Many people ponder activities that are both enjoyable and help pass the time, and hiking or camping often top their wish list. Both of these outdoor activities offer numerous benefits and provide great experiences.

When planning a camping or hiking trip, one fundamental question comes to mind: where should I choose my trails? The location for your outdoor activities holds significant importance. There are various factors to consider, such as safety, essential items to bring along, companionship, and more.

In the United States, there are numerous hiking trails and camping spots available for every skill level and level of experience. However, you may not have considered camping or hiking in or around New York City, especially if this is your first time. If you have been camping or hiking for a while, though, exploring the trails and camping grounds in NYC will undoubtedly provide an incredible experience. This article aims to explore all the opportunities available to you while in the city.

NYC Camping and Hiking Hassle-Free- What to Know

Camping Tents With Rooms

New York City is renowned as one of the world’s greatest and most beloved cities. It pulses with energy and offers unique experiences to its diverse residents and visitors. Truly a city that never sleeps, it proudly holds the title of the world’s capital.

When asked to express their love for New York City, many people go beyond its abundant opportunities. NYC embodies exceptional diversity, boasts top-tier restaurants, and showcases a rich tapestry of art and culture. Moreover, there is a wealth of activities to enjoy within the city.

But what about hiking or camping in New York City? Typically, when one thinks of NYC, hiking and camping don’t immediately come to mind. However, the city offers more than meets the eye. Finding ways to escape the bustling metropolis and immerse oneself in the great outdoors can help maintain one’s sanity.

The journey begins by considering how to expand your outdoor horizons. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to explore within or close to New York City, allowing you to indulge in the outdoor activities you love.

Harriman State Park

During your first visit, you will undoubtedly develop a deep connection with Harriman State Park, as it stands as a beautiful destination for all New Yorkers, conveniently located just an hour away from the city. As the second-largest state park in New York, Harriman boasts an extensive network of 225 miles of hiking trails. Spanning a remarkable expanse of over 47,000 acres, this park is a splendid tapestry of forests, majestic mountains, and serene lakes.

In addition to hiking and camping, Harriman State Park offers a plethora of other activities to enjoy. It is an excellent destination for cross-country skiing, boating, and fishing. If you have an inclination towards canoeing and swimming, be sure to visit Lake Sebago.

By venturing into the park, you can escape the bustling atmosphere of New York City and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. Explore the park’s popular hiking trails, which not only offer breathtaking views of the skyline but also present challenging summits to conquer. You can even camp amidst the peaceful woods, adding an extra layer of adventure to your experience.

Recommendable hikes and campgrounds include:

  • Hikes near Reeves Meadow Visitor Center
  • Hikes near Palisades Information Center
  • Hikes near the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor
  • Beaver Pond Campground
  • Parking lot off Kanawaukee
  • Lakeside camping near Pine Meadow Lake

Forest Park, Queens

If you haven’t yet explored any of New York City’s boroughs, Queens is a fantastic place to start. Within Queens, Forest Park stands as a popular and widely acclaimed destination, spanning over 500 acres and offering breathtaking landscapes for hiking and various sports.

This expansive park boasts a continuous oak forest that is home to some of the most splendid hiking trails you can imagine. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to discover other historical attractions within the park, such as the Richmond Hill War Memorial, Forest Park Visitor Center, and the Carousel. While camping or hiking, be sure to capture as many pictures as possible, as Forest Park boasts some of the most visually captivating woodland areas.

Interestingly, many campers and hikers may not be aware that the parkland was initially owned by the Brooklyn Park Department. However, in 1911, Queens officially established its own Park Department. And here’s more good news- there are beautiful Brooklyn parks that are perfect for camping and hiking, offering another set of delightful destinations to visit and enjoy.


North-South Lake Campground

Catskills is another great place 2.5 hours north of NYC. It’s the home of the North-South Lake Campground, a remarkable place to surround yourself with nature and away from the ever-busy city. The campground provides more than 200 reservable tent and trailer sites.

If you don’t want to spend time at the sandy beaches along the North-South Lake, the campground is also excellent for hiking. Trails start in or near the campground, and you can walk for 2.5 miles along the lake. Feel free to take short hikes to the amazing scenery of the famous Catskill Mountain House and see Kaaterskill Falls, the highest waterfall in the state.

For more strenuous hikes, pursue the Escarpment Trail. Wