Do you call the Tri-State Area home? Great! That means you’re talking about:
Idaho, Utah, or Wyoming… Kentucky, Tennessee, or Virginia… Delaware, Maryland, or Pennsylvania… and so on. As it turns out, there are actually 62 points in America where three states meet. But the fact is, when most people say “Tri-State,” they are using shorthand for the greater New York Metropolitan area.
And like most people, that’s what we mean.
When you think of the greater New York City area, you might think of pushy pedestrians, Broadway musicals, towering skyscrapers, and comically large slices of pizza (or, as New Yorkers call them, “cheesy bread flaps”), but you likely don’t think of superlative opportunities for enjoyment of the outdoors. Why not? Because you’re stuck in a myopic bubble of malaise, Ed, that’s why. (If you’re name isn’t Ed, then I wasn’t talking about you, to be clear.)
The fact is that just a short drive away from the museums, coffee shops, and cheesy bread flap restaurants of downtown NYC, you can enjoy opportunities for hiking, biking, and piking! Though most people frown at the use of pikes (and all pole arms) these days, so perhaps you should skip that last one.
Today, we’re going to talk about three great hikes near New York City that will make your day, but which can be completed between sunup and sundown, commute included.
Campgaw Mountain – The Old Cedar Trail Loop
For the fittest among you, this loop hike could be a one hour trail run. For those of you who actually like to enjoy life, plan for about a two or two and a half hour hike, as the trail is about 3.3 miles long and does feature some elevation gain, though there is minimal difficult terrain. I’ll let you click this fancy hyperlink for driving directions and some trail info, but here’s the 4-1-1 on this pleasant half day hike. The trail will take you across wooden bridges, over streams forded by stepping from stone to stone, across old rock fences, and through open fields affording views of the countryside and, on a clear day, of downtown NYC itself. The trail is either clear to see on the ground and/or well blazed on trees for most of the route, so don’t worry about losing your way. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Bald Mountain – The Doodletown Loop
Yes, you’re right: “Doodletown” is a silly name. But maybe it won’t seem so silly after you’ve completed this strenuous five mile hike, ey tough guy? Or maybe it will. Whatever. Anyway, here’s your handy link for directions to the trailhead location. This hike will have you gaining more than 1,000 vertical feet, 500 of which are achieved in about a half mile. That, for those not in-the-know, is rather a lot of elevation in a short amount of time. Not that the summit of Bald Mountain’s 1,080 foot height will have you gasping for breath in the thin air, or anything, but this is a good, challenging hike suitable as a training exercise before a more serious climb. It’s also a fine hike in and of itself, and will afford you views of waterfalls, rolling hills, and plenty of wildlife.
Ramapo Mountain State Forest – Castle Point Trail
There are actually more than thirty miles of hiking trails and loops in Ramapo Mountain State Forrest Park, and you can choose loops as short as this three mile jaunt or that will take many hours to complete. For our purposes, let’s pretend we want to take it easy and take in some history, too. For example, you can explore the ruins of the Van Slyke Castle, a once opulent mansion that was built in the first years of the 20th Century and abandoned, left to fall into disrepair, by the 1950s. You’ll wrap around the eponymous Ramapo Lake (formerly known as Rotten Pond…) and you’ll enjoy views of NYC, the Wyanokie Mountains, and much more. This is a great family hike, so bring the kids.