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15 Must-Do Hikes near New York City

A couple hours of driving is always worth it to find the great outdoors.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

If you live in New York City, you probably already know that finding a little peace and quiet in the great outdoors can be tough. However, if you're willing to make the effort to get out of town, the rewards are more than worth it. Load up the car or even hop on the train, and you can be at any of these trailheads within a couple hours. An escape from the big city is possible, and we're here to help make it happen. Check out our favorite hikes within striking distance of New York City and hit the trail this weekend!

1. Hike the Sugarloaf Mountain and Breakneck Ridge Loop

Photo: Lucas Gashi

Pack your hammock and set yourself up for an amazing sunset over the Hudson River Valley. You'll have earned a break after hiking through varied terrain and some fun rock scrambling to reach the summit. Learn more.

2. Hike Sugarloaf Mountain

Photo: Shaun O’neill

If you want to achieve similar views as the Breakneck Ridge Loop hike but you're looking for a shorter hike, this route is only 2.5 miles and is a straight shot to Sugarloaf Mountain. Learn more.

3. Hike to Lake Canopus

Photo: Kastriot Xhakli

For an easy hike and a day spent by the water, Lake Canopus is ideal. It's a refreshing retreat in the hot summer months but is especially beautiful during the fall when the leaves start to change. Learn more.

4. Hike the Sunset Point South Beacon Mountain Loop

Photo: John Maurizi

This is a less crowded and slightly more strenuous alternative to the Breakneck Ridge Loop. Expect more beautiful views of the Hudson River Valley and fewer people on the trail. Learn more.

5. Hike to the Ninham Mountain Fire Tower

Photo: Matt Kuras

Head here at sunrise and climb the fire tower for an unbeatable morning. On a clear day, you can just make out the Catskill Mountains in the distance. Learn more.

6. Backpack to Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Camp on Mt. Beacon

Photo: Emily Hlavac Green

Load up your pack, hop on a train at Grand Central Station and 90 minutes later, you're here! This is a great option for an intermediate backpacking trip or for a long day hike. At 12 miles round trip, it'd be a great challenge! Learn more.

7. Hike the Stairway to Heaven

Photo: Catherin Elena Callari

Always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail? Well, here's a chance to tackle a section of the trail through marshlands, forests, and meadows. Learn more. 

8. Hike Storm King Mountain

Photo: Michael Martineau

This is probably the best bang-for-your-buck hike on this list. With just a few miles of hiking you'll reach breathtaking 360 degree views of the Hudson Valley below. It's easy enough that it's perfect for families with kids. Learn more.

9. Hike Mt. Taurus (Bull Hill)

Photo: Shaun O’neill

Want to bring along your pup for a hike? This is a great dog-friendly option that's relatively easy and the trailhead is close to excellent choices for your post-hike food and drinks. Learn more.

10. Hike the Appalachian Trail to Anthony’s Nose

Photo: Shaun O’neill

Here's another chance to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail and take in the sunset over the Hudson Valley and Bear Mountain. Learn more.

11. Hike Popolopen Torne

Photo: Shaun O’neill

This is a short hike with a unique opportunity to honor those who have served in the US military. Hikers who want to pay their respects bring a rock to add to the pile at the summit. 

12. Hike the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve

Photo: Khurt Williams

Located just outside of downtown Princeton, the Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve is 75 acres of lakes, creeks, wetlands, forests, and a diverse make up of native flora and fauna. Learn more.

13. Hike the Camp Smith Trail

Photo: Shaun O’neill

On this hike up Manitou Mountain, you'll find striking views around every corner. It's a bit of a strenuous hike but it's not too long at about 4 miles round trip. Learn more. 

14. Hike Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Photo: Darren Erbe

This is an amazing little slice of nature nestled into the more urban and suburban communities of Northern New Jersey. You'll find abundant wildlife, well-kept trails and a variety of different wildlife including fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, and frogs. 

15. Hike Bearfort Mountain

Photo: Michael Martineau

Sitting right on the border of New York and New Jersey, this hike is so close to the city that on a clear day you can even see the NYC skyline. Plus, there is a beautiful lake to stop and have a picnic to break up the hike. 

We'll see you on the trail!

Cover photo: Michael Martineau

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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