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The Best Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails Around New York City

The weather is finally starting to get warmer and since we have been stuck inside all winter, it’s nice to spend some much needed time outside. Round up the family and take them to any of the multiple parks and trails in and around New York City. Clear your mind and breathe in some fresh air while enjoying beautiful scenic views and historic nature trails. Whether you’re a skilled hiker or just a beginner, scroll through and find the best hiking trails around New York City that will be a perfect setting to spend quality time with the family!

Looking for more activities to do with the family? Check out The Very Best Indoor Waterparks Near New York City

Manhattan

Blue Trail at Inwood Hill Park– Inwood
Payson Ave. &, Seaman Ave., New York, NY 10034
1.8 miles 

Home to the only forest on Manhattan Island, take a hike and see what the island looked like before all of the skyscrapers. Through marked scenic sites and historic highlights, you are able to learn while being active. This trail is good for all skill levels and is accessible year-round.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir – Central Park
Bridle Path, New York, NY 10128
1.7 miles

Get a great look at The Big Apple while visiting one of Central Park’s most iconic running routes. Enjoy a casual stroll or an active run while you admire the man-made lake and its historic fountain. Even though there are no mountains around, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir allows New Yorkers to escape the city life without actually leaving! Accessible year-round.

Brooklyn

Canarsie Park – Canarsie
The Blue Loop, Seaview Ave. &, E 102nd St., Brooklyn, NY 11236

A walk through Canarsie Park’s trails takes you past the active athletic fields and cricket pitches to an unparalleled natural shoreline vista. Head out on the trails of this large park to discover its wetlands, hike along a spur to find a quiet shoreline, and take in the views of Jamaica Bay and the Manhattan skyline. If you’re looking for a low-stress trail that’s a bit shorter for kiddos who aren’t crazy about a 5-mile hike, Canarsie Park is for you. The Blue Loop trail is only about a half-mile long and you’ll get to see iconic views along the way.

Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Trail – Marine Park
Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center, 3301 Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11234
1.1 miles

Being the largest park in Brooklyn allows for even more fun when it comes to Marine Park! While hiking, you are able to see both sides of the Gerritsen Creek, as well as White Island. This trail loops around the entire park, allowing you to take in all of the scenery such as the beautiful wildflowers. Families of all skill levels can come to enjoy the outdoors and maybe get involved in some bird watching along the way! Accessible year-round.

Paerdegat Basin Park – Bergen Beach
Bergen Ave. &, Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11234
0.3 miles

Paerdegat Basin Park’s upland coastal forest is a haven for wildlife and perfect for birding on the trail. Be sure to make your way to the viewpoint on the blue trail for a beautiful view of the waterfront. Both the Red and Blue trails are about 0.3 miles, making for an easy, yet incredibly scenic hike. The red trail is an easily accessible hike of mostly flat sandy terrain that is ideal for hiking along the wetland border passing black cherry trees.

Prospect Park – Prospect Park
95 Prospect Park W., Brooklyn, NY 11215
0.5-1.0 miles

It’s no surprise that this classic Brooklyn park has some of the best hiking trails in the borough. All of the trails in Prospect Park are considered to be easy, so bring your whole family along for the hike. Bonus points: bathrooms, café and trail guides are available at the Prospect Park Audubon Center. On the Lullwater trail, you’ll get to see how nature thrives in the heart of Brooklyn as you catch views of birds and other wildlife. The Midwood trail is a scenic walk through Brooklyn’s oldest remaining forest. The thirty-minute hike loops from Prospect Park’s Audubon Center through a forest filled with birds and other animals where you’ll see some of the park’s largest trees. The half-mile Peninsula trail is a home for wildlife and great fishing. Finally, the Waterfall trail has a unique experience in store for your family as you trace the source of the lake. The Fallkill Falls is the first of six waterfalls that you will see along the Park’s watercourse.

Queens

 hiking trails new york

Alley Pond Park – Fresh Meadows
Union Turnpike, Oakland Gardens, NY 11364
3.2 Miles 

Home to some of the oldest trees in the city, Alley Pond allows you to discover a fascinating wild park. The park’s loop features a wonderful forest setting that is perfect for hiking, walking, and trail running. If your child is fascinated by nature, what better way to learn then to be immersed in all of the vegetation throughout the park! Open seven days a week.

Bayswater Park – Bayswater
701 Bay 32 St, Queens, NY 11691
0.25 miles

The Bayswater Park Blue trail is roughly a quarter-mile long and passes along the shoreline of Jamaica Bay, linking the park to a trail in adjacent parkland managed by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. With awesome spots for bird watching, a mix of sandy, grassy and woody areas, a maritime forest and views of the shoreline, Bayswater Park offers a hiking experience like no other.

