Where to Hike in and Around the City

by Jennifer Wheeler

 

Hit the Trails in and Around NYC!

Dog Swimming and HikingHikes are a kind of all-in-one super activity for your pup. They are the crème-de-la-crème of our recommendations for providing your pup with exercise and stimulation. Why? Because being in a natural environment not only gives your doggy the space to get a great physical work-out, but also offers her a diverse range of opportunities to do fun doggy things like rolling, sniffing, barking, and digging. You can tailor hikes to your dog’s breed and preferences, as well as to the kind of activities that you enjoy. We know it’s not easy for everyone to plan a countryside adventure, but it might be more accessible than you think. Did you know that you can take your pup for a 2-mile hike right on the island of Manhattan? Or amble through forest trails without crossing paths with another soul in the middle of Queens? Better yet, there are hundreds of hikes hundreds of hikes you can access within 1.5 hours of the city. We are going to focus on the ones accessible by train because, guess what? You can bring your pup on Metro North trains! 

Hikes Outside of the City

  • Arden Point and Glenclyffe, Garrison, NY: hop off the train and onto the trail! Easy-peasy. This beautiful 2.5 hour hike will not disappoint.  
  • Blue Mountain Reservation, Peekskill, NY: You’ll have to walk or take a cab 1.5 miles out of town, but it is worth the trek. This reservation is vast and beautiful, one of our favorite places to take pups hiking. 
  • Breakneck Ridge, East Hudson Highlands, NY: the train takes you almost directly to the trailhead, but be prepared for an intense ascent. It’s tough terrain but the views pay off. Bring packed lunches because you will not be getting off the train in town. 
  • Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain: seemingly endless trails, vistas, and lakes make-up a truly wonderful natural landscape here. You can take the train to Tuxedo, NY, but we really recommend driving here because it’s a bit of a trek from the train station.

Hikes in the City

  • Inwood Hill Park, Washington Heights: If you think this city can no longer surprise you, think again. Take the A train to the Dyckman Street Station, hit the trails of Inwood Hill, and be awed by Hudson River views, glacial potholes, and a salt marsh. You can access the trail map here. 
  • Bea & Ollie at Forest Park, 2017

    Forest Park, Queens: While it doesn’t have quite the same geological drama, you will be surprised by the surprisingly remote feel of this park. If it weren’t for the sounds of NYC traffic, you might even be tricked into thinking that the wooded trails you are walking on are part of a rural nature preserve! Take the E/F Train to Kew Gardens, or if driving park near the “My Buddy” statue. You can find a trail map here. 

Packing List

At a bare minimum, bring water and snacks for you and your pup, good hiking shoes, and a map or cell phone. Make sure your dog has been treated with an anti-tick product. If you want to go the extra mile, here are a few things we like to have with us on hikes:

  • GPS collars for our dogs so we can let them run off-leash and track them. We use Garmin.
  • Tick and bug repellent.
  • Basic first aid supplies: bandages, benadryl, hydrogen peroxide.

Transportation Guidelines

  • Subway: If your dog cannot fit on your lap or in a carrier, and is not a licensed service dog, the MTA will not allow you to bring her on the subway.
  • Taxi: not all cabs will take dogs. Play it safe and get an Uber or Lyft with dog request in advance.
  • Train: Metro North allows dogs – they don’t have to be in your lap or in a carrier (but they cannot sit on the seats). Your pup just has to be leashed and well-behaved. Get yourself to Grand Central and onto a train because your pup will thank you for giving her an incredible wilderness adventure (and you will love it too)! 

About the author

Writer, Owner at

Jennifer is a writer and graduate of NYU School of Law. Jennifer researches and writes original, science-based articles for the NYC Doggies blog, and her writing on other topics can be found in the Huffington Post. Jennifer and Ovidiu have co-authored the upcoming book, RUN FREE, DIG DEEP: HOW TO RAISE A HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND WELL-BEHAVED URBAN DOG.