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The best hiking trails for NYC families

Get back to nature on these kid-friendly hiking trails for NYC families

Written by
Oliver Strand

Exploring the great outdoors in New York City offers a delightful escape from the urban hustle. The best hiking trails for NYC families offer an active option for keeping the kids entertained. Within the city limits, gems like Inwood Hill Park and the Bronx River Greenway beckon with scenic trails. These paths wind through lush greenery, providing a serene backdrop for leisurely strolls or invigorating hikes. Just beyond the city, you’ll find numerous hiking trails offering fresh air and breathtaking vistas. Whether it's a leisurely jaunt or a more challenging trek, NYC's hiking trails cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. From the rugged terrain of Staten Island's Greenbelt to the picturesque landscapes of Central Park, there's no shortage of opportunities to lace up your boots and hit the trails. For more things to do with nature-loving kids, check out nearby bike trails, consider a family-friendly weekend getaway or hit up a local farm for strawberry picking.

Hiking trails to take with kids near NYC

This is New York City? The Bronx River Greenway has transformed this waterway into an 8-mile-long trail that feels far, far away from hectic urban life. The rolling landscape is great for kids and families, and links Concrete Plant Park, Starlight Park and other upgraded urban parks. Feeling ambitious? Follow the Greenway up into Westchester where the trail continues for another 15 miles.


Located at the tippy-top of Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park has the only natural forest left on the island. A small network of trails takes you through lush landscapes that lead to the Harlem River. The trails aren't long but they can be steep, making this a great starter hike for bigger kids.


Travel time: 55 minutes by car from NYC

The second-largest park in New York state has more than 200 miles of hiking trails that cover the range from toddler-friendly strolls to serious scrambles on the Appalachian Trail. The trails leading to Pine Meadow Lake are good for kids—and some of the most popular in the park. If you want smaller crowds, consider the trails around Lake Sebago.


Travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes by car from NYC

This private preserve of 1,325 acres includes 85 miles of trails that range from kid-friendly rambles to advanced climbs that require some serious outdoor skills. Mohonk charges for access, and it ain't cheap: $35 adults, $30 ages 4-12, free ages 3 and under. The upshot? The trails are in fantastic condition, and they're never overly crowded—even on beautiful weekends.


Travel time: 1 hour by car from NYC

This is where you take the kids after they prove they can handle the trails at Harriman State Park. This mountainous terrain on the Hudson River has more than 40 miles of trails, many of them rated intermediate—perfect for older kids ready to scramble across boulders and along steep rises.


Travel time: 1 hour by car from NYC

This 432-acre preserve wends its way along ponds and marshlands, and the mostly-flat park is great for shorter legs. The 20 miles of trails includes log bridges the kids will love—be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy in the shade!


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