Living

5 Great Fall Hikes Near New York City

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Escape the smoke, smells and crushing crowds and get closer to nature with these convenient hiking trails, just outside of New York City.

Bronx River Pathway

Location: Yonkers to Valhalla, New York

Difficulty Level: Easy

Length: 13.2 miles, one way

Travel Info: From Grand Central, take the Metro-North Harlem Line to White Plains; approximately 51 minutes.

 

Trail Highlights: Set on an expansive 807-acre reservation, the Bronx River Pathway was the first of its kind when it opened in 1925. The lengthy promenade includes three paved segments for shorter walks and smooth bike rides. The charming riverside thoroughfare is dotted with ponds and wooden footbridges, but one point of particular interest is the Concrete Plant Park where restored concrete plant structures tower over the lawn as tribute to the city’s industrial past. Picnic Spot: Fill up your bicycle basket with delicious goodies and pull over at any clearing for a picnic.

 

 

Old Croton Aqueduct

Location: Westchester County

Difficulty Level: Easy

Length: 9 miles, one way

Travel Info: From Grand Central, take the Metro-North Hudson Line to Dobbs Ferry; approximately 45 minutes.

 

Trail Highlights: History buffs will love this leisurely, level pathway, which follows the trail of the aqueduct (built between 1837 and 1842) that carried water to New York City. The aqueduct, an engineering marvel in its time, closed in 1955 but its remaining ventilators—castle-like structures that circulated fresh air over the watercourse—dot this pathway. Along the trail, you’ll stroll by historic homes built in the mid-19th century and under a railroad overpass that dates back to 1840. Picnic Spot: Picnicking is not permitted on the pathway. Make a detour off the promenade for a soul-warming bowl of New England clam chowder at The Boathouse in Ossining.

 

 

Anthony’s Nose

Location: Cortlandt Manor, New York

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Length: 2.5 miles, up-and-back

Travel Info: From Manhattan, drive north on Palisades interstate Parkway North to US-202E/US-6 E to Cortlandt Manor, approximately 1 hour.

 

Trail Highlights: The Hudson Valley, with its gorgeous foliage and artistic community, has become a playground for New Yorkers eager to get away from the city’s hubbub. To truly appreciate the peaceful landscape, hike up Anthony’s Nose, a 900-foot hill that boasts a sweeping panorama of the valley, state park, and Bear Mountain Bridge at its summit. This rocky jaunt kicks off with a fairly steep half mile but the incline tapers for an easier second half. Picnic Spot: Pack some trail-friendly sandwiches and unfurl a blanket at the spacious hilltop overlook.

 

 

Black Rock Mountain Loop

Location: Cornwall, New York

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Length: 5.2 miles, up-and-back

Travel Info: From Manhattan, drive north on Palisades Interstate Parkway North to Highlands. Take exit 18 towards US-6 W/NY-17/1-87 to continue on US-6W towards NY-293 N to Round Pond Road in West Point, New York; approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.

 

Trail Highlights: Experienced hikers (or compass-savvy newbies) will love the winding pathways of the Black Rock Mountain Loop that travels up the footpaths of its namesake mountain range. The gentle and gradual ascent totals about 1,000 feet. The hike is ever-changing, its sometimes-faint pathways curling through prairies and wooded terrain. Once you reach the summit, you’re treated to a sweeping panoramic view of the surrounding Schunemunk and Shawangunk mountain ranges. Picnic Spot: Head to the nearby town of Newburg and the greasy spoon Tony’s Newburg Lunch for a gooey patty melt dripping with Texas sauce. You’ve earned it.

 

 

Greenwood Lake Overlook

Location: Village of Greenwood Lake, New York

Difficult Level: Strenuous

Length: 4 miles return

Travel Info: From Manhattan, take the I-95 S/George Washington Bridge to NJ-4 W. Continue on NJ-208 N and merge onto 1-287 S toward Oakland Morristown/Morristown. Continue on Skyline Drive to NY-210N/Jersey Avenue; approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

Trail Highlights: Ready for a challenge? Lace up your hiking boots, grab your trekking poles and head to the Greenwood Lake Overlook trail. It’s a challenging and rocky climb, crisscrossed with overlapping trails—novices could easily get lost or turned around. But if you can navigate the trail, it’s well worth the arduous ascent. At the summit, you can bask in an unparalleled view of the nine-mile-long Greenwood Lake with the spires of New York City’s skyscrapers peeking over the horizon. As you descend, you’ll be surprised by a lake (the aptly named Surprise Lake) trailside and smack in the middle of the woods. Picnic Spot: On your drive up to Greenwood Lake, pull over in Nanuet and carbo-load on fresh-from-the-oven everything bagels at the Rockland Bakery. Grab a travel-friendly loaf of Irish soda bread for the trail, too.

 

 

 

Happy hiking!