Look, even city folks need a break from the overcrowded subways, relentless traffic noise and tempting smells coming from those Nuts 4 Nuts carts on every corner. Luckily, you don’t have to own a car (or even dust off that Zipcar membership) to escape to the great outdoors and find the best hiking near NYC. Simply hop on a train or bus to one of these 15 stunning hikes and you’ll be channeling your inner mountain woman in no time.

RELATED: Your Ultimate Car Camping Checklist: Everything You Need (to Pack & Know) Before You Head Out

1. Van Courtland Park (Bronx, NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Easy difficulty, right in NYC, multiple trail options
  • How to Get There: Take the 1 subway line to Van Courtland Park-242 St
  • Hike Length: 1.5 miles, 1 hour 30 minutes
Turns out you don’t actually have to leave NYC to get some fun, easy hiking in. Van Courtland Park in the Bronx has multiple trails to choose from, and even though Central Park and Prospect Park are remarkable green spaces, this one feels like you’re really getting out of the bustling city. The John Muir Trail is best for those looking for a challenge and traverses the park from east to west, moving through three ecologically distinct forest along the way. All the trails are connected, so you can also attempt to hit them all in one day with a 9.9-mile super-trail through the park.

Learn more

2. Long Path and Shore Loop (1 hour, 10 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs welcome on a leash, views of the water and stone monuments to explore
  • How to Get There: Take a Rockland Coaches bus from Port Authority toward New City and get off at Rt 9W & Closter Dock Rd. Walk 1 mile to the trailhead
  • Hike Length: 6 miles, 2 hours 20 minutes
This popular loop in New Jersey goes up along the Hudson with tons of stunning views. The first half is fairly easy, but there is a steep staircase about halfway through to get up to the second half of the trail. The path then loops back a little further into the woods where you’ll find a monument dedicated to the Women’s Federation. Pro tip: If you do the loop backwards that dramatic incline becomes a decline, making this a bit easier to complete.

Learn more

3. Lemon Squeezer and Island Pond Loop (1 hour, 20 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs welcome on a leash, part of the Appalachian Trail
  • How to Get There: Take the ShortLine Bus toward Southfields from Port Authority. Ask the bus driver to let you off at Arden Valley Road next to a "Welcome to Harriman State Park" sign (and bee sure to ask for the hikers’ discount on your bus fare)
  • Hike Length: 8 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes
With a name like Lemon Squeezer, how could you not want to try this delightful hike? The name comes from a tight rock formation you’ll pass through before reaching Island Pond, a perfect place to stop for lunch or a rest in the sun. If you wanted to make this trip a little shorter, the pond makes for a good turnaround point clocking in at 4 miles round trip and about half the time as the full loop. Fun fact: This route is actually a small section of the Appalachian Trail, so you might meet some serious backpackers along the way.

Learn more

4. Lake Skenonto (1 hour, 20 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs not allowed
  • How to Get There: Take the ShortLine Hudson bus from Port Authority to Rt 17 & Liberty Road, Tuxedo. Walk a little over half a mile to the Ramapo Dunderberg trailhead
  • Hike Length: 1 miles, 3 hours 45 minutes
The hike to the lake is just over 3 miles, if you wanted to do a shorter out-and-back route that marks a great place to turn around. But hiking to the opposite end and all the way around Lake Skenonto might afford you a bit more separation from any crowds and some quieter lunch spots. Either way, you’ll get most of the elevation out of the way at the very beginning of the trail so you can stroll more easily through the rest with frequent photo breaks to snap pics of interesting rock formations and far-reaching views between the trees.

Learn more

5. Ramapo Lake Cannonball Loop Trail (1 hour, 25 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Easy difficulty, varied views, multiple hikes available from the same trailhead, dogs not allowed
  • How to Get There: Take the 197 Warwick bus from Port Authority toward Willowbrook and get off at Ringwood Avenue at Burnside Place. Walk 15 minutes through pretty suburbs to reach the trailhead at Back Beach Park
  • Hike Length: 6 miles, 2 hours 10 minutes
This hike has so much to offer—bright blue lakes, babbling brooks, striking outlooks, the beautifully overgrown ruins of an old gunpowder manufacturer. There’s very little elevation gain, and the trail is fairly wide, making this a great option for larger groups or friends who are only just getting into hiking. If you’re looking for something more challenging, however, the Wanaque Ridge Trail starts at the same trailhead, is about the same distance and time estimate, but climbs up along a ridge for a more moderate difficulty with even more stunning views.

