If you are into hiking and you are thinking New York is not really a place for good hiking trails, you would be wrong. New York has so much to offer hikers, from easy walks in nature to challenging mountains. And for some of them, you don’t even have to leave NYC.
There are several hikes on this list that are so close to the city that you could go hiking and still be back in time for a night out on the town. And depending on your fitness and experience level, you will get to views that you never knew existed in New York. New York has more nature to offer you than you realize, from a walk in Central Park to the most picturesque hiking trails.
So drop your extra bags and gear off with luggage storage in NYC and get ready to experience some of the best hikes in New York City!
Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in NYC
Bronx River Greenway
This is a long and pretty easy hike right in the Bronx River Greenway. With 23 miles that will take on your own private walking tour. It is a long walk so you might want to have little stops and enjoy the Bronx Zoo or New York Botanical Gardens.
Kazimiroff Nature Trail
One of the easiest and most beautiful hikes is hidden in plain sight right in the Bronx. The Kazimiroff Nature Trail is an easy loop of Hunter Island, located in Pelham Bay Park. Your walk will take you through wetlands, woodlands, and a salt marsh, all teeming with wildlife and stunningly beautiful vegetation.
Just grab the number six train to Pelham Bay Park and you are there.
Van Cortlandt Park
In Van Cortlandt Park you will find a number of hiking trails, and while they are not too strenuous, some are fairly long. Just hop on the train to Yonkers and you are ready to stroll.
John Muir Trail
If you are just getting into hiking and want something short like the John Muir Trail is your best choice. Although the trail is only 1.5 miles long you can continue on to the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail for another 2.3 miles to get a little more exercise.
Old Croton Aqueduct Trail
You can choose the full 26.5-mile trail or go for the 10-mile out-and-back that starts from Ossining. At the turnaround point, you will be greeted by the beautiful sight of the New Croton Dam, the best part of the hike. After this appetite-building trek, head back to the city for a filling New York City brunch!
Anthony's Nose is located in the Hudson River Valley along the Appalachian Trail. It's a moderate hiker’s level that will take two or three hours. When you reach the top you will want to wander over to the rocky ridge that offers a breathtaking view of the Hudson River and Bear Mountain Bridge.
This is not a long hike. It is only 1.3 miles long, but there are a few steep sections, like a five hundred-foot staircase made of rock. If you are still feeling energetic, the trail continues for about another 3.5 miles before heading back to the beginning.
To get there is an hour's drive or take the North Hudson line.
Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park has several hiking trails to conquer, with Bear Mountain Trail being the most popular. It is just under four miles to the summit but is not for those looking for a Sunday stroll. A moderate level hike the trail ends with a stunning view from the top.
If you are looking for a challenge Breakneck Ridge in Hudson Highlands State Park is the hike for you. A 3.2-mile loop that will test your body with rocky verticles that give your upper body a good workout. There is no doubt it is a grind but the views at the top are worth it.
A one and a half-hour drive or hop on the train, it takes two hours to get there but you will enjoy not having to drive on the way home.
Mount Beacon Trail
A challenging hike, to say the least, the Mount Beacon Trail will take you to the highest summit of the Hudson Highlands State. Once there you will have the best view of the valley from the Fire Tower at the end of the trail.
It is a hard, almost six-mile loop hike, so you will need a lot of water and snacks to keep your energy up. A stop at the Rainbow Falls will help refresh you too.
Bull Hill is not a hill, it is a mountain. It is sometimes referred to as Mt. Taurus, which might be more appropriate. A nice challenging hike that is not quite as tough as Breakneck Ridge (one mile down the road) it’s still challenging and has its own charm. You will still have a great view of the Hudson Valley.
To get there by train you take the Hudson line to the town of Cold Spring, a good place to grab a bite after the three-hour hike.
Surprise Lake Loop
This is located in the Jersey Highlands and takes between two to three hours to complete. The almost five-mile loop is a good challenge for those looking for a cardio workout. It is a moderately difficult hike over varied terrain that rewards you with some stunning views. On a clear day, you can even see the New York City skyline.
From Port Authority to Greenwood Lake Park & Ride is about a two-hour bus ride, which will put you right near the trailhead.
Wanaque Ridge Trail Loop
What you see along the Wanaque Ridge Trail Loop is nothing short of a picturesque hiking trail. When you traverse the western ridge of the Ramapo Mountains your view of New Jersey and Ramapo Lake is something right out of a storybook.
It’s a moderate 5.5-mile hike that will take 3.5 hours. To get there, take New Jersey Transit’s #197 from Port Authority to Ringwood Ave. and Second Ave. in Wanaque. Walk a mile and you are at the trailhead.
