Staying active in New York City doesn’t only mean riding the subway or navigating your way through crowds. Just because you’re in a city doesn’t mean you’re limited to city things. There’s actually plenty of nature tucked into each of the five boroughs where you can hike and enjoy the scenery. Here’s one dog-friendly hike in each of the five boroughs. Grab your pup and head out!
Dog-Friendly Hike in: Manhattan
Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park is the only real forest left on the island of Manhattan. It has three trails, various rock formations, and a view of the Hudson River and the Palisades. It’s also home to tulip trees, oaks and maples, as well as Manhattan’s last salt marsh.
The hike: There are three, color coded hikes to choose from – the orange trail (1.3 miles), the blue trail (1.7 miles) and the white trail (1.2 miles).
While on the Blue Trail, you’ll come across some rock formations you can hike up, should you be in the mood for a challenge. Once you reach the top, the forest opens up to epic views of the Hudson River and Palisade Cliffs.
What to see: Besides the hike, the park itself is great, with lush lawns and a scenic waterfront. The park also has a dog run, and on the weekends, the Grow NYC Greenmarket sets up shop right across the street. The park is also one of the best places to spot a bald eagle in the city.
Be sure to check out Shorakkopoch Rock while there, the alleged location for where the “selling” of Manhattan, between Peter Minuit and the Native Americans took place.
Getting there: Take the 1 train to 215th street OR take the A train to 207th street and walk to the entrance of the park at 218th street.
Dog-Friendly Hike in: Brooklyn
Floyd Bennett Field
Visiting Floyd Bennett Field is like stepping into history. It’s home to New York City’s first airport, the ruins of an abandoned building, the shoreline on Jamaica Bay, and a World War II naval air station. Not to mention, it’s a National Park! It has amazing woodland filled with all kinds of trees and plants, wildlife and waterways.
The hike: There’s a 3.5 mile hike that will take you through the bird blind, a wonderful bird watching spot with a nice little pond, the North Forty Natural Area, an abandoned building and the shorelines of Jamaica Bay. You’ll also get to walk down the runway of the abandoned airport, if you want.
What to see: Floyd Bennett Field is situated in Jamaica Bay, an 18,000-acre wetland estuary surrounded by the Rockaway Peninsula to the south, Brooklyn to the west, and Queens to the east. There’s plenty to do and see in the area, including fishing, bird watching, star gazing, camping, horseback riding and, of course, hiking. Always keep your dog on a leash.
Getting there: If you have access to a car, there is parking on the premises.
Otherwise, take the 2 or 5 train to the last stop, Flatbush Avenue, and from there hop on the Q35 Southbound bus. Get off at the Floyd Bennett Field stop by the Gateway Marina.
Dog-Friendly Hike in: Queens
Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Park is the second-largest public park in Queens – it’s 655.3 acres! It features freshwater and saltwater wetlands, tidal flats, meadows, forests and it’s all right in Queens.
Bonus: Alley Pond Park has off-leash hours from the time the park opens until 9:00 a.m. and from 9:00 p.m. until the park closes.
The hike: There are seven different trails in Alley Pond Park that wind you through native hardwood (oak-hickory) forest and kettle ponds. We recommend taking the Yellow Trail into the Purple Trail, also known as the Tulip Tree Trail, which leads you to the Queens Giant.
What to see: The park is home to the Queens Giant, a tree called the tulip poplar that is the tallest measured tree in New York City and possibly the oldest living thing in the New York metropolitan area!
Besides amazing nature scenes, Alley Pond Park offers an array of recreational activities, like canoeing, hiking, playgrounds, playing fields (baseball, basketball, soccer, football and handball), golf, fishing, barbecue areas and more.
Getting there: Take the 7 train to the last stop, Flushing/Main Street. Then catch the Q27 bus on Main Street and get off at the intersection of 73rd Ave and Springfield Boulevard.
If you have access to a car, there is parking on the premises.
Dog-Friendly Hike in: The Bronx
Pelham Bay Park
Am I in Maine? No, silly, you’re in the Bronx! Don’t let the park’s rocky coastline fool you. Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in all of New York City – it’s more than three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park! It offers miles of bridle paths and hiking trails, Orchard Beach, the Bartow-Pell Mansion, two golf courses, and a breathtaking 13-mile saltwater shoreline that hugs Long Island Sound. What more could you want?
The hike: There are four great trails to choose from – the Kazimiroff Nature Trail, the Siwanoy Trail, the Split Rock Trail and the Bridle Trail.
Kazimiroff Nature Trail: this wildlife observation trail features two overlapping lasso-shaped paths (one long, one short) that stretch around 189-acre Hunter Island, leading hikers along the island’s wetland border, through its interior forest, and onto the shores of Orchard Beach.
Siwanoy Trail: Named for the Native Americans who once inhabited the area, the Siwanoy Trail is approximately 3.5 miles long. It starts in the Central Woodlands section of the park, starting at City Island Road, and then branches off to sections in the Bartow-Pell Woods and behind the Meadow at Orchard Beach.
Split Rock Trail: This trail originates at Bartow Circle and stretches for 1.5 miles (2.4 km) along the west side of the park. It meanders through the Goose Creek Marsh and the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary. The path leads to Split Rock, a huge boulder in the northwest corner of Pelham Bay Park.
Bridle Trail: Also known as the Bridle path, this path circumscribes both golf courses and connects with the Bronx Equestrian Center.
What to see: Pelham Bay Park really has it all, from a beach, to wildlife, to kayaking and canoeing, and even horseback riding. It’s an impressive 2,772 acres of nature. If you live in New York, or you’re just visiting, it’s worth a visit.
Bonus: Pelham Bay Park has a dog run and off-leash hours. The dog run is close to Watt Avenue and Middletown Road.
Getting there: Take the 6 train to the last stop, Pelham Bay Park.
You can also take the Bx12, Bx29, Bx5, Bx52, and Westchester Line number 45 bus. Orchard Beach can be reached by the Bx5 and Bx12 buses in the summer months. During the winter, take the Bx29 to the City Island Circle and walk to the beach.
Dog-Friendly Hike in: Staten Island
The Greenbelt is located in the heart of Staten Island. It’s home to New York City’s largest remaining forest preserve. There are mature forests, wetlands, meadows, wildlife and over 35-miles of marked hiking trails.
The hike: There are eight hiking trails in the Greenbelt – the ones featured here, as well as a Pink Trail near the wildlife refuge.
The trails differ in distance, difficulty and terrain. There’s really something for everyone.
Be careful – the Greenbelt is huge and it’s easy to get lost. Be sure to pay attention to markers and signage along the trails.
What to see: Depending on the trail you choose, you’ll see everything from swamps to dense forrest, and even ruins.
Bonus: The Greenbelt has off-leash hours from the time the park opens until 9:00 a.m. and from 9:00 p.m. until the park closes.
Getting there: Hop on the 1, R, or W train to South Ferry/Whitehall Street or the 4 to Bowling Green. From there, take the Staten Island Ferry, for free! After your boat ride, you can either take the Staten Island Railroad (good with a MetroCard transfer) or a bus.
Have you ever gone hiking in New York City? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Click here for more dog-friendly NYC tips.
Pin for later!