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Just because you live in New York City doesn’t mean that a great hike in the woods is out of the question without lots of planning and travel time. We’ve rounded up some of the best and prettiest hikes just a short trip from NYC to get you out in nature in less than 2 hours, including trails near the city in the Bronx, Westchester County and the Hudson Valley.

what are the best (and prettiest) hikes not far from NYC?

Ah, nature. As New Yorkers, we love all of our public parks – but we also know that “the great outdoors” just doesn’t feel the same when we can see a skyscraper rising in the distance. In order to really experience the natural world, we have to get out of the city – and since many of us don’t have cars (and don’t drive), that can sometimes feel like a Herculean task. But it’s not!

Fantastic hikes near New York City

Just a short trip from NYC, you’ll find spectacular hikes and stunning views.

There are many hikes that are easy to access by public transit, and they’re not as far from the city as you might think. If you’re willing to spend a scenic few hours on Metro North – and to take a short Uber on the other end, in some cases – then we have your summer escape right here. These hiking destinations provide quality exercise, gorgeous views, and best of all –summer memories you’ll treasure all year long. Here are ten fantastic hikes near New York City that don’t require a car

best hikes just a short trip from NYC

1. Mount Beacon Park

We love this hike. Not only does it provide a spectacular view of the Catskill Mountains, but it also provides an opportunity to explore the wonderful town of Beacon. Since both the town and the trailhead are reasonably close to the station, we recommend taking an early train from Grand Central, so you’ll have plenty of time to wander around after your hike. There’s shops, restaurants, and of course, Dia Beacon, which is one of the best art museums in the region. The hike itself is steep and steady, but never overly challenging – and the view from the destination of the fire tower is worth every aching step.

2. Arden Point & Glenclyffe

If you’re hoping to avoid any cars at all – or even a long walk to the trailhead – consider hiking at Arden Point & Glenclyffe. The trailhead is mere steps from the Garrison, New York train station, and the four-mile hike will take you on a scenic journey with views of the Hudson River. In about two and a half hours, you’ll end up back where you started – and you may want to make a stop at Dolly’s for a bite to eat before taking the train back to the city.

3. Van Cortland Park

Don’t want to leave the five boroughs? You don’t have to. We have some great hiking right here in the city, if you take the subway up to Bronx’s Van Cortland Park. There are many trails to choose from, and they offer a delightful range of mileages and levels of difficulty. Each route is full of surprises, including overlooks, bridges, lakes, wetlands, forests, and more. Pack a picnic, and look forward to a day exploring more than a thousand acres – right here in the city.

best and prettiest hikes a short trip from NYC, including trails near the city in the Bronx, Westchester County and the Hudson Valley

These are the prettiest places for a hike close to NYC, including trails in the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

4. Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park

Some of the hikes on this list require several hours of passive traveling, but the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park asks for only a short forty-five-minute train to Tarrytown. This is more of a walk than a hike (as you may have guessed from its name), but it provides an equally satisfying encounter with the natural world, as well as spectacular views – this time of the Manhattan skyline. The walk offers grassy lawns, growing plants, and access to the adjacent Pierson Park. And it’s only one piece of the 51-mile RiverWalk that’s in the works – so you can imagine what’s to come. It’s a short walk from the train station, and it’ll transform your day into something special.

5. Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain is one of the best-known hikes in the New York area, and it’s more accessible than you may think. Though there are several different ways to arrive by train, we think the easiest route involves a train to Peekskill, followed by a short cab ride. Once you arrive, there are many trails for you to choose from, though you may want to go with the Bear Mountain Loop Trail, which is of moderate difficulty and even allows dogs. Since this is an extremely popular hike, you’ll get to enjoy the company of your fellow hikers, as well as many appealing amenities – think boat rentals, restaurants, and even a merry-go-round. If you’re looking for the perfect summer day, Bear Mountain is the place to go.

6. Breakneck Ridge

Breakneck Ridge reopens to the public on July 1st, and we can’t wait! This fun, challenging hike is allegedly called “the most popular hike in America,” and if you’ve hiked it before, you know why. You’ll need to brave a steep, 2.8-mile climb – and prepare to haul yourself over rocks with your hands– but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with some life-changing views of the Hudson. And do you know what will not be a challenge? Transportation, since trains run directly from Grand Central.

best and prettiest hikes a short trip from NYC, including trails near the city in the Bronx, Westchester County and the Hudson Valley

There are great places for a hike just a short trip from NYC, including in the Bronx and the Hudson Valley.

7. Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park may be a slightly more complicated destination than some of the others on this list, but it’s worth the trouble. And worth taking the Path to Hoboken, followed by a train to Sloatsburg, and finally a short uber ride (or a twenty-minute walk). Once you arrive, there are many trails to choose from, but AllTrails names Reeves Brook Loop Trail as the one you should consider. And no spoilers, but if you’re someone who’s always hoping a hike will lead to a waterfall – you’re in luck.

8. Bull Hill

If you’re feeling ready for a difficult – and satisfying – hike, then take the train to Cold Spring for a chance to crack Bull Hill. Sometimes called Mount Taurus, this is a 5.4-mile hike that may take you several hours – and will treat you to some glorious sights from the mountain’s summit. And if you aren’t able to complete the full hike, there’s a shorter loop that is definitely worth your consideration. The trailhead is walking distance from the Cold Spring train station, and you’ll certainly meet some fellow hikers along the way.

9. Franny Reese State Park

A train to Poughkeepsie will bring you close to Franny Reese State Park – and a short uber ride will take you the rest of the way. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find your choice of trails, which vary in length and difficulty. Highlights include historic ruins, and an opportunity to bike as well as hike.

10. Appalachian Trail

Did you know you can take Metro North to the Appalachian Trail? You can! Every weekend, there are several trains available from Grand Central, and they involve only a short transfer in Southeast station. Once you arrive to the station – which is a mere platform, beside the trail –  there are several day hike options available, all of which offer some spectacular vistas. But keep track of the time, since there are only a few trains each weekend – if you’re not planning to camp, you don’t want to miss the last ride home.

prettiest hikes just a short trip from NYC

Those are the top picks from our New York-based staff for the best (and prettiest) hikes just a short trip from NYC, including trails near the city in the Bronx, Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. Have fun out there, dear reader.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.