Concrete Meets Jungle-My Favorite Nature Hikes Near NYC
When people think of NYC, the last thing that comes to mind is nature, mountains, incredible hikes and quaint small towns.
What most don't know is that you can find all of that, and more just a train ride away.
And the best part? You don't even need a car! Just hop on Metro North and you've got yourself a day trip to some of the coolest hikes and towns all within less than two hours away.
And, let's face it the city's campaign is not NYCGO for nothing- the city is truly GO GO GO. From traffic, to subways, to meetings, emails, deadlines and endless madness, we can all use a little getaway to reset our mind, bodies & get some great outdoor fitness in.
And, you'll get some sick views of the Hudson Valley on the way too!
Here are my top picks for amazing hikes, just a few train stops away:
If you want to take it easy, or truly intense, Mount Beacon is perfect! There are tons of trails and you can either make it super difficult like I did and climb 1,000 vertical feet! There are some stairs to help you get started and then you'll hike some steep rocks to get to the first overlook which is what's left of an old Casino and railway ruins. These super dope ruins that have since then been graffitied, which I think adds to the appeal.
I didn't hop on a train for nearly two hours for nothing, so I was going ALL THE WAY UP.
And, once you finally reach the top, you'll find a beautiful, old fire tower, which you can of course, climb up 500 vertical feet. The stairs are steep up the tower, but as long as you don't look down, once you get to the top, it's magical. You 'll have views of the Beacon Reservoir and Catskills.
Once you're done here, you can keep going and continue the 7 miles, but that was enough for me to build up a huge appetite! Total time to get up was 2.5 hours, because breaks, photoshoots and whatnot! But the hike down took less than an hour. It's 4.4 mile hike roundtrip! If you want to complete your day trip, head into town and hit up Main Street- there are tons of charming stores, restaurants and cute places to see.
How to get there:
Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Beacon station. The trailhead is approximately 1.5 miles from the train station. You can warm up, or take an Uber.
They don't call it Breakneck for nothing. You could indeed break many things! The hike is dangerous, but it is by far, my favorite hike in the NY region so far. It's a super popular spot for hikers, which is understandable. Its challenging and has the absolute best overlooks!
It's right on the Hudson River between Beacon and Cold Spring and the 4 mile hike is pretty what feels like hours of a very steep and rocky climb. At it's highest, you'll reach 1,260 feet, so this is definitely not a hike for beginners. But once you reach the top, the views are spectacular. You'll see the Hudson River and Highlands, including Bannerman Castle. It took about 4 hours round trip.
How to get there: Take Metro-North and on the weekend, the train stops at the trailhead. Or you can also get off on Cold Spring and take an Uber.
Over 4 miles of awesome views, unique trails and stone tower, my only complaint for Bear Mountain, was that we walked from the train to the beginning of the hike, which literally drained me. Do yourself a favor a call an Uber. The hike is intense and steep, but on a clear day, you can see NYC in all it's glory. Because it's on the West side of the Hudson River, it offers some of the most wide-open panoramic views in the Hudson Valley
There is so much to do on Bear Mountain, aside from the hike. There are cute cabins you can rent and camp in, tons of kayaking and a lake and river for fishing access, there's even a Museums and Zoo and tons of areas to bike. You can absolutely make this one a weekend getaway and rent a cabin and camp out. There is simply so much to do!
How to get there: Take the Hudson line to Peekskill station for about 45mins and save your energy for the hike by taking a 15 minute Uber to the mountain.
Part of Hudson Highlands State Park, this is the easiest and quickest to get to from NYC. A little over 3.5 miles, the hike (which isn't a hill at all, it is indeed a mountain) will showcase great views of the Hudson Valley. It's a great hike year round, but the Fall is a great time to see the leaves changing and visit the quaint town of Cold Spring. Other nearby hikes are Little Stony Point.
How to get there: Take Metro-North and exit on Cold Spring. It's a short walk to the trailhead and you'll get to see the cute town of Cold Spring.
Don't forget to pack:
Plenty of water! Canteens are the best so your water stays cold!
Gatorade for that sugar you need when you start crashing!
Protein bars in case you get hungry!
Toilet paper. Yes, I've drank too much water and had to experience Mother Nature in all her glory. Nothing like an al fresco toilet!
For more information on hikes near NYC, visit https://www.alltrails.com/us/new-york