Five Train-Friendly Trails Less Than 2 Hours from New York City

October 19, 2016
David Klatt

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Five Train-Friendly Trails Less Than 2 Hours from New York City
View of Mt. Beacon and Breakneck Ridge from Black Rock Mountain - Mt. Misery/Hill of Pines/Rattlesnake Hill/Black Rock Mountain Loop - Black Rock Forest - Photo by Daniel Chazin

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Here are five trails that will save you gas money and the search for a parking spot.

Appalachian Trail

Three regional train lines in New Jersey and New York make it relatively easy to reach the Appalachian Trail. Two trains drop you a mile or two from the nearest AT trailhead. A third train drops you right on the doorstep at the conveniently named Appalachian Trail station.

  • Appalachian Trail: Via Metro-North, take the Harlem and Southwest Lines from Grand Central Terminal to Appalachian Trail station, just north of Pawling, NY. The Appalachian Trail has its own train stop along this section of the Southwest Line. There is no platform at Appalachian Trail station so you should let the conductor know that you will be hopping off at the AT and proceed to the last train car. Approximately 2 hours.

  • Harriman: Via NJ Transit, take the Port Jervis Line to Harriman station from New York Penn Station. This trip requires you to make a connection at Secaucus Junction. From Harriman station, walk to the entrance of train station parking lot. Cross Route 17 and hop on the Sapphire Trail (blue blazes). Go two miles south on the Sapphire Trail to meet the Appalachian Trail (white blazes). Approximately 1.5 hours.

  • Manitou: Via Metro-North, take the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Manitou station. Walk east up Manitou Station Road to Route 9D. Approximately 65 minutes.

    • Northbound on the AT: Proceed 1 mile south on Route 9D to the Appalachian Trail’s northbound trailhead. It will be on your left.

    • Southbound on the AT: Proceed south on Route 9D, passing the Appalachian Trail’s northbound trailhead. Cross over the Hudson River via Bear Mountain Bridge. Continue straight to the base of Bear Mountain where you can join the AT going southbound.

Breakneck Ridge

  • Breakneck Ridge: Via Metro-North, take the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Breakneck Ridge. The trail has its own stop but there is no platform at Breakneck Ridge and the 85-minute train only stops on weekends. For a weekday hike, when Breakneck Ridge is significantly less crowded, consider starting your hike in Cold Spring and hiking north along Route 9D to the Breakneck Ridge trailhead. Approximately 1.5 hours.

Bear Mountain

  • Peekskill: Via Metro-North, take the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Peekskill station. A ten-minute taxi ride up to Bear Mountain will cost your group about $25 one-way. Approximately 1.5 hours.

  • Base of Bear Mountain: Via Port Authority Bus Terminal, take the bus. Coach USA operates twice daily service to and from Bear Mountain. Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes.

Harriman State Park

  • Tuxedo: Via NJ Transit, take the Port Jervis Line from New York Penn Station to Tuxedo station. This trip requires you to connect with the Port Jervis Line at Secaucus Junction. Walk to the entrance to Harriman parking lot. Cross Route 17 and hop on the Sapphire Trail (blue blazes). Go two miles south on the Sapphire Trail to meet the Appalachian Trail (white blazes). Approximately 1.5 hours.

Walkway Over the Hudson

  • Poughkeepsie: Via Metro-North or Amtrak, take the Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie station. Walk up Water Street and enter Upper Landing Park. Take the elevator at Upper Landing Park to the park. You can also take a taxi to the park entrance. Approximately 1 hour 50 minutes.