Top 10 Hiking Trails In New York City

Prospect Park

Prospect Park Stairs by Simon Abrams (CC BY 2.0)

When you think of New York City, your mind likely goes to skyscrapers and busy streets first. However, as it turns out, there are a number of great and scenic hiking trails in the New York City area that you don’t have to travel far and wide to find. While Long Island has some great trails, there are some short and scenic trails right in the Big Apple, easily accessible by the subway or a ferry. Here are our top 10 hiking trails.

1. Kazimiroff Trail at Pelham Bay Park

This trail will take you through one of the biggest and best parks in New York City, Pelham Bay Park. The trail is very open ended and allows for visitors to pick their own journey through one of the various short or long loops. The Kazimiroff Trail can easily lead you to forget that you’re still in New York City. On your journey through this trail you will see a variety of scenery, wildlife, and unmatched views of the natural beauty that is Hunter Island.

2. The Greenbelt at LaTourette Park

The Staten Island Greenbelt is a series of open space and trails located in central Staten Island and it’s three times larger than Central Park. The Greenbelt presents numerous trails, each offering different hiking experiences in terms of difficulty and scenery. So whether or not you’re looking for a simple 1 mile hike, or a more moderate-to-difficult hike, there’s a hike for everyone at the Greenbelt.

3. Clove Lakes Park Trail at Clove Lakes Park

If naturally beautiful places are for you, this place could be a great match. Clove Lakes Park has an abundance of lakes and ponds and also the largest trees in the borough of Staten Island. While the entire park is lavish, the 3-mile hiking trail offer views of stunning terrain and history as well. The trail will take you up hills, through some of New York’s biggest trees and also give you some great views on its bridges.

4. Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trail at Inwood Hill Park

This park and trail offer a taste of what Manhattan used to be like, hundreds of years ago. Rumors state that this was the park where Manhattan was bought from the Native Americans way back in 1626. The park remains largely unchanged since then. The hiking trails here will offer you a scenic journey through trees and up hills where you will see trees that are hundreds of years old. For somewhere like this to exist only minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan makes it easier to just get outside and hike.

5. Lullwater at Prospect Park

Located right in the heart of Brooklyn exists Prospect Park, which is the largest park in the borough. The park is home to a number of different trails, including the mile long Lullwater trail. Throughout the journey on the trail you will experience a lot of wildlife (especially a large number of birds). Surrounded by breathtaking nature in the midst of an enormous city can feel like a luxury. The park also offers its visitors to experience the beautiful man-made watercourse that runs throughout the trail and park.

6. Cass Gallagher Nature Trail at Van Cortlandt Park

This little trail is located in the Bronx and is only a short walk away from the Broadway/Mosholu intersection. This 1.4 mile long trail takes you through the beautiful and lush greenery that the Van Cortlandt park has to offer. This park got its name in 1984, when it was named after a former resident of the Bronx, an environmentalist who helped protect the park and make it better.

7. Arden Point and Glenclyffe

This is definitely one of the most visually appealing hikes in New York City as well as being one of the easiest to find. After you step off the train at the Garrison stop, you’ll see two pillars that will let you know you have arrived. This 3.7 mile trail gives you numerous stunning viewpoints of the Hudson River throughout your journey. The lush greenery here will also take your mind off whatever stressful affairs you have waiting back home.

8. Trails at Alley Pond Park

Alley Pond Park, which is located in Queens, is home to a number of different hiking trails. They are all named after colors, which make them easy to remember and distinguish. Each of these trails are worth the trip and they all take you through the oak and hickory wood forests and let you feast your eyes on some beautiful ponds and salt marshes as well.

9. John Muir Trail at Van Cortlandt Park

Here we have another great trail to check out in the Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The 1.5 mile John Muir trail was established in 1997 and is the only trail in the entire park to run east to west. Travelling this way means you will have to deal with the steep terrain in the middle of the park. You get to check off both the Northeast and the Northwest Forests on this trail and you will see a large variety of trees on your journey.

10. South Preserve Trail at Cunningham Park

If you are looking for a pure and organic experience through and through, this is the place for you. This 3 mile long combination of unnamed trails in Queens is one of the most undisturbed areas of nature in all of New York City. The trails offer you an inside view of an ecosystem that is diverse enough to support a wide variety of wildlife. You also get some great views of ridges and various ponds throughout this trail as well.

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