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The best kid-friendly hiking trails near NYC

Families and kids of all ages will love getting back to nature on these hiking trails near NYC

Written by
Oliver Strand
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Looking to keep the kids entertained and burning energy? Not a problem in New York. There are so many things to do with kids in NYC to keep them occupied, from a dizzying array of playgrounds to kid-friendly museums and attractions to bike trails that are fun for the whole gang. It’s easy to escape the city too, by taking a quick day trip or a family-friendly weekend getaway. If you want to add a little nature to the mix, there are a slew of hiking trails near NYC that kids and adults will love.

Just beyond our towering skyscrapers, not far from the city, you’ll find beautiful hiking trails that offer fresh air and a beautiful change of scenery. There are even hiking trails within the city — look no further than Inwood Hill Park or the Bronx River Greenway. When you’re looking for an active, inspiring activity for the whole family, these hiking trails near NYC are just the thing. For more family-friendly activities starring Mother Nature, check out the best spots for strawberry picking and cherry picking in NYC.

Hiking Trails 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.

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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.

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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: 45 minutes by car from NYC

This gem of a park includes 5 kid-friendly trails that range from an easy 3/4-mile stroll perfect for toddlers to a gentle 3-mile loop. The park is free, but there is a $5 vehicle fee for New Jersey residents, $10 for non-residents.

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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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