8 Awesome Hikes Within 2 Hours of NYC (No Car Required)
Look, even city gals need a break from the overcrowded subways, constant 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. Hop on a train or bus to one of these stunning hikes and you’ll be channeling your inner mountain woman in no time.
Surprise Lake Loop (1 hour, 45 minutes from NYC)
Be sure to wear waterproof shoes for this trek. 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).
How to get there: Take the 197 Warwick bus from Port Authority towards Willowbrook and get off at Union Valley Road at White Road.
Lemon Squeezer and Island Pond Loop (1 hour, 20 minutes from NYC)
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. Fun fact: This trail is a small section of the Appalachian Trail, so you might meet some serious backpackers en route.
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. (Be sure to ask for the hikers’ discount on your bus fare.)
Arden Point and Glenclyffe (1 hour, 25 minutes from NYC)
Great for history buffs, a section of this trail 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 imposing sight against the river.
How to get there: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Garrison station.
Sugarloaf Hill and Osborn Loop (1 hour, 45 minutes from NYC)
For an easy 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.
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.
Indian Rock and Wanaque Ridge Trail Loop (1 hour, 25 minutes from NYC)
If SNL’s Stefon were to recommend a hike instead of a club, this would be it: It has everything: Bright blue lakes, babbling brooks, striking outlooks and the beautifully overgrown ruins of an old gunpowder manufacturer. Oh, and did we mention the rock paintings of Indian warriors? See, it really does have something for everyone.
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.
Blue Mountain Reservation Loop (1 hour from NYC)
You’ll have to walk 12 long miles (albeit, wide, easy miles) to reach the finish, but at the end there waits a cold, crisp beer just for you. That’s right, the Peekskill Brewery sits midway between the trailhead and the Peekskill Metro-North stop, so really you have no excuse not to treat yourself to some well-earned refreshment before heading home.
How to get there: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Peekskill station and walk one mile to the trailhead.
Ken Lockwood Gorge and Columbia Trail (1 hour, 50 minutes from NYC)
Try not to get too distracted by the quaint town of High Bridge, where this trail begins—you still have 7.5 miles of gorgeous scenery to get to. Be sure to snap a pic at the gorge or let your pup wander in for a quick dip before you turn around to head home.
How to get there: Take the New Jersey Transit Raritan Valley Line to High Bridge.
Breakneck Ridge (1 hour, 40 minutes from NYC)
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. Afterward, reward yourself with lunch in nearby (adorable) Cold Spring.
How to get there: Take the Metro-North Hudson Line to the Cold Spring station and walk north on Route 9D to the trailhead.