Fall is the perfect time of year to get outside and explore all that nature has to offer.
Leaves are changing colors. Temperatures are falling. And there’s a tangible joy and nostalgia in the air.
That makes the autumn months the perfect time to lace up those hiking boots and hit the nature trails.
While New York City is known for its bustling streets, fast-paced mentality and urban jungle, you might be surprised to know it is also home to a number of exciting hiking trails.
Just outside of the city borders lies a whole world of adventure waiting to be explored.
Mountain peaks, breathtaking wildlife, and spectacular views are waiting on the edge of the horizon. And they are only a quick train or car ride away.
Fall is the best time to fit in a few quick hiking day trips. Because you don’t have to worry about the bugs that spring has to offer or the heat that summer brings. And there’s just something nice about being able to get out of the city for a few hours or days without really leaving.
See New York City hiking trails in action this fall — and start with these NYC parks.
1. Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park is just a quick 1.5-hour drive from New York City — and it’s even accessible by train (and a quick Uber). And once you’re there, you’ll be welcomed with 200 miles of hiking trails. Follow these trails to waterfalls, cliffsides, leaf peeping and more. This park is also home to one of the most popular mountain hikes in the state — Black Mountain.
These attractions and sights nestled inside this state park range from mile-long trails to ponds and picnic areas. You can easily spend an entire day under the trees taking in everything that fall in the Northeast has to offer.
2. Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is home to one of the coolest hiking trails on this list — pun included. And that’s because Sam’s Point Preserve offers a great trail up to a variety of ice caves that are sure to cool you down after a long afternoon of hiking.
As of now, the Ice Caves Trail is open and operational. Embark on these winding and adventurous trails. Climb through crevices. Jump from edge to edge. Explore these natural formations and see a whole new side of New York State.
This hike is a bit further than the last, taking a little under two hours to make the trek. But the experience is worth it.
3. Wawayanda State Park
Wawayanda State Park is a peaceful park in New Jersey. It’s full of sprawling streams, lush greenery and plenty of fall foliage to immerse yourself in this autumn. A quick hour and a half drive is all that separates you from this quiet oasis.
Trails in Wawayanda State Park coincide with the twenty-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. So you can even make an entire Appalachian Trail trip out of this hike.
If you want something a bit more slow-paced, try out any of the other 20+ hiking trails — over 40 miles worth — inside this state park. You won’t regret the trek out to New Jersey for this one.
4. Storm King State Park
Storm King State Park is home to some of the more difficult hikes. The mountain here has a number of steep climbs and cliffs that make it a more moderate hiking destination for the common city dweller.
Storm King State Park is one of the Catskills hidden gems. It’s quiet, undisturbed and home to an arts center that makes it a destination that has something to offer people from all walks of life.
An hour and a half drive is all that separates you from this mountain hideaway. What are you waiting for?
5. Sterling Forest State Park
If you want to get in a good workout, but don’t want to rent a car for the day, head out to Sterling Forest State Park. This stretch of forest is home to part of the Appalachian Trail — and it’s only a quick ride on Metro-North away from Manhattan.
It’s one of the largest state parks in New York and is home to more than 21,000 square acres of forest. This forest refuge houses an entire ecosystem of animal and plant life. Enjoy panoramic views, bald eagle sightings and more. The second you enter the park you’ll forget all about your city woes. That’s a guarantee.
These are just a few of the many hiking trails within driving distance of New York City. But they should give you a good foundation for all of your fall hiking adventures.