Top 13 Kid-Friendly and Easy Hiking Trails in New York and Beyond This Spring

kid-friendly hiking trails

Kid-Friendly and Easy Hiking Trails in New York and Beyond

With Spring rolling back around, it might be time to take advantage of the generous change in weather and checkout some easy New York hiking trails. So take a trip with your family at these easy and kid-friendly hiking trails ranging from 1-3 miles. Some are close to home within Central Park and some are a bit more of a drive. Whatever adventure you want to go on, and however challenging you want to make, you can find the best options on this list.

If you want to explore parks with your family but have special needs to consider, checkout this list of Playgrounds for Kids with Special Needs in New York.

Greenbelt Conservancy – Staten Island, NY

Address: 700 Rockland Avenue, Staten Island NY 10314

Recommended Trail: Nature Center Trail, 1 mile

Like a lot of the parks on this list, there’s a lot of trails worth adventuring on, but the Nature Center Trail is the one best suited for young hikers. A lot of the park’s programs have been canceled due to Covid, but supposedly they’re being reinstated April 29, so be on the lookout for more information on that. Until then, they still allow solitary hikes with proper social distancing. 

Pelham Bay ParkBronx, NY

Address: Middletown Road & Stadium Avenue, NY 10465

Recommended Trail: Kazimiroff Nature Trail, 1.2 miles

This trial is a hidden gem, and being family-friendly is there trademark. Whether you’re a family that loves to hike together or a family that wants to start getting into it, you should visit this park and explore together.

Storm King State ParkCornwall-on-Hudson, NY

Address: Mountain Road, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520

Recommended Trail: North Point Summit, 1.3 miles

Price: Varies by number of people in car

Explore the mountain as safely as possible with this easy 1.3 mile trail. You get all the breathtaking views without any of the difficulty of climbing a mountain so the whole family, no matter their limitations, can enjoy the experience. Storm King is requiring ticket reservation at this time so remember that before you trek on out there.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir – Central Park, NY

Address: Official start is at E 90th St, New York, NY 10128

Recommended Trial: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Running Path, 1.7 miles

A nice and easy loop in New York’s most famous park. Fit for all skill levels, it provides a beautiful view of the reservoir for which the path is named. If you do not have the opportunity to get out of the city but still want to get some exercise with your family, you cannot go wrong with the convenience the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Running Path provides.

New York Botanical Garden – Bronx, NY

Address: 419 Botanical Square S, The Bronx, NY 10458

Recommended Trail: The whole garden! 1.8 miles

Price: $35/adult, $32/student, $15 children 2-12

The New York Botanical Garden has been going strong, hosting lots of different activities – both online and in person. More suited for strolling than for hiking, its beauty is undeniable and easily worth a trip for the whole family. Make sure you reserve a ticket before you go as they are very strict on the number of people allowed in at this time.

Tenafly Nature Center Red, Yellow and White Trail Loop – Tenafly, NJ

Address: 313 Hudson Ave, Tenafly, NJ 07670

Recommended Trail: Red, Yellow and White Trail Loop, 2 miles

Travel right outside of the city and get this lost in nature. Tenafly has some fairly popular trails. Even though it’s a bit of a hike to get there, it’s worth it for the two mile loop of land free from the limitations of city regulation. Though technically not part of the easy New York hiking trails, it earns a spot on this list because of its proximity and its quality.

 

A wooden bridge found at Flat Rock Brook. The bridge crosses over a creek
Photo via Flat Rock Brook

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center – Englewood, NJ

Address: 473 Cape May St, Englewood, NJ 07631

Recommended Trail: Flat Rock Brook Loop Trail, 2 miles

This trail is open to all skill levels, but be warned there can be some trying changes in elevation. Other than that it’s a perfectly pleasant hike and the Nature Center even hosts activities and camps, which you can check on their website for. Yet again, though not officially part of the easy New York hiking trails, once you get out there you’ll see why it earns a spot on this list.

Black Creek Preserve – Esopus, NY

Address: Winding Brook Road, Esopus, NY 12429

Recommended Trail: Yellow, Red, and Blue Trail, 2 miles

Despite there being a steep hill in the very beginning, it’s actually a pretty kid-friendly hike with lots of sights. There’s endangered species and the blueback herrings and alewives travel to Black Creek to deposit their eggs. If you’re even lucky, you could see a bald eagle! Once you get out of the city, it’s a little less than a two hour drive, so make sure you plan accordingly. 

Spook Rock via Gory Brook and Witch’s Spring Trail – Sleepy Hollow, NY

Address: Tarrytown New York, Sleepy Hollow Rd, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Recommended Trail: With’s Spring Trail, 2 miles

Unsurprisingly, this path plays up the spookiness of being in Sleepy Hollow. On this hike you can explore the lore of Washington Irving’s writings and even come across a witch’s shelter. It’s still at an okay skill level but a bit more of a moderate hike than the easier ones listed before.

Tibbetts Brook Park Loop Trail – Yonkers, NY

Address: 322 Yonkers Ave, Yonkers, NY 10701

Recommended Trail: Loop Trail, 2.2 miles

Price: $10 parking without pass

If you want a bit of a longer hike without having to travel far, then Tibbetts Brook Park has a wonderful trail for you. Though this park has a lot to offer with its bathhouse and aquatic complex, during the pandemic a leisurely but lengthy walk is always appreciated.

Jack Harrington and White Plains Greenway – White Plains, NY

Address: 33 Gedney Way, White Plains, NY 10605

Recommended Trail: Jack Harrington and White Plains Greenway ,2.5 miles

This path follows a railway, so it’s a simple straight shot. An easy there-and-back-again where its rudimentary structure is the appeal. You can even bring your dog with you, so long as you keep it on the leash. It’s not the most exciting park on this list, but if you are looking to try something new, then this is an appealing recommendation.

Croton Gorge Park – Cortlandt, NY

Address: 35 Yorktown Rd, Cortlandt, NY 10520

Recommended Trail: Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, 26.5 miles

Price: $10 parking without pass

Croton Gorge Park is a sprawling 97 acres, so there’s plenty to explore and hike on. Marvel at the dam and spillway via the trail with direct access to New York State’s Old Croton Aqueduct. Obviously you don’t have to walk the whole 26.5 miles to enjoy it as every fraction of the route is gorgeous. It’s a pristine blend of natural beauty and human infrastructure… not to mention a great photo-op. 

Harriman State ParkSloatsburg, NY

Address: 54 Seven Lakes Dr, Sloatsburg, NY 10974

Recommended Trail: Arden-Surebridge Trail, 3 miles

Harriman State Park has lots of trails for hikers of all skill levels. The recommended Arden Surebridge Trail is three miles which might be pushing it for the little kids. But for those that are filled with energy, it’s still an easy hike. If you don’t decide on using this one, check out Harriman’s other numerous trails.

And that’s the list of kid-friendly and easy New York hiking trails! Obviously there’s fun parks all around the state — some with trails and some just pleasant to peruse. The important thing is that you and your family go outside and have fun together. These are just some options that I hope you’ll consider!

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