In this second of a two-part series, we will explore some of the best outdoor spaces to explore in the NYC area during the fall.
Fort Lee Historic Park
For Lee Historic Park offers a nice hike starting across the George Washington Bridge. From Fort Lee, hiking to the woods on the top of the Palisades offers some nice points of interest. These include Rockefeller Lookout, Allison Park and Greenbrook Sanctuary. Shore Trail offers a hike that is closer to the water as it follows the river and passes several docks and waterfront picnic areas.
Harriman State Park
While Harriman State Park boasts thousands of mile of trails, the two most scenic options can be reached from a trailhead located at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center. The first is a 7-mile trail that passes through the Pine Meadow path, up rocky ledges, across a few brooks and along the mountain ridge along the edge of Pine Meadow Lake. The other is a 5.4-mile hike that follows the Reeves Brook trail and offers cascading brooks along with small waterfalls.
A longer 8-mile trail is also located just a short distance from the NJ Transit Tuxedo Station, which is one hour from Penn Station. This trail, called the Lake Skenonto Loop, passes over forested hills before reaching a lake located at the foot of the Black Ash Mountains. The entire hike takes five to six hours to complete, with a 1.8-mile hike necessary to reach the trailhead from the Sloatsburg station.
Surprise Lake Loop
The somewhat strenuous Surprise Lake Loop trail passes through the Jersey Highlands before reaching the secluded lake. The 6-mile trail begins near the New York/New Jersey border at Greenwood Lake before following the Bearfort Mountain Ridge through a landscape boasting plenty of pine trees, rhododendrons and rocky outcroppings. The trail offers lovely views of Greenwood Lake and a few streams before reaching Surprise Lake at the end.
The Surprise Lake Loop trail can be reached by taking New Jersey Transit Bus 197 from Port Authority to the Greenwood Lake Park & Ride, which is near the trailhead. The ride takes about 2 hours.
Van Cortlandt Park
Located right in the city, Van Cortlandt Park can be accessed by taking the 1 train to the end of the line. Once at the park, there are several trails from which to select. These include the 1.5-mile Putnam Trail, which is a loop trail with relatively easy terrain, and the 1.5-mile John Muir Trail. This relatively steep trail traverses the park from east to west.
To reach the park, follow the signs for the trails after getting off 1 train at Van Cortlandt Park-242 Street. The park also offers specific directions for each of its trails, with some being most accessible from other trailheads that are accessible by bus.
If you want to spend some time outdoors as you enjoy the weather and watch the changing leaves, these trails and parks offer some great opportunities that are worth exploring this fall!