Cunningham Park – Fresh Meadows
Francis Lewis Boulevard and Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
3 miles

You’ll get a kick out of the gorgeous forest in Cunningham Park that features a diverse ecosystem to support abundant wildlife. The park’s Kettle Ponds feature the sounds of Spring Peepers and other species of frogs throughout the spring and summer season, so bookmark these hiking trails for your summer outings. The South Preserve trail is about 3 miles long, so keep in mind that very little ones may not be up for the distance. This is the perfect hike for a date or if you have bigger kids who are up for the challenge.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park – Corona
73rd Terrace & Park Dr. E, Queens, NY 11367

The Willow Lake hiking trails in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are a breathtaking sight. The main trail runs along the south side of the lake and over a wooden bridge. Through generous funding from the Recreational Trails Program grant, GreenerNYC, and Con-Ed, various volunteer groups installed paving stones and wooden puncheons for travel through the wetland areas on the west side of the lake near the Grand Central Parkway. The Flushing Meadows Bird Blind is a bird watcher’s paradise, and there’s a scenic viewpoint on the south-western edge of the lake just west of the bridge on the Pat Dolan Trail that offers a quiet respite on the west side of the lake and additional bird and wildlife viewing.

Forest Park – Woodhaven
Blue Trail, Forest Park Drive E., off of Woodhaven Blvd.; 1.7 miles
Orange Trail, Memorial Drive, and Forest Park Drive E.; 2.4 miles
Yellow Trail, Metropolitan Ave. & Forest Park Drive E.; 1 mile 

This agrarian delight is made up of a “knob and kettle terrain” (a series of small hills) as well as 165 acres of trees that will allow you to become one with nature during your adventure. Hikers get to choose from trails that offer a range of different lengths and natural settings. Discover the native hardwood oak-hickory forests and kettle ponds or enjoy an adventurous hike along the perimeter of the forest with your family! Accessible year-round.

Bronx

Pelham Bay Park – Baychester
Hunter Island Loop Trail, Watt Ave. &, Middletown Rd., The Bronx, NY 10465
1.8 miles 

Catch a glimpse of the 13-mile saltwater shoreline while taking an afternoon stroll. Hunter Island’s Loop Trail offers a short and easy path that makes it easy to bring the kids or your furry friends along for the adventure. While hiking, visitors have the chance to explore the interior forest and then end their journey on the shore of Orchard Beach. Accessible year-round and is good for all skill levels.

Van Cortlandt Park – Kingsbridge
Broadway and, Van Cortlandt Park S, The Bronx, NY 10471
0.06- 2 miles

Van Cortlandt offers over 20 miles of hiking trails that range in length and can accommodate the whole family. Trials such as Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and John Muir Trail offer an easy to moderate terrain that kiddos are able to tackle. Enjoy tunneling through rocks, cutting into hillsides, and embarking across bridges! You also have the opportunity to learn about the area’s geology while reading the clues along the trail! Accessible year-round.

Bronx Park – Allerton
The Bronx, NY 10467

The Bronx River Forest trails offer a break from the busy Bronx nearby. Walk through a floodplain forest on the banks of the restored Bronx River, and marvel at how clean and natural this once-polluted river has become. See native plant and animal life, and look out over the man-made Bronx River Island right in the heart of the borough, mere steps from grounds of the New York Botanical Garden. We love the Island Lookout, where you can see the Bronx River Island, a man-made island that was constructed in the mid-1900s to accommodate the Bronx River Parkway. The Burke Bridge is also a must. Built in 1949, the 45-feet long bridge spans the river, where you can spot many forest birds.

Near the City

High Rock Park – Lighthouse Hill
Gretta Moulton Trail 200 Nevada Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314; 0.75 miles
High Rock Park Lavender Trail; 0.25 miles

Known as one of the area’s most popular “Forever Wild” parks, High Rock contains five ponds and various wetlands that offer a relaxing atmosphere for hikers. Throughout each trail you are able to catch a glimpse of an array of different plants and animals such as Highbush blueberries, red maples, and wood ducks. Each trail is described as easy or moderate when it comes to the difficulty, which allows hikers of all ages to join in on the fun! Accessible year-round.

Greenbelt Conservancy – Lighthouse Hill
The Nature Center Trail, 700 Rockland Ave., Staten Island NY 10314
1 mile

Enjoy an afternoon stroll on the edge of the Nature Center grounds. Throughout your 1 mile hike, you are able to explore and observe some of the scenic views that lead you to a native fern garden that stretches out under a canopy of tall tulip, beech and birch trees. Throughout the spring, hikers can catch a glimpse of some of the friendly creatures that occupy the area such as chipmunks and songbirds. The terrain accommodates beginning hikers and a leg of the trail called the “E Trail” was designed for little ones to join in on the fun! The Greenbelt is open daily from dawn to dusk.  

 hiking trails new york

Flat Rock Brook Loop – Englewood
473 Cape May St., Englewood, NJ 07631
2 miles

Travel through our neighboring state to Englewood, New Jersey. Good for all skill levels, this scenic area lets you explore the site’s wetlands, ponds, and woodlands. Each trail is marked and colored to make it easier for hikers to follow. The trails also offer a number of activities that people can be involved in! Accessible year-round.