Learn more

6. Arden Point and Glenclyffe (1 hour, 25 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Easy difficulty, great for picnics, dogs welcome on a leash
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Garrison station
  • Hike Length: 8 miles, 1 hour 45 minutes
Great for history buffs, this trail includes a section that follows a road Benedict Arnold used to escape during the Revolutionary War. As you wind along the Hudson, you’ll be able to spot The Thayer Hotel at West Point, whose architecture makes an for imposing sight against the river. There are also multiple bridges to cross and plenty of spaces along the water or on fields further inland to stop for a picnic. We highly recommend this for less experienced hikers, children or groups looking for an easy effort outside the city.

Learn more

7. Claudius Smith’s Den (1 hour, 25 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs welcome on a leash, beautiful vistas
  • How to Get There: Take the PATH from 33 Street toward Hoboken. At Hoboken, switch to the NJ Transit Port Jervis Line and go five stops to Tuxedo
  • Hike Length: 9 miles, 3 hours 15 minutes
This moderately difficult trail travels over and past multiple rock formations with a beautiful vista at about the halfway point. It then loops back around with a bit more elevation before bringing you back down through the quiet, peaceful woods and past trickling waterfalls and spooky caves to your train in Tuxedo. Of course, there are plenty of great lookouts to stop at along the way and you could always shorten the hike by turning it into an out and back.

Learn more

8. Bull Hill Full Loop (1 hour, 40 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs welcome on a leash, lots of vista viewpoints
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro North Hudson Line from Grand Central to Cold Spring, then walk 1 mile to the trailhead
  • Hike Length: 4 miles, 3 hours 10 minutes
There is almost 1,400 feet of elevation gained over the course of this trail, and the climb up is definitely steeper than the stroll back down—unless you do the loop backwards, that is. (You can also walk just under 2 miles to the top of the hill and turn around for a slightly shorter trek.) But your efforts will be well rewarded with beautiful views from the top of Bull Hill, including a peek at the NYC skyline if the day is clear enough, and lots of waterfalls and wildflowers along the route. And if you find yourself with spare time post hike, be sure to check out the town of Cold Spring and stop in at one of many cute shops for a snack or cold, refreshing drink.

Learn more

9. Blue Mountain Summit Loop (1 hour, 40 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, mountain biking allowed, dogs welcome on a leash
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Peekskill station and walk 1.7 miles to the trailhead
  • Hike Length: 3 miles, 3 hours 5 minutes
Although hikers and cyclists must share this 6.3-mile loop, the trail is fairly wide in most places and there isn’t a ton of elevation, so you needn’t fret about a potential high-speed downhill crash between parties. Between the length and the rolling hills, you’ll feel like you got a good workout in, but if you want something a bit easier, but no less beautiful, try the Twin Summits Trail which is about half the distance and time and starts from the same trailhead. Oh, and don’t forget to stop off at the Peekskill Brewery, which sits midway between the trailhead and the Peekskill Metro-North stop, on your way home for a refreshing post-hike beer and some snacks.

Learn more

10. Breakneck Ridge (1 hour, 40 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Hard difficulty, multiple routes to fit time available, dogs welcome on a leash
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Cold Spring station and walk north on Route 9D to the trailhead
  • Hike Length: 2 miles, 2 hours 8 minutes
Although you shouldn’t let the name scare you, this isn’t a hike for beginners. It starts with a 20- to 30-minute steep rock scramble, but the stunning views of the Hudson are worth the effort. Once you get over that hump, the rest of the trail is relatively easy, with a few more steep sections and striking panoramas that are guaranteed to bring in the Instagram likes. You can also choose between three different routes to make the loop longer or shorter, depending on how much time you have, and there is a volunteer desk set up at the trailhead with information and free maps. After your hike, be sure to reward yourself with lunch in nearby Cold Spring, which has lots of cute sandwich and coffee shops.

