The Best Urban Hiking Spots in NYC
‘Tis the season to go hiking! If you’re like me, there’s nothing that will take away your feeling of excitement to explore Mother Nature than the thought of having to sit in traffic to get out of the city! Luckily for us, New York City has several hidden trails you can hike, bike, run, or walk without having to leave the 5 boroughs. We’ve rounded up our favorite in each!
Manhattan: Fort Tryon Park
Nestled at the top of Manhattan lays a serene, but massive park that’s perfect for hiking. Fort Tryon Park is filled with plenty of hills to get your heart rate going, plus an extra surprise: The Cloisters!
As the sister museum to the MET, The Cloisters offers a plethora of tapestries and art stemming from the medieval times… also making it a perfect day trip of nature and culture, without leaving the city.
Right outside the museum are sweeping views of the Hudson River, The George Washington Bridge, and the beautifully blooming Heather Gardens – perfect to nestle down for a picnic after your hike and museum stroll.
Getting there: Take the A train to 190th Street and walk north.
Queens: Alley Pond Park
Located in Little Neck Bay in Queens, Alley Pond Park offers 635 acres of trails for hikers that include forests, swamps, tidal flats and meadows. During your hike you can expect to see over 300 varieties of wildlife, including shore birds, migrating flocks, and a variety of small animals.
The Alley Pond Environmental Center can help point you in the right direction of which trail would suit you best. They also offer a variety of classes for nature lovers both young and old (playgroups with an emphasis on nature for the littles and yoga for the adults). Check out their updated calendar of events, too!
Getting there: Take the 7 to Flushing-Main St., then take Q12 bus to Northern Blvd. at 223rd St.
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The Bronx: Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Located in Pelham Bay Park, the Kazimiroff Nature Trail is a gorgeous hike near the water – giving you the best of both worlds! Located on Orchard Beach, you’ll have two options to hike:
- Take a two mile hike through the 189 acre Hunter Island
- Take the shorter 30 minute trail
Both will let you enjoy the beauty of the rocky shores, wetlands, and views of the Long Island Sound!
Getting there: Take the 6 line to its last stop, Pelham Bay Park.
Brooklyn: The Ravine in Prospect Park
If you want to experience Brooklyn’s only forest, head to the Ravine in its 585 acre Prospect Park. You’ll get treated to a bit of architecture (bridges and arches), and a lot of nature (trees and waterfalls). Ambergill Falls is a true highlight of the trail – who knew such a fantastic wonder of nature existed smack in the middle of Brooklyn?!
Getting there: Enter the park at 15th Street and Prospect Park West.
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While it may be the most time intensive to get to, we think the Greenbelt Nature Center Trail is truly something special. Totally worth the Staten Island ferry ride!
The trail includes plenty of blooms, footbridges, wildlife, and towering trees. And with being only a mile long, this trail is perfect for the casual hiker, or hikers toting small kids along!
Getting there: From the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, take bus S74 to Rockland Avenue, transfer to the S54 or S57 to Brielle Avenue.
Don’t forget to check out the NYC Parks site for all the public hiking trails within the five boroughs. They break up the trails by area, and give you the details on the length and difficulty of each one. The best part? If you’re looking for a group to hike with, they coordinate that too! Just check out their hiking events, which are sorted into difficulty level and held all over the city’s trails! Happy hiking!