Bear Mountain State Park, easy hikes in NYC

12 Best Hikes in New York City + Trails Map

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The Big Apple has no shortage of attractions and activities, but it’s also nice to take an NYC hike and explore the quieter side of the city. One of the best things to do outside NYC is to spend a few hours enjoying the natural beauty surrounding the metropolis, so, when you have some free time and need a break from the noise and crowds, check out one of these nearby trails!

In this guide, I’ll share the 12 best hikes near New York City, including some that are just minutes from Manhattan. Others are a bit further away, but they’re worth it for the amazing views, fresh air, and epic scenery.

Keep reading to discover the top hikes in New York City, and download your favorite routes so you can safely traverse the trails.

1. Breakneck Ridge Loop, one of the top hikes near New York City

The Breakneck Ridge Loop is in Beacon, NY, one of the best day trips from NYC. More specifically, it’s in the Hudson Highlands State Park, so after doing this hike near NYC, you can explore downtown Beacon and some other attractions.

Breakneck Ridge Loop, walking trails near nyc

1. Breakneck Ridge Loop, one of the top hikes near New York City

As for the route, it’s a challenging 3.2-mile hike, and I recommend going counter-clockwise around the loop for great views from the start. There are some steep parts of the path, and it can be slippery, so wear hiking boots. As you begin the descent, you’ll pass Sugarloaf Mountain, and there is some scrambling involved, so you should be in good shape. Overall, it’s one of the best NY hikes that’s not too long but still gets your heart rate up.

  • Duration: 2 hrs
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Some parts can be steep and slippery
  • Elevation gain: 1,250 ft

2. Storm King Mountain, a fun hike near NYC

Another great hiking trail in New York is the Storm King Mountain Trail. It’s an intermediate route near Cornwall, NY that offers plenty of scenic views and birdwatching opportunities. Keep an eye out for eagles, hawks, kestrels, and bobolinks.

Storm King Mountain, best hikes within 2 hours of nyc

2. Storm King Mountain, a fun hike near NYC

Begin at the Howell Trailhead and follow the circular path clockwise, paying attention to the trail map since the path isn’t always well-marked. There is also a bit of rock climbing and scrambling you’ll have to do, but it’s nothing too strenuous. The elevation gain is moderate, but you’ll get awesome views of the Hudson River and the valley, so it’s one of the best hikes near NYC you can do as a family.

  • Duration: 1 hr, 15 mins
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Rocks, scrambling
  • Elevation gain: 629 ft

3. Bear Mountain Loop Trail, a dog-friendly hiking trail near NYC

The Bear Mountain Loop Trail is a nice family hike near NYC that’s nestled in the Highlands of NY. It’s a well-maintained path, but I recommend going counter-clockwise for the best views over Bear Mountain State Park.

Bear Mountain Loop Trail, new york city trail

3. Bear Mountain Loop Trail, a dog-friendly hiking trail near NYC

As you enter the park, you can leave your car in the lot, but you’ll have to pay the admission fee ($10). Starting at the trailhead, begin your ascent up to the Perkins Memorial Tower. Some scrambling is required to pass the beautiful Hessian Lake and reach a viewpoint overlooking the Hudson River.

While there are some steep parts of the trail, it’s a dog-friendly hiking trail near NYC, so it’s perfect for a family adventure.

  • Duration: 2 hrs
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Scrambling, steep parts
  • Elevation gain: 1,154 ft

4. Bull Hill Loop Trail (Mt. Taurus), another scenic hike near NYC

The Hudson Highlands State Park is one of the best places to hike in NY, so another route I recommend doing is the Bull Hill Loop Trail. This circular path begins at the Little Stony Point parking lot and takes a few hours to complete.

Bull Hill Loop Trail (Mt. Taurus), hiking around new york city

4. Bull Hill Loop Trail (Mt. Taurus), another scenic hike near NYC

Follow the marked white trail and go along the old quarry road, then continue around, paying careful attention to the steep parts of the route. It’s an intermediate hike, so the only truly difficult part should be the steep ascent at the beginning. Watch your footing, but also keep an eye out for glimpses of the NYC skyline, the Hudson River, and the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

At the end of the trail, you’ll pass an abandoned estate and greenhouse, which is a unique finish to one of the best hikes near NYC. Not only that, but this trail is near Cold Spring, NY, another fun place to go outside NYC.