Learn more

11. Sugarloaf Hill and Osborn Loop (1 hour, 45 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, varied views, dogs welcome on a leash
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Garrison station. A trail leads from the southern end of the parking lot to the trailhead of the hike
  • Hike Length: 9 miles, 1 hour 35 minutes
For an moderate day hike punctuated with views of the Hudson and historic landmarks, you really can’t do much better than Sugarloaf Hill. This trail and the Osborn Loop offshoot are perfect for strolling with friends, including your trusty sidekick (it’s dog-friendly). Stop for a snack at the gazebo before finishing along an old carriage road. If you’re so inclined, there is also a turn to branch off and onto the Appalachian Trail for a stretch before looping back toward the train station.

Learn more

12. Bearfort Ridge and Surprise Lake Loop (1 hour, 45 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate-Hard difficulty, lake views, dogs welcome on a leash
  • How to Get There: Take the 197 Warwick bus from Port Authority towards Willowbrook and get off at Union Valley Road at White Road
  • Hike Length: 8 miles, 4 hours 10 minutes
Be sure to wear waterproof shoes for this trek, as the trail can get muddy, and you’ll cross over lots of little streams. The first half of the loop has a few steep ups and downs, but the return trip is much easier. Plus, halfway through you’ll come across (you guessed it) a lake that comes into view quite suddenly (hence the name). Note: Although this trail is marked as moderate, it’s definitely a challenging route so we don’t suggest it for beginners or those looking for an easy stroll.

Learn more

13. North Beacon Mountain and DAR Monument via Casino Trail (2 hours, 20 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs allowed on a leash, ruins to explore
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro North Hudson Line from Grand Central to Beacon. Monday through Saturday there is a hiker shuttle that leaves the train station every 30 or so minutes to drive you about 15 minutes to the trailhead. On Sundays you can take the Duchess Country G bus toward Route 376 & CR 77. Get off at Route 9D (Wolcott Ave)
  • Hike Length: 7 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes
This popular hike has a lot to offer with far-reaching views, ruins and monuments to explore. The trail is well-worn and easy to follow, and there is a steady incline all the way up to the top before you turn around. The trail is fairly popular, but many folks hike to the casino and railhouse ruins about one mile in and then turn around. If you go past the one-mile mark, you’ll reach the true summit of North Beacon with even more to explore, including a radio tower and DAR monument.

Learn more

14. South Beacon Mountain via Casino Trail (2 hours, 20 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Moderate difficulty, dogs allowed on a leash, mountain biking allowed
  • How to Get There: Take the Metro North Hudson Line from Grand Central to Beacon. Monday through Saturday there is a hiker shuttle that leaves the train station every 30 or so minutes to drive you about 15 minutes to the trailhead. On Sundays you can take the Duchess Country G bus toward Route 376 & CR 77. Get off at Route 9D (Wolcott Ave)
  • Hike Length: 7 miles, 2 hours 25 minutes
If you’ve tried North Beacon Mountain, why not try South Beacon next? It’s ever so slightly higher than its twin to the north, and in fact follows the same trail for the first section before branching off for the summit. If you have time, you could even do both in one day. The South summit is typically a more popular route than the North, so be prepared to run into multiple other hikers and maybe even some ambitious mountain bikers.

Learn more

15. Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail (1 hour, 20 minutes from NYC)

  • Why We Recommend It: Very hard difficulty, great for hard training efforts, varied terrain
  • How to Get There: Take NJ Transit from Penn Station to Secaucus Junction, then transfer to the Main/Bergen County Line toward Suffern. Get off at the Suffern station and walk about half a mile to the trailhead
  • Hike Length: 2 miles, 12 hours 50 minutes
OK, so this one isn’t the most realistic day hike. But for anyone training for a backpacking trip, mountain climbing excursion or even just the NYC Marathon, this extra-long hike might just be a great way to shake up your training. You could also turn this point-to-point hike into an out-and-back to fit whatever time you have available. Just be sure to wear real hiking shoes with plenty of traction as the trail winds up and down with varied terrain all along the 23.2 miles.

Learn more

RELATED: The 34 Best Outdoor Brunch Spots in NYC

From Around The Web