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7 Recommended Hiking Trails for Fall Foliage in NYC

Nature's spectacular show of fall colors is here, and you don't need to head Upstate to see it! With 300 miles of nature trails, NYC's parks offer some of the best places to forest bathe in autumn's kaleidoscope of colors (minus the pricey travel expenses). So put on your hiking shoes, bring water, pack a light snack and head into the woods to enjoy leaf-peeping right here in NYC—for free! 

Here are our recommended trails for this fall:

Kazimiroff Trail at Hunter Island in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx


Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

If you're a fan of seeing the gradual changing colors of the leaves, frequent the shorelines of Pelham Bay Park. Venture out on the Kazimiroff Trail to Hunter Island, a 189-acre nature sanctuary with towering Norway spruces, white pines, and the park's oldest oak trees. Take this wooden footpath out to the shoreline to take in breathtaking views of the bay. Then, hop on over to the beautiful colors of the Twin Island Preserve. View a map of Pelham Bay Park

Peninsula to Lookout Hill at Prospect Park, Brooklyn


Photo by Elizabeth Keegin Colley, courtesy of Prospect Park Alliance

Explore the vibrant fall colors of Prospect Park! Start out from Peninsula to see the bright red leaves of the horsechestnut trees. Then, stroll along the picture-worthy views of the lakeside to Lookout Hill, one of the highest points in Brooklyn, for a panoramic view of the park's kaleidoscope of fall colors. View a map of Prospect Park

Blue Trail at Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan


Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

There's no wrong place to go leaf-peeping at Inwood Hill Park, home to Manhattan's last remaining natural forest. But, if it's your first time here in the fall, go for the blue trail. This moderate trail is perfect for those looking for a long hike on paved paths. You'll pass glacial potholes, historic sites, and a scenic view of Muscoto Marsh and the Henry Hudson Bridge on your adventure through the woods. An initial incline pays off with lovely views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades at the Overlook Meadow. View the Inwood Hill Park trail map

Tulip Tree Trail at Alley Pond Park, Queens


Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The Tulip Tree Trail at Alley Pond Park winds through a native hardwood forest of oak-hickory and tulip trees, where you'll find the Alley Pond Giant -- the oldest living thing in NYC! Head north on the trail to Oakland Lake for a leisure stroll around this cherished neighborhood beauty worth seeing in the fall. View a map of the Alley Pond Park Trail Map

Blue Trail at Forest Park, Queens


Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The “forest” part of Forest Park is the largest continuous oak forest in the entire borough! Head deep into the woods on the blue trail to explore it, then exit the trail near Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South to see the historic pine grove! View the Forest Park Trail Map

Clove Lakes Park Trail, Staten Island


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Clove Lakes Park is filled with walking paths, and you can't go wrong with picking one and taking off. Stroll pass the park's scenic valley lakes, ascend through wooded hills, pause along its picturesque bridges, and visit Staten Island's largest living thing -- a tulip tree

Greenbelt "Heyerdahl Hill" Hike, Staten Island


Photo courtesy of the Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy

This natural treasure in the heart of Staten Island has some miles of trails running along the crest of the Serpentine Ridge and winding through one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. You'll see oak, beech, and tulip trees on this three-mile loop recommended by the Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy. Begin at Greenbelt Nature Center (pick up a free trail map and meet a naturalist). Use the Nature Center Trail heading in a westerly direction, then connect to the Yellow Trail toward Heyerdahl Hill, which circles back to the Blue Trail and the nature center. View a map of the Greenbelt

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