  • Duration: 2 hrs, 45 mins
  • Distance: 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Steep ascent
  • Elevation gain: 1,391 ft

5. Anthony’s Nose, a popular short hike near NYC

A short hike near NYC that you can tack onto your itinerary is Anthony’s Nose. It’s in the Hudson Highlands, specifically in Cortlandt, NY, which is near Cold Spring.

At just less than two miles, this route won’t take you long to complete, but it’s worth doing for the great views and scenery along the way. Also, this out and back trail is well-maintained and quite popular, so expect to see lots of people. If you go on a particularly nice spring day, there may be some overcrowding, so plan accordingly.

Anthony’s Nose, easy hikes near nyc

5. Anthony’s Nose, a popular short hike near NYC

Anthony’s Nose is part of the Appalachian Trail near NYC, and the most challenging part is at the beginning. You’ll have to deal with a steep incline, but you’re rewarded with nice views at the top. The flora, fauna, and little stream make it a good day hike to do with kids, and you can explore the nearby towns afterward.

  • Duration: 1 hr
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Out & back
  • Obstacles: Overcrowding, steep ascent
  • Elevation gain: 675 ft

6. Arden Point and Glenclyffe, an easy hike near NYC with a waterfall

Over in Garrison, NY, the Arden Point and Glenclyffe route is another easy hike near NYC, although the path isn’t well-marked. You’ll want to follow the map so you don’t risk veering off the path, but this is the only difficulty you should have on this hike.

Arden Point and Glenclyffe, best places to hike in ny

6. Arden Point and Glenclyffe, an easy hike near NYC with a waterfall

It’s an easy 3.8-mile loop that’s best done between April and October. If you go on a weekend, you can park for free at the Garrison train station, then set off along the trail, which follows the Hudson River and features lots of natural scenery you’ll want to admire.

Take your time because there is lots to see, including the bamboo shoots along the path, the pretty streams, and fields of wildflowers. Also, this is a nice hiking trail near NYC with a waterfall, although your best chances of seeing it are after a decent rainfall.

  • Duration: 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Trail isn’t well-marked
  • Elevation gain: 278 ft

7. Stairway to Heaven, a beautiful New Jersey hike near NYC

If you’re willing to travel out of state, the Stairway to Heaven is one of the best hiking trails near NYC. Located in Vernon, NJ, this out and back route can be a bit challenging, but it’s only 2.6 miles and doesn’t have a huge elevation gain.

Stairway to Heaven, best hikes in nyc

7. Stairway to Heaven, a beautiful New Jersey hike near NYC

You’ll begin with a steep ascent up Wawayanda Mountain, following the Appalachian Trail. After the climb, the path continues to a lookout point, where you can see Pochuck Mountain and, in the distance, the Catskills and the Kittatinny’s. This viewpoint is hard to find, so keep an eye out for the footpath.

Another nice part of this New Jersey hike near NYC is the scenery on the descent. You’ll pass several waterfalls but watch your footing because there are rocky areas and it’s easy to slip. Moreover, the Stairway to Heaven is equidistant from High Point State Park and Ringwood State Park, two of the best places to visit in New Jersey.

  • Duration: 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Out & back
  • Obstacles: Steep ascent, rocky descent
  • Elevation gain: 889 ft

8. Old Croton Aqueduct, another easy backcountry hike near New York City

The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail is a lengthy, but easy route, and a fun place to go cross-country skiing or backpacking near New York City.

As part of Croton Point County Park, this out and back trail offers plenty to see, so it makes for the perfect day hiking trip from NYC. The aqueduct was used between 1837 and 1842, distributing water from the Croton River over 40 miles to Manhattan. While it’s no longer in use, it’s still an impressive sight to see in person, especially after a good rainfall.

Old Croton Aqueduct, hiking trails in new york

8. Old Croton Aqueduct, another easy backcountry hike near New York City

Besides the Old Croton Aqueduct, this route is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife spotters, so keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, wild rabbits, red-bellied woodpeckers, and other species. The trail is mostly flat and has picnic areas where you can take a break. Also, once you reach the end, you’ll be close to Sleepy Hollow, one of the best daytrips from NYC, so consider checking it out.

  • Duration: 3 hrs, 20 mins
  • Distance: 8.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Route type: Out & back
  • Obstacles: Parts of the trail aren’t well-marked
  • Elevation gain: 439 ft

9. Mount Beacon Loop, a challenging hiking trail near NYC

The Mount Beacon Loop is a more difficult route, but it’s one of the best NY hikes, so it’s worth the effort.

