. The trail is paved and flat, running about 5 miles. There are awesome views of the skyline, the river, and New Jersey beyond it.
If you want to get out of the city for better scenery and more challenging hikes, read on!
Located about an hour north of Grand Central Station by train, Breakneck Ridge is a hike that’s easily completed as a day trip from NYC, even for those without a car. You’ll get off the train in the town of Cold Spring, which is a quaint small town oriented around a single main street. It’s worth building some time into your day to have breakfast here at one of the cute cafes to fuel up before your hike.
To get to the trailhead from town, you can either take an Uber or walk towards Hudson Highlands State Park. There’s a marked path along the main road that will take you to the trailhead safely behind a guardrail (the trailhead is just past an underpass on a highway). Ignore Google Maps when it tries to tell you it will take you an hour and a half to get there! Just follow the signs.
As the name implies, Breakneck Ridge is for the brave at heart who aren’t afraid of a challenge. The trail starts off as a steep, unrelenting rock scramble. It goes up to several peaks with breathtaking views of the Hudson River before winding down through the woods, past some ruins, and back into town.
Another Hudson Valley Hike you can get to via the Metro North train is Anthony’s Nose (however, getting to the actual trailhead is much easier with a car). This hike is less exhilarating than Breakneck Ridge, but still has plenty of ups and downs and some rock scrambling. There are sweet views from the “nose” right above the bridge. You might even see a train go by on the tracks along the river while you’re taking a break above. Unless you want a short nature walk, make sure you take the Camp Smith Trail to get the full experience.
When you’re done, reward yourself with a craft brew and a snack at Peekskill Brewery.
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