Arden Point and Glenclyffe
A gentle hike that is less than four miles long, you will be following part of the route that Benedict Arnold used. The two to three-hour walk will take you past scenic waterfalls, a bamboo forest, as well as a great view of the West Point Naval Academy.
To get there is pretty easy too, just take the Metro North's Hudson line to the Garrison stop, jump off and you are at the trailhead.
Stairway to Heaven Trail
Who doesn’t love to have the choice to make it easy or hard on themselves? And that is what you will get with the Stairway to Heaven Trail in Wawayanda State Park. You can go for the easy shorter 2.5-mile section, or go all out for the 7.2-mile steep version.
No matter which one you choose, it’s the right choice. You find a plethora of sights, waterfalls, a suspension bridge, the Hudson River, views as far as the eye can see, and if the timing is right beautiful wildflowers. You get there on the NJ Transit bus #196 or #197 to Warwick and then a 10-minute taxi to the trailhead.
Carpenter's Loop Trail
The 5.5-mile loop is an easy hike that will satisfy not only nature lovers but history buffs as well. It follows along the Englewood cliffs to the Hudson River. While in the Fort Lee Historic Park you can visit a reconstructed Revolutionary War encampment.
And getting there is so easy, simply cross the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey and you are there.
Storm King State Park
The hikes in Storm King State Park will challenge you a little bit, trails that can be steep and a little light rock climbing is required. But once you are past the tougher parts, the views of the Hudson Valley and Catskills are stunning. With cool breezes and true nature surrounding you, you won't care how you got there, you will just be glad you did.
To get there check the Storm King Art Center’s website, they have train and bus packages for New York’s public transportation.
Staten Island Greenbelt
The Staten Island Greenbelt is a great combination of hikes of all levels, with six different trails to choose from.
- The 12.3-mile Blue Trail will take you over Todt Hill - One of the highest points on the Eastern Seaboard.
- The 7.6-mile White Trail that goes to Great Kills Park - At the midway point is the Nature Center a great place to rest and have a snack, overall a quiet peaceful trail with few people.
- The 4-mile easy to moderate loop Red Trail - Travel the loop or take the downhill extension to Historic Richmondtown.
- The harder 8-mile Yellow Trail - The trail passes over Todt Hill as it parallels Blue Trail.
- The easy one-mile Nature Center Trail for beginners - Great nature stroll especially in the spring when the trees and flowers are in bloom; you might even see chipmunks, hawks, and a variety of singing birds.
- The 2.6-mile loop of the Multipurpose Trail goes around the La Tourette Golf Course - Not a woodland trail, it is the only one in the Greenbelt that allows biker riding.
Getting here is a breeze just hop on the free Staten Island Ferry.
Easy Hikes in NYC
The easiest and most convenient hiking trails are actually right in New York City. They provide all the peace and beauty that you want but might not expect to find in a big city. And if you have kids that love being active, check out these hikes and other activities In NYC parks.
- Bronx River Greenway - A flat 23 miles but you can stop anytime or take breaks at any number of venues along the trail.
- Kazimiroff Nature Trail - An easy walk through a beautiful array of flora and fauna, with a great chance to see wildlife.
- John Muir Trail - A great walk for beginners that will take you through three ecologically distinct forests, Northeast Forest, Northwest Forest, and the Croton Woods.
- Old Croton Aqueduct Trail - Designated a Scenic and Historic Corridor by the State Legislature, you might see raccoons, pheasant, and if you are very lucky, a fox.
Intermediate Hikes in NYC
If you are looking for hikes that will get a sweat going but you still want to be home time for dinner check out these trails just over on Staten Island.
Staten Island Greenbelt
- Blue Trail - Over 12 miles of varied terrain that is not too hard, but not too easy either.
- White Trail - An up and down terrain that will pass through Egbertville Ravine, over Heyerdahl Hill and through Buck’s Hollow.
Difficult Hikes in NYC
For serious hikers, you will need to get a little further out of the city. Here is a list of the most challenging trails.
- Breakneck Ridge - The most challenging hike not only on this list but in the state of New York.
- Bull Hill - No rocks to scramble up, just a good old-fashioned grind hike.
- Mount Beacon Trail - It is a tough climb especially at the top with verticle slopes that can be very tricky when wet.
Near New York City and Beyond
So you can see New York has hiking trails for people of every level, beginners to advanced. Whether you prefer a nice calm walk in the park to traversing a mountain New York has what you are looking for. And if you were thinking about hiking but didn’t know where to go, now you do.
Exploring hiking trails, incredible nightlife, the latest fashions, or just having fun with your family, the Big Apple has it all. So what are you waiting for? Close your laptop, turn off the TV, and get out there.