While living in the city is filled with excitement and great things to see and do, it is always nice to get away from the hustle and bustle to connect with nature now and again. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors that are easily accessible. Here are just a few that you might want to explore.
Located just over an hour from Grand Central on the Metro-North, Breakneck Ridge offers a 4- to 5-mile hike beginning at river level and ascending approximately 1,500 feet high. Though the trail does include some strenuous areas, including requiring you to climb over some big rocks, it does offer sweeping views of the Hudson Valley at several points along the trail. On a clear day, the Manhattan skyline is visible from the trail. Other points of interest include Storm King Mountain across the river and Bannerman Castle on Pollopel Island to the north.
To reach the trail, take the Metro-North to the trailhead. Another option is to take the train to Cold Spring on a weekday and then take a cab the rest of the way. The trail does tend to get crowded on weekends.
A 2.6-mile hike that begins with a steep 500-foot rock staircase, Anthony’s Nose is a rugged ridge located near Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Highlands. After climbing the stairs, the trail is relatively flat and leads to an overlook boasting views of Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River. The trail itself can be accessed from multiple trailheads, but the easiest way to get there without a car is to take the Metro-North Hudson Line to Manitou on a weekend and then walk about 1.5 miles from the station to a trailhead on Route 9D.
Surprise Lake Loop
The 6-mile Surprise Lake Loop is a somewhat strenuous trail that passes through the Jersey Highlands to Surprise Lake. The trail begins near the New York/New Jersey border at Greenwood Lake and can be accessed by taking a two-hour ride on New Jersey Transit Bus 197 from Port Authority to the Greenwood Lake Park & Ride near to the trailhead. The trail follows the Bearfort Mountain Ridge and offers great views of Greenwood Lake and a few streams before reaching Surprise Lake at the end.
Fort Lee Historic Park
Located across the Georg Washington Bridge, Fort Lee Historic Park offers access to 356 miles of trails on the Long Path. The park is located at the bridge entrance on the New Jersey side, with the woods on top of the Palisades being a 4.7-mile hike north of the bridge. This portion of the trail passes Allison Park, Rockefeller Lookout and Greenbrook Sanctuary. Meanwhile, the Short Trail offers a hike that is closer to the water as it follows the river and passes numerous waterfront picnic areas and several docks.
Harriman State Park
Boasting thousands of miles of trails, Harriman State Park is approximately 1.8 miles from the Sloatsburg station on the NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line. One trail worth noting is a 7-mile hike on the Pine Meadow path, which takes hikers across a few brooks and up rocky ledges along the mountain ridge. The Reeves Brook trail offers a 5.4-mile hike past cascading brooks and small waterfalls, while the 8-mile Lake Skenonto Loop leads hikers over forested hills to a lake at the foot of Black Ash Mountain.