Being in New York City and going on a hike seem like two entirely different things. Yet, the Big Apple has a way to make things happen. NYC has some amazing urban hikes. Many of these touch the urban areas and some feel like being a world away from civilization.
For visitors and tourists, these hikes can be a great way to see the wonders of NYC. Those living in the city can enjoy its natural bounty too. I’m not talking about Central Park here. Though it is the most widely recognized urban park, it isn’t the only one worth visiting in New York. Here are some great urban hikes to enjoy in NYC.
8 Great Urban Hikes in New York City
1. The High Line
The High Line is a representation of fruitful preservation efforts and the rich history of NYC. It is also one of the most popular walks, so expect major areas to be overrun by tourists. Much of the trail and park are built along a historic freight rail along Manhattan’s west side.
The rail was scheduled for demolition but was preserved thanks to intervention by neighborhood residents. Eventually, the city decided to turn the rail into a park, which has now transformed into a landmark. Not all of The High Line is tourists and thronging crowds. You’ll also encounter serene areas with wonderful vegetation. Walking (or biking) along the rail feels pretty great.
Popular areas of the park have earned their fame. The Chelsea Thicket is a miniature forest full of interesting species including dogwood, roses, bottlebrush buckeye, and more.
2. Kazimiroff Nature Trail
This wonderful trail is full of nature’s goodies. It is also a great trail for beginner hikers to enjoy and get some experience on a trail.
Beginner hikers on this trail will often find experienced hikers enjoying the Kazimiroff Nature Trail. It’s a great place to escape the bustle of the city.
The trail is located within the bounds of Pelham Bay Park. Following this trail, you’ll encounter natural features that would seem unlike NYC. Trails in the park will take visitors to salt marshes, shady forests, shrublands, and wetlands. All of this in the Bronx!
Hiking is a popular activity and many choose to take the full 2-mile trail that goes through Hunter Island. Smaller trails are available as well. If it isn’t all hiking and biking that you want, the park has arrangements for Kayaking as well.
3. High Bridge
This is the oldest bridge in NYC. When built in 1848, it was known as Aqueduct Bridge. It has an interesting Roman aqueduct-style construction. The bridge was a very popular location for New Yorkers to visit after the construction of the walkway was completed.
With rising pollution in the river and other problems, the bridge eventually lost its charm and was closed to the public in the 1970s. Renewed interest in the bridge brought it back to life in 2015. Interestingly, the pipe that was used to bring water from the Croton river is still under the walkway.
Sitting 140 feet above the Harlem River, High Bridge connects Washington Heights in Manhattan and Highbridge in the Bronx. Access to the bridge is available from either burrow. If you want more, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail is an excellent place for biking and hiking.
4. The Ravine In Prospect Park
The sprawling Prospect Park covers 585 acres in Brooklyn. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy for the whole family, with activities for all age groups. But what really is a highlight for hikers, is the ravine in the park. It’s a beautiful sight, with some rugged terrain and a trail to hike.
You’ll also get to see Brooklyn’s only natural forest. Nethermead Arch and the Rock Arch Bridge are excellent points as well. While a celebrated destination today, the ravine was nearly gone due to erosion up until a few years ago. Then restoration efforts kicked in and the ravine was brought back to life.
5. Alley Pond Park
Located in Queens, Alley Pond Park is spread over 635 acres. The park lies on a ridge of sand and rock that formed about 15000 years ago. At that point in history, the location of this park was the southern terminus of the Minnesota Ice Sheet. This geographic activity has shaped the wonderful and pleasing features of the park.
Visitors here can enjoy walking on several trails. These paths can include forests, swamps, tidal flats, and meadows. An environmental center is located in the park to help beginners and new visitors pick their choice of route and trails.
Activities are available in the park for all age groups. It’s also home to NYC’s first public high ropes adventure course. Other activities and courses available at the park include canoeing and fishing.
6. Tribeca Boardwalk
Tribeca Boardwalk is a hidden gem in the larger Hudson River Park. The boardwalk is just 893 feet to walk, but it is quite rich in activities, views, and is a great section of the larger Greenway. The planked wooden floor of the boardwalk is surrounded by gardens and trees.
It also offers an unobstructed view of the One World Trade Center. At the end of the path, you’ll find a water park and a miniature golf course.
7. Hudson River Greenway
This is perhaps the best-known trail in the city and it touches several landmarks along its path. Hudson River Greenway is 11 miles long and stretches across Manhattan’s west side. It’s often packed with people out hiking, walking, jogging, or biking. The trail is part of the larger Manhattan Waterfront Greenway Loop.
You’ll find several interesting landmarks, railroad memorabilia, and sculptures along this path. The best-known landmark on this trail is the Little Red Lighthouse. Other sites are quite well-worth a look too. Most of the trail has several riverside cafes if you want to stop for a quick snack, or lunch.
8. Greenbelt Yellow Trail
New York City has 30,000 acres of parklands, of which 10,000 are “natural areas”. Of the five boroughs, Staten Island is the greenest with nearly one-third of its area dedicated to parks. Greenbelt Yellow Trail is a great way to experience most of these parks.
The trail runs for about 8 miles and connects several parks. Along its path, you’ll see beautiful natural areas, some wildlife, and some developed areas. The woodlands, towering trees, and lakes you’ll see along the trail present a spectacular sight.
Jushua Hodge From Deepbluemountain loved to share these 8 great urban hikes in New York.
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