Van Cortlandt Park Bridge

While New York City may have entered phase two reopening a few days ago, many traditional New York City summer activities are still off the table due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although you may not be able to visit a museum or dine-in at your favorite restaurant just yet, the city still has plenty to offer while we continue to practice social distancing.

In spite of its reputation as a concrete jungle, New York City is home to a great many parks. Many parks are large enough to go hiking in, making them a great destination for any weekend adventurer.

Compiled below is a list of ten great places to hike, all within the five boroughs!

1. Van Cortlandt Park, The Bronx

Van Cortlandt Park biking

A ride to the last stop of the 1 train will drop you off at Van Cortlandt Park, a 1,146 acre park that houses multiple playing fields, playgrounds, and a vast forest. The woods are navigable by not one, but five distinct hiking trails: the 1.5 mile Putnam Trail, the 1.1 mile Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, the 1.25 mile John Kieran Trail, the 1.5 mile John Muir Trail, and the 1.4 mile Cass Gallagher Nature Trail (more information is available on the NYC Parks website). During the fall, these trails are used by New York City schools to hold cross country meets. During the summer however, you can expect the trails to be much emptier. Maps of the park are offered at the Van Cortlandt Nature Center.

In addition to its trails, the park is also rich in history. It is the site of the 1778 Battle of Kingsbridge where Stockbridge Mohicans died fighting for the Patriots’ cause. Additionally, during the Revolutionary War, vaults in the Van Cortlandt burial ground were used to stash important New York City records for safekeeping. The park is also home to the Van Cortlandt House, the oldest house in the borough.

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