LATEST PAPER
83° Good Evening
83° Good Evening
Lifestyle

Five great hiking trails at NYC's parks to visit this fall

Most New Yorkers who enjoy hiking know that there are fantastic trails to be discovered upstate, but few know there are plenty right here in the five boroughs.

The city's Urban Park Rangers recently got together to determine their favorite hikes at the city's 30,000 acres of parkland. They picked one hike in each borough, along places like the John Muir Trail in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and the Tulip Tree Trail at Alley Pond Park.

Sarah Aucoin, the director of the Urban Park Rangers, said there's "great hiking in every borough."

"You don't have to leave the city," she said.

She added that one of the best things about hiking in the city is that most trails can be accessed by subway or buses.

"The fall is also a great time to observe wildlife in our parks," she said, with plenty to see for birdwatchers and others interested in catching a glimpse of local wildlife.

Peak fall foliage in the city runs from now through November, so it's the perfect time to hit these five trails.

Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trail in Manhattan

Aucoin says the Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trail
Photo Credit: Flickr / ScotchBroom

Aucoin says the Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trail is one of her favorites. "You can get great elevation," she said. It also feels like walking through a dense forest in the middle of Manhattan. There is also, she said, a spectacular view of the Hudson River. A bonus? The park can be reached by subway, she said. Difficulty Level: Moderate; Length: 2 miles.

John Muir Trail at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx

Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx is the

Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx is the city's third-largest park. There are meadows, forests, ridges, tulip trees and many prime spots to watch birds. The John Muir Trail, accessible via at Broadway and Mosholu Avenue or Van Cortlandt Park East and Oneida Avenue, leads hikers through some of the most picturesque landscapes of the park, including near the Old Croton Aqueduct. Difficulty Level: Moderate; Length: 1.5 miles

Salt Marsh Nature Trail at Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn

Brooklyn's salt marsh is a haven for bird-watchers,
Photo Credit: NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney

Brooklyn's salt marsh is a haven for bird-watchers, with egrets, herons and geese often frequenting the landscape throughout the year. Most of the city's salt marshes have been built over for development, so it's a rare treat to visit these ecological marvels that are nurseries for fish and crabs. This mile-long trail takes hikers through a prairie of tall grass, along the shore of Gerritsen Beach toward Jamaica Bay. Difficulty Level: Easy; Length: 0.8 miles.

Greenbelt Yellow Trail on Staten Island

The Greenbelt has a number of trails worth
Photo Credit: Flickr / Artemesia V

The Greenbelt has a number of trails worth checking out, but the 8-mile Yellow Trail takes hikers across the entire landscape. Along the way, hikers can ascend Todt Hill or visit Moses' Mountain, where bald eagles are said to frequent. The trail also takes hikers through Basket Willow Swamp, a 47.8-acre area of purple willow that was planted by John Reed in the 1800s for basketmaking. Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult; Length: 8.0 miles.

Tulip Tree Trail at Alley Pond Park in Queens

Alley Pond Park is probably best known as
Photo Credit: Flickr / Eden, Janine and Jim

Alley Pond Park is probably best known as the home of the Queens Giant, a 450-year-old tulip tree that is considered the oldest living thing in the city. Follow this trail to get up close to it; it stands within an ancient forest. The Tulip Tree Trail also opens up to views of the natural salt marsh: Difficulty: Easy; Length: 0.7 miles.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Things to Do Photos & Videos