Living in Queens, NY isn’t that bad once you get used to the hustle and bustle of a city that’s packed with people. There are plenty of places to escape the crowds and find a little peace. Hiking enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that there are some great hiking trails in the area. If you’re planning to visit Queens and you’re wondering where you can go to keep your hiking schedule up, we’ve put together this handy travel guide to point out the best trails that the neighborhood has to offer.
1. Alley Park Pond
Hikers who like to hike up and down hilly trails will enjoy the Alley Park Pond trails. Alley Park Pond is the second-biggest park in Queens. It starts at Little Neck Bay and runs to Union Turnpike. There is an Environmental Center at Alley Pond that will point you in the right direction to a variety of trails and hiking paths that are suitable for pedestrian traffic and bikers. The trails lead you through beautiful landscapes near the pond as well as marshes with reeds growing around them. You’ll find a variety of interesting hiking trails here.
2. Forest Park Trail Network
The Forest Park Trail Network is a massive collection of forestland that is comprised of over 530 acres. You will have your choice of trails that range in length from one to three miles. The majority of the trails lead you through a variety of ponds and ancient hardwood oak trees that have been growing in the location for hundreds of years. There are trails of varying degrees of difficulty to choose from. You could spend days exploring the various trails in the Forest Park Network. If you’re up to some challenging hikes and you’re in the mood to see new places this expansive area can keep you busy for the entirety of your visit to Queens.
3. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Trails
The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a part of New York’s national park system. It’s the largest wildlife refuge in New York City. It is made up of salt marshes, brackish ponds, and 32 square miles of woodlands. This is a haven for birdwatchers as well as hikers. Hiking trails begin at the West Pond visitor center and network throughout the Refuge. You can enjoy the wonders of nature and relax in the peaceful surroundings on your hike. One of the best parts of hiking at the refuge is that you will also see a lot of different plants and wildlife who call the refuge their home. You can learn more about the natural ecosystem of the region before New York became a metropolitan area.
4. Cunningham Park Trails
Cunningham Park offers hikers a wonderful three-mile hiking trail. The 350-acre park is situated in the easter region of Queens. The trails are recommended for hikers that are fit enough for navigating through steep terrain. The trail winds through old oak and hickory forest. The air is filtered through the cleansing fauna and flora to give you a breath of fresh air.
5. Bronx River Forest Trails
The Bronx River Forest Train is accessible at Gun Hill Road, Burke Avenue, and East 204th Street. These trails are located at Brox Park. The Bronx River Forest trails provide a peaceful retreat from the noise and business of the city. These are a series of trails with varying degrees of difficulty and challenges.
6. John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail is located at Van Cortlandt Park. The length of the hiking trail is one and a half miles. It is a moderately difficult trail that takes hikers on a route that traverses three ecologically distinct forests. The forest is comprised of tulip, sweetgum, and red oak trees. You’ll pass by a marsh that is filled with frogs in the warmer months, and the Croton Woods are filled with hickory and maple trees.
7. Kazimiroff Trail
The Kazimiroff Trail is found at Hunter Island in Pelham Bay Park. This nature trail will take you into a new world of peace, quiet, and relaxation. Hunter Island is 189 acres of wetlands and forested lands that reach the shores of Orchard Beach. This nature trail features several long and short loop paths. This is ideal for hiking enthusiasts who are staying in the area. You can hike a different trail each day.
8. Cass Gallagher Nature Trail
The Cass Gallagher Nature Trail is situated within Van Cortlandt Park. The length of the trail is 1.4 miles. Be forewarned that this trail is moderate to hard in its difficulty rating. It’s best for experienced hikers who have a fair amount of stamina.
9. John Kieran Trail
The John Kieran Trail is another hiking path that is located in Van Cortlandt Park. The length of this trail is 1.25 miles and in terms of difficulty, it’s rated as being one of the easiest in Queens. The trail takes you through the lake area of the park and the freshwater wetlands. You also pass over Tibbet’s Brook over a wooden bridge and follow the loop to the Parade Ground.
10. Putnam Trail
Putnam Trail is in the Van Cortlandt Park network of trails. This is a popular hiking trail for persons with mobility issues or young families. The length of the path is 1.5 miles and the difficulty rating is easy. You can best access this hiking trail by entering the park at Bailey and Van Cortlandt Park South. If you’re into some more challenging hiking, you can follow a section of the trail that runs a 15-mile course to Brewster, New York.