Sneak away from the winter blues with these hikes

Pre-winter view from Mount Taurus. Photo by Camille Lawhead

Pre-winter view from Mount Taurus. Photo by Camille Lawhead

Fresh air, sunshine and exercise get rare quickly during the city’s months of despair. We ourselves are so deprived off all three that we’re now effectively translucent newborn calves who have inhaled nothing but subway musk since Daylight Savings. Now that you’ve gotten so pale and mushy people think your selfies from July are of an attractive second cousin, perhaps now is the time to reunite with nature. Here are some day hikes for you reclaim your poor, atrophied muscles. All are accessible by public transit so there’s no need to hitchhike or pay a pedicab $9,000.

Breakneck Ridge and Mount Taurus
Breakneck Ridge and its southern neighbor Mount Taurus include lots of different circuits, making it easy to tailor your hike. Either hike offers great views of the Hudson River, but if you opt for Mount Taurus you get to pass through an old quarry and eventually see some farmhouse ruins. Both trailheads start off route Route 9D and are walking distance from Metro-North stations on the Hudson Line.

There are a lot of Breakneck Ridge maps but this is the easiest one to read. The yellow Wilkinson Memorial trailhead is a five-minute walk south from the Breakneck Ridge station, while the blue Cornish and white Washburn trails for Mount Taurus are a twenty-minute walk north from the Cold Spring station.

On a clear day you can see Manhattan from Mount Taurus, which will probably be easier to spot on a winter day than when this was taken . Photo by Camille Lawhead

On a clear day you can see Manhattan from Mount Taurus, which will probably be easier to spot on a winter day than when this was taken . Photo by Camille Lawhead

New Jersey Palisades
Jersey jokes aside, the Palisades offer a gorgeous view of Manhattan that’s strikingly different from what you usually see along the East River. The Palisades Park stretches along the Hudson from the George Washington Bridge north to the NJ-NY border and has a series of paths both along the cliff and near the river shore. According to the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission, Rockland Coach’s Number 9 bus leaves from the Port Authority Bus Terminals on 42nd street and the one by the George Washington Bridge. There are plenty of overlooks so you have your pick of spots to explore.

Inwood Hill Park
Yes, we know, we’re sending you to Manhattan, but Inwood Hill Park is Mannahatta centuries ago. This isn’t the place for a day-long hike and we can’t promise you’ll find a bear hibernating in the caves, but the forest is surprisingly dense here and you’ll probably feel those hills the next morning. Take the A train to Inwood-207 St and enter the park along Seaman or Payson Ave.

Bethpage State Park
Believe it or not, Long Island has nature. Bethpage State Park includes hiking and bicycle trails that are accessible by bus. Take the Long Island Railroad to Hicksville and take the N81 to Bethpage Community Park on Cherry Avenue.  It’s a 15 minute walk along Cherry Avenue, which turns into Broadway and ends at the a trailhead.

2 Comment

  • What about the Staten Island Greenbelt? Urban history AND nature.

  • word up

    Nice list!!

    …Bethpage State Park is great for mountain biking also…there’s lots of great trails there…used to go there a lot after school.
    LIRR Bethpage stop is about a mile away too.