5 Hiking Trails In New York City To Check Out This Fall
New York City is not just a concrete jungle. With nearly 30,000 acres of parkland, over 10,000 acres of New York City is composed of natural forest, woodland, freshwater wetland and salt marsh ecosystems—perfect for an autumn hike and checking out the spectacular colors of NYC’s fall foliage.
Find out about fall foliage tours and events on our fall foliage events page. To find fall foliage hikes led by NYC Parks park rangers, visit our Urban Park Rangers page.Those wanting to set out on their own can check out our complete list of hiking trails of all difficulty levels citywide. Be sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen and wear layered clothing.
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Inwood Hill Park Hiking Trail
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Length: 2 miles
Take a step back in time and imagine Manhattan as a forest grove of tulip trees, oaks, and maples. Inwood Hill Park’s marked scenic sites or historic highlights trail will lead you to the top of the hill, where the park’s oldest trees, two cottonwoods planted before the park was established, still live. Trails begin in the Northwest section of the park.
John Muir Trail
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Length: 1.5 miles
Travel through three ecologically distinct forests in the Bronx on the only trail in Van Cortlandt Park to traverse the park from east to west. The trail will lead you through the park’s Northeast Forest, home to red oak, sweetgum, and tulip trees, as well as a frog-filled marsh; the Croton Woods and its sugar maple and hickory trees, as well as the Old Croton Aqueduct; and the hilly Northwest Forest, home to stately tulip, oak, and hickory trees. Enter the trail at Broadway & Mosholu Avenue or Van Cortlandt Park East & Oneida Avenue.
Salt Marsh Nature Trail
Difficulty Level: Easy
Length: 0.8 miles
The first half of this mile-long trail in Brooklyn follows the shore of Gerritsen Beach, which empties into Jamaica Bay. From the trail’s boardwalk and viewing platforms you can observe the birdlife for which the park is famous, including the herons, egrets, ducks, and geese that frequent the marsh throughout the year. The trail’s second leg winds through a prairie of tall grass, where you can sometimes spot cottontail rabbits and ring-necked pheasants. Comfort stations and maps are available inside the Salt Marsh Nature Center. Enter behind the Salt Marsh Nature Center, located near the intersection of East 33rd Street and Avenue U.
Greenbelt Yellow Trail (Southwest Trailhead)
Length: 8.0 miles
This Staten Island trail traverses the entire Greenbelt from its Northeast corner in the community of Todt Hill to its Southwest corner in New Springville. Access Moses’ Mountain at Rockland Avenue and Manor Road behind the bus stop – a great place to spot bald eagles! The trail can be accessed from LaTourette Park and Golf Course at Richmond Avenue and Forest Hill Road.
Tulip Tree Trail
Length: 0.7 miles
This trail in Alley Pond Park in Queens winds through a native hardwood forest of oak-hickory, tulip trees and kettle ponds. The north end of the park boasts beautiful views of the natural salt marsh. Entrance is at Cloverdale Boulevard’s east entrance.