Hikes Near New York City

Who owns a car in the Big Apple?  Not me.  So the hikes below rely on public transit to get to trail's edge.

Mt. Taurus, Breakneck Ridge, and C0ld Spring area

Getting There: Metro North Hudson Line to Cold Spring (a bit over 1 hr from Grand Central Station).

One of my favorite getaways from New York City-- been to these trails over 15 times.

From Cold Spring railroad station, walk north down platform towards town. It's a very cute town with cafes, bakeries, B&Bs, antique stores, pizza and ice cream parlors, a depot restaurant with summer beergarden, and a convenience store to stock up on water (or beer, after the hike).  Walk 2 block up Main St. and take left on Fair St. Walk 10-15 min down Fair St to trailheads (you'll pass baseball field on your left; roads merge 1-2 min. before trail entrances). 

On opposite side of road is trail up Mt. Taurus (aka Bull Hill), marked with white blazes. Steep incline, but GORGEOUS views of Hudson River valley! Allow 2 to 3.5 hrs R/T. At top, you can continue following white blazes down other side of mountain, but the white trail ends shortly and other trails appear. If you're up for it, head to Breakneck Ridge (though learn from my lesson, and avoid it during windstorms).  After a few times of coming here I finally bought the highly recommended NY/NJ Trail Conference East Hudson Trails map and begun stringing together different paths, so each time it's a new experience.

Flat trails ("Hudson Ramble") start at the small footbridge, across the road from the hiking trail entrance.

More information:




Palisades Park, New Jersey

The cheapest get-away from New York City! 

Getting There:  Take the 1 line subway to 181st St/George Washington Bridge.  Walk south 3 blocks southwest to 178th St and the Hudson River, and walk up the pedestrian ramp and cross the bridge. (There is a pedestrian walkway on the south side, but beware of the cyclists!) The mile-long suspension bridge has spectacular views of the City up and down the Hudson River.  On the other side of the bridge, take a right and go under the small overpass.  A very short distance ahead, on the right, is a set of stairs leading up to the trails.  The trail immediately splits into two, but the trail on the right just curves back to meet the main trail.  One of my favorite things to do is hike north on the Long Trail and back on the Shore Trail.

I have seen deer, rabbits, and wild turkeys on this trail, and it's a stone's throw from the hubbub and cheap food of Washington Heights.  There are actually two trails.  The Long Path, signified by blue trail markers painted on trees, goes through the woods, but near the Henry Hudson Drive highway.  The Shore Trail, which uses white markers, follows the Hudson River and is generally more quiet. However, it weaves through a couple of picnic areas which attract families, BBQs, and those in search of food and public bathrooms.  Vending machines operate throughout the year.

More information on the trails is here:



Appalachian Trail (Harlem Valley/CT)

Getting there: take Metro-North Harlem line to Appalachian Trail stop (only on weekends; about 2 hr.; $17.50 R/T). Basic hiking info at RR station. You can hike east to Route 55, or west to the CT state border (about 20 miles out andback). Gorgeous, sloping hills and meadows. Endless miles of trails in both directions.  

Metro North Transit info:


Bear Mountain State Park

Getting There: take Metro North to Manitou. Open year round 8am-dusk.

The park is located on the Appalachian Trail and is a 90-minute drive from Manhattan. Biking, boating and fishing are available, plus there's a playground, a pool and an inn for overnighters. In colder months, visitors come for the ice skating rink, cross-country skiing, ski trails and ski-jumps. Boat rentals, picnic tables and restaurants are accessible for people with disabilities.

Long Island Greenbelt Trail

Getting there: one way is to take Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to Great River (90 min).

32 mi. along the Nissequoque and Connetquot Rivers from Long Island Sound to Great South Bay. Pass through Sunken Meadow, Caleb Smith, C. and Heckscher state parks. 

More information:
Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference: 631.360.0753; www.hike-li-com

Old Croton Aqueduct, New York

Getting There:  For easiest trail access, take Metro-North to Greystone or Dobbs Ferry stations. Note: there is convenient access from all Metro-North stations from Greystone through Ossining.

The Old Croton Aqueduct is a 26-mile level footpath atop the masonry tunnel that first brought clean water to New York in 1842. The path winds through green landscapes, architectural treasures, and historic sites.  It is possible to begin your journey at one rail station, end it at another, and use Metro-North to return without retracing your steps! Call the manager of the Old Croton Aqueduct at 914-693-5259 for more information. Trail maps may be purchased from The Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct at 914-693-4117 or visit www.aqueduct.org.

More information:


More Great Car-less Options