Take a hike has taken on a whole new meaning or at least value in the last couple of months. Instead of a command to get lost, it now signals a reprieve from the close quarters of Lockdown USA. And just about everyone from families to couples to individuals could certainly do with a little relief courtesy of the great outdoors. With the weather warming and lockdown restrictions easing, the desire to get outside, stretch your legs and calm your mind is greater than ever. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to take a leisurely or a more strenuous hike within an hour or two of just about everyone. WellWell is offering up 14 suggestions in New York and New Jersey to get people started.
Allaire State Park Monmouth County, NJ
This hike loops around the southern end of Allaire State Park. It follows sandy roads and footpaths through a mixed forest of deciduous and pine trees. It may not offer spectacular panoramic viewpoints, it does provide the opportunity for an easy, relatively flat and pleasant walk through an attractive forest on the northern fringe of the Pinelands.
Length: 5.0 miles
Deer Park Pond Loop (Allamuchy Mountain State Park) Warren County, NJ
This hike covers the Allamuchy Natural Area of Allamuchy State Park, following old woods roads with gentle grades. The area was once part of a private game preserve on which deer were introduced (hence the name Deer Park).
Length: 4.0 miles
East Creek Trail Woodbine, NJ
The white-blazed East Creek Trail runs in a loop from Lake Nummy down to East Creek Pond. Most part the trail surface is hard packed with a leaf or pine needle cover and an occasional hard root.
Length: 7.0 miles
Lansdown and Capoolong Creek Trails (Capoolong Creek and Wildlife Management Area) Clinton, NJ
The Lansdown Trail starts just to the right of Fox Lumber Company, easily identifiable by a crushed stone path leaving the parking lot. Follow this path along the side of lumber company, which at one time was the train station for this spur of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. An interpretive sign on the left outlines the interesting history of the railway.
Length: 5.4 miles
Celery Farms Nature Preserve (Celery Farm) Allendale, NJ
Despite the fact that it is located in the midst of suburbia and surrounded by private homes, the Celery Farm is a magnificent oasis which allows one to experience the beauty of nature while looping around a scenic pond. It is also short with an easy terrain, making it an ideal hike for families with young children.
Length: 1.0 mile
Cheesequake Harbor Forest Loop (Cheesequake State Park) Old Bridge Township, NJ
Though the park has a variety of ecosystems including swamps, salt and freshwater marshes, and pitch pine, this three-mile loop on the White Trail is mostly through hardwood forest. It is the only trail in the park that allows mountain biking and it is the hilliest of all the marked trails—though it is usually a pretty peaceful trail.
Length: 3.0 miles
Eagle Rock Reservation Loop West Orange, NJ
This hike is right in the 408-acre Eagle Rock Reservation, which is located in densely populated Essex County. But you’d never know it when you’re walking in this mostly undeveloped reservation that features an extensive trail system. The Olmsted Brothers, who designed Central Park in Manhattan, contributed to the design of the reservation.
Length: 3.5 miles
Stump Pond Loop Trail (Hauppauge, NY)
Look for the double blue blaze indicators that lead off the bridle trail—they will get you on an attractive footpath that parallels wetlands. In a short distance later, the trail will run close to the shore of the pond, with a number of short side trails leading down to viewpoints over the pond.
Length: 5.4 miles
Bronx River Pathway (Bronx River Parkway Reservation) Valhalla, NY
When completed in 1925, the Bronx River Parkway was part of a wooded reservation, with a pathway running along the parkway for its entire length. That’s changed a bit, but a great deal of the original pathway remains, offering hikers a quiet escape from the city that closely parallels the river for much of the way.
Length: 9.8 miles
Catskills Frick Pond Loop Catskills, Rockland, NY
From the northwestern corner of the parking lot, the red-blazed Quick Lake Trail descends on several log steps and then continues on a mostly level route through the open hardwood forest. In about a tenth of a mile (0.10 mile), the trail intersects with an old road that once provided access to Frick Pond.
Length: 2.2 miles
Cranberry Lake Preserve Loop Valhalla, NY
Although comprising only 190 acres, Cranberry Lake Preserve is surrounded on several sides by a boardwalk along Yellow and Blue Trails. It is a quiet oasis in the midst of suburban Westchester County and offers a pleasant walk around a tranquil lake.
Length: 3.0 miles
Brooks Lake Loop (Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park) Montgomery, NY
Although most hikes in Harriman-Bear Mountain State Parks are rather strenuous, this hike — at the northern end of Bear Mountain State Park — is relatively easy. It circles the scenic Brooks Lake in a clockwise direction, following the Brooks Lake Trail, marked with red square-on-white blazes. There are many views of the lake and the surrounding mountains from the trail.
Length: 1.0 mile
Arden Pointe and Glenclyffe (Hudson Highlands State Park Reserve) Phillipstown, NY
This pleasant and easy trail follows a woods road that passes ruins of brick buildings on the right before crossing a wooden footbridge over a stream.
Length: 3.7 miles
Hand Glider Overlook and High Point Overlook (John Boyd Thacher State Park) Altamont, NY
Hike to outstanding views equal to those at the more popular southern section of the park but with no crowds and more solitude.
Length: 5.7 Miles
Got your own suggestions for New York-New Jersey walks or maybe somewhere else? Let us know and we’ll pass them on.