Despite being one of America’s largest cities, New York City is full of natural beauty. From it’s multitude of green-spaces right in town to the trail networks and parks just a short drive away, the Big Apple has a surprising amount to offer the local or visiting outdoor enthusiast. Whether you have a few hours or a few days to explore, the city is ripe for all types of adventurers.
Here are a few spots that should be on your must-do list the next time you are looking for a little outdoor adventure in and around the big city.
Before you hit the trails, take a trip to the Flatiron District and give Paragon Sports in NYC a visit. This store has been getting people outdoors since 1908 and providing the most innovative and rad gear possible. So, it’s no surprise they sell Osprey Packs that will get you ready for any possible adventure you may have—hiking, family fun, backpacking, trail running.
Those looking to head out on their own looking to crush some serious miles would best be served by one of the packs in the the Rev series. These sleek, light and stylish packs are perfect for trail runners thanks to the new hydration reservoir. Whether you are bombing along the Appalachian Trail or cruising down the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, this pack will help keep you hydrated in the New York wilderness.
The trail running scene around the city might not get the same glory as the marathons and endless 5 and 10ks, but that won’t last for long. Trail running is becoming more popular and New York is quickly becoming a major hub for some awesome trails and routes.
Close to town, starting out in Yonkers, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail is a 22.8-mile route with historic significance and beautiful views. The mostly flat trail follows the route that brought New York City its water from 1842 to 1955 and passes by dozens of historical homes. It also offers up panoramic views of the Hudson River, and two nature preserves. If you are looking for the ultimate day of running close to the city, this is where it is at.
There are also many options for hitting the trails just outside the city. A short 40 miles from the often endless-feeling concrete jungle, live the forests of Bear Mountain State Park. The park has nearly 40 miles of trails that pass though woods, old mines, cemeteries, and lakes. Runners of any level will have a blast on the trails here because there are no bad routes.
There are multiple loops of all distances that are well-marked, so it’s easy to find something that will work for you. If you are looking to log some miles, there is a great 16-mile loop that will soothe your soul and strip away the layers of stress and city life with every passing step. Take the Appalachian Trail (AT) to Trimp Torne, bang a left on Ramapo-Dunderburg, then a right onto Cornell Mine, and back on to the AT. This route gives you the best of the area while still giving you some much needed seclusion.
Remember, Bear Mountain State Park isn’t just for the hardcore runners looking for serious distance. With miles of trails in all directions, it’s also an amazing place to introduce yourself and your family to hiking.
If Bear Mountain has been explored, trail runners and families looking for a myriad of hiking adventures need to check out Minnewaska State Park Preserve, located two hours north of downtown. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Minnewaska offers a staggering 46.8 miles of hiking trails on its 23,000 acres of land. The area rests on the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, with rocky cliffs rising over 2,000 feet above sea level. Covered by gorgeous hardwood forests, craggy bluffs and cliffs, the Gunks undoubtedly have some of the best views on the East Coast.
The trails here skirt around two lakes, climb up to ridges, cross over picturesque streams, and lead to breathtaking waterfalls tumbling from rugged, rocky ledges. Trail runners will fall in love with the 10 mile route that passes by Mossy Glen and Rainbow Falls before climbing to the panoramic vistas of Castle and Hamilton points. Families looking for an easier hike should check out the three-mile trail leading to Beacon Hill and Lake Minnewaska. With panoramic views and a chance to dip in the lake, this route is hard to pass up on a sunny weekend.
Grab your packs and find your adventure; New York City and its surrounds have a ton of trails to offer.