Get out of the city. Get into the woods.
I really love to get out in the woods for a few days at a time and cover a lot of miles. Occasional day hikes are nice, as are trips with less in the way of hiking and more in the way of bourbon and cigars, but, if on my own, I like long days with a lot of walking.
Here are a few hikes I’ve done that are accessible via public transportation from NYC for those looking to get out for a few days. Most of these are pretty high-milage, but they can usually be split up over a longer period, if so inclined. In the coming weeks I’ll post a bit about what I usually carry, eat, etc.
(I’ll keep updating this page with info about more hikes I’ve completed and those that I still need to do…)
Fall 2006 & Spring 2009
Approx 45 miles (2 days), sleep at RPH Shelter at approx mile 25
I’ve tried this in both directions, and south to north is a bit easier, and if running late and miss the intermittent train from the hiker stop, can always walk to the Wingdale station (don’t really have that option north to south). It’s long, and not terribly scenic and never really fully away from the sound of traffic (if you listen carefully), but if it’s a gorgeous weekend and you need to get out, it’s quick and easy. The RPH shelter is convenient – can sleep in there, or pitch a tent nearby. For a hike like this, for me, food is less important, I’ll be back the next day, and why carry more than needed? Bare minimum. If I’m a bit hungry when back on Sunday, that’s fine. Keep it light & fast.
Approx 36 miles over 3 days, sleep at the Stockbridge Shelter at approx mile 10, and the Big Hill Shelter at approx mile 20. I got a ride from the train station to Route 6, saved a mile or two, but still about 2-3 miles of hiking on the road at the beginning
Almost entirely within Harriman State Park, and first time for me on the Long Path (which stretches from the George Washington Bridge all the way to Albany). Some great views along the way, and was able to see the NYC skyline from Big Hill. Be careful though – I remember the Stockbridge Shelter had no water source, which I discovered as I was about out of water and had foolishly spent the evening before carousing late into the night. Dangerous… Thankfully someone had stocked the shelter with gallons of Poland Spring. Very kind. Would have been a bad situation otherwise.
With the travel to and from Brooklyn, was able to get in fewer miles on Day 1 & 3, so stretched it over 3 days. Some of the hiking in New Jersey was gorgeous and incredibly easy – hiking along the ridge on a smooth dirt path. If I remember, Gren Anderson was pretty full of mosquitoes and it really rained hard, tho the Mohican Outdoor Center was good fun. It cost $15, but I was able to buy a tasty sandwich. It’s run by the Appalachian Mountain Club.
This is one of the first sections of the Appalachian Trail to be laid out early last century. We opted for the closer shelter (Fingerboard) and it worked well. Ended up hiking at night a bit the first day. The glowing eyes of deer in the distance from our headlamps were a little creepy. Hiking up and over Bear Mountain was very interesting – in the last three years or so they have built granite steps into what seemed like the entire trail. Well maintained trails are one thing, a sidewalk is another. Still a great hike for a day. Don’t miss the Zoo.
Approx 20 miles over 2 days, sleep at Big Hill Shelter at approx mile 8
Great hike – with relatively easy terrain except the appropriately named “Agony Grind” – and we had plenty to time to drink bourbon and smoke cigars. We also developed a pretty great new dessert. I wanted to make a cobbler, but it’s tough to bake on the trail. The Bakepacker is a pretty cool device. We tried to replicate it with some beer cans, and came pretty close. Our apple cobbler was very tasty. Certainly will do it again. Big Hill Shelter has some great views and multiple fireplaces. We were able to make out the NYC skyline.
Still to hike…
Approx 50 miles over 2 days
This is the last bit of the Appalachian Trail I need to do in NY & NJ, and I should be able to do it in 2 days, but can be difficult due to the late start since need to get there – will have to do it in the summer when on Daylight Saving Time.