Hiking is by far one of my favorite outdoor activities. Living in New York City, you might think it is difficult to go hiking frequently, but there is are so many amazing hikes near New York City! I am fortunate to have recently purchased a car, but I was able to go hiking even before that. Despite how you may feel in the city, there are a bunch of different places to go hiking near New York City. Whether you head upstate or over to New Jersey, there are so many great areas to enjoy nature near the city! Some are easily accessible by public transit and others definitely are worth renting a car for, but all of them are the perfect escape from the city.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via my link I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support my blog and provide free content for you! Read my disclosure policy here.
There are a bunch of trails at Mount Beacon park and you can easily reach the park by taking the MetroNorth Railroad to Beacon and then its a short 25 minute walk to many of the trailheads. The Trail I enjoyed was the South Beacon Moutain via Casino Trail(Red). This 3.7 mile out and back trail is appropriately rated as a moderate hike on AllTrails. With 1,300 feet of elevation gain, be prepared for a more strenuous hike. The views are so worth it though! You can see some super cool casino ruins along the way too!
Towards the top you get panoramic views of Beacon and the Hudson. I went last fall and the fall foliage was in full effect! Definitely opt for this hike on a cooler day as there isn’t a ton of tree cover as you get higher up. I also recommend bring lots of water! I love my camelbak hydration backpack for hikes like this one! This hike reminded me a lot of some of the hikes I loved in Olympic National Park. It has all the features of a great hike and I can’t wait to hike it again this fall!
Full disclosure: I did not get to finish this full hike. My friends and I were super excited about this one, but my 8 year old Columbia hiking boots had other thoughts. About 1.5 miles into the hike, the sole of my right boot fell off. I knew I needed to replace them, but thought I had a few more hikes left in them. At that point, we taped it to my foot with the medical tape in our first aid kit, reached a scenic view point and then turned around and headed back towards the car. It’s a good thing we did because about 500 feet from the trailhead, the other sole fell off too.
Shoe issues aside, we were able to do a portion of this hike as an out and back hike and clocked about 3 miles of hiking in total. Overall, the hike was beautiful and had some amazing views of the surrounding areas(including Storm King park). The scenic viewpoint we stopped and turned around at had gorgeous views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. This trail is on the easier side of moderate and definitely a good day hike! In terms of getting there from the city, a rental car is probably your best bet, but you can also take the train to Beacon and pay about $30 for an uber to the trailhead.
This trail is definitely on the longer side of the hikes on this list(clocked in close to 7 miles with the distance from the parking lot). The first half of the hike is up to the top of hook mountain and can get a bit steep at times. The steepness is worth it though! At the top of Hook Mountain, you get panoramic views of the Hudson river and the Tappan Zee Bridge. Well worth the trek up!
The second half of the hike is down the side of the mountain and along the shore of the river. If you prefer hikes that are not flat, I recommend doing the mountain as an out-and-back. The beach portion is a nice long flat stretch that is beautiful, but monotonous at times. Overall, this hike was amazing and I highly recommend it.
This was actually one of my favorite hikes I have taken recently! There were so many interesting parts. We started at the O’Hara Nature Center and looped from there, but there are other starting options. At one part, called the “Hermit’s Grove”, you can see the grave of a hermit that lived there a long time ago. There is also a lot of variation in the terrain which keeps a hike interesting! We even stumbled upon a wild christmas tree and a mid-forest fire hydrant.
It was a shorter hike clocking in around 2.5 miles and is perfect for a morning adventure. This was a great spring/summer hike because the tree cover keeps you cool even on hotter days(it was 85 degrees the day we went). There was also a lot of birds and small wildlife around like chipmunks! This was definitely an easier hike and is perfect for all skill levels! Due to COVID, when we went the Nature Center was closed, but I want to go back when things normalize to see that too!
This hike was a bit further outside the city in New Jersey, but it was a great 3 mile hike that is dog-friendly. Not too crowded and mostly shaded by trees, this hike was perfect even on a hot saturday in August. My dog agrees too! We followed the white/yellow and ranger Trail loop and were able to see birds, streams, and enjoy a nice workout during this hike. Overall, this was like a nice walk in the woods! I would say this trail was more easy than moderate, but still very pleasant. I would definitely hike it again and encourage others to do the same!
These are just a handful of the amazing hikes near New york city and I am still exploring even more! What is your favorite trail you have ever hiked?
From one misguided millennial to the world, get outside and enjoy some nature this week!