Start from the Mount Beacon Incline Parkway lot, then follow the red trail up the steep ascent. This is the most challenging part of the hike, but the path is more gradual on the way back down. The red trail will connect to the yellow trail, but the markings aren’t always clear, so bring your map. You’ll then link to the white trail over the brook, which leads to Rainbow Falls. With some luck, the falls won’t be dry!

Mount Beacon Loop, best hiking in new york

9. Mount Beacon Loop, a challenging hiking trail near NYC

Again, this is an excellent hike outside of NYC, but you should be in good shape to do it. Keep an eye out for various bird species, including warblers and woodpeckers, and don’t forget to admire the gorgeous views. You’ll be able to see the New York skyline from up here, and when you pass the Beacon Fire Tower, climb up for stunning panoramic views.

  • Duration: 3 hrs, 30 mins
  • Distance: 6.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Steep ascent
  • Elevation gain: 1,791 ft

10. Lake Skenonto Loop, a lovely hike near New York City to see wildlife

The Lake Skenonto Loop is another great hike near NYC and a moderately challenging 8.1-mile loop. It’s over in Harriman State Park, one of the best weekend getaways from NYC.

Lake Skenonto Loop, hiking near nyc

10. Lake Skenonto Loop, a lovely hike near New York City to see wildlife

Nature lovers will appreciate this peaceful walking trail near NYC, which is best done between April and October. It makes for a peaceful backpacking trip or day hike, although there are primitive campsites by the lake. Speaking of which, the lake views are marvelous, and it’s the perfect spot to take a break and soak in the scenery.

This is a quiet and enjoyable hike, but there are lots of snakes, so be mindful. Also, black bears have been spotted in the area, so don’t leave food lying around.

  • Duration: 3 hrs, 45 mins
  • Distance: 8.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Snakes
  • Elevation gain: 1,505 ft

11. Reeves Brook Loop, a great hike near NYC you must do

The Reeves Brook Loop is also in Harriman State Park and, is undoubtedly, one of the best hikes within 2 hours of NYC. This is a moderate hike with little elevation gain, but it’s easy to get off-course, so be careful.

Reeves Brook Loop, best hikes near new york city

11. Reeves Brook Loop, a great hike near NYC you must do

Start at the parking lot and head up the mountain, being mindful that the steep ascent requires some scrambling. I recommend doing this loop counter-clockwise, from the white trail to the blue trail to make it easier and to get better views. At the summit, you can see the New York City skyline, and the vista is tremendous, so it’s no surprise this is one of the top-rated hikes in the park.

Many consider this one of the overall best hiking trails near NYC, and you’ll see lots of waterways during the hike, including streams, waterfalls, and the brook. The descent is steep and the trail links up with other paths, so it’s easy to get lost. Again, follow the map, and you should be okay.

  • Duration: 2 hrs
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: Easy to get off-course, scrambling, steep terrain
  • Elevation gain: 872 ft

12. Staten Island Greenbelt, the best hike on NYC’s Staten Island

This last route is ideal for those who don’t want to travel far. The Staten Island Greenbelt has the best hiking in New York, with little elevation gain, a well-maintained path, and lots of scenery.

This Staten Island hike starts and ends at the Greenbelt Nature Center in Latourette Park. There is ample parking and it’s super close to Manhattan, so it’s easy to get to. The tree-lined route is kid-friendly and winds past wetlands, streams, and ponds, so it’s a wonderful little escape from the city.

Staten Island Greenbelt, hiking in nyc

12. Staten Island Greenbelt, the best hike on NYC’s Staten Island

This peaceful pocket of nature is home to all kinds of flora and fauna, including bullfrogs, salamanders, turtles, and white-tailed deer. Among the bird species here are blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, hawks, and great horned owls. The trail is open year-round, so it’s perfect for a last-minute hiking trip.

  • Duration: 1 hr, 20 mins
  • Distance: 3.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Route type: Loop
  • Obstacles: None
  • Elevation gain: 269 ft

Map of NYC hikes

That’s it for the best hikes in NYC, but one last thing I want to leave you with is a map. Use it to check out all the NYC walking trails I mentioned above and decide which ones you’d like to explore.

Also, if you’ve done any of these hiking trails in NYC, or you have any questions, leave me a comment below. I’d be happy to hear from you! Until then, happy hiking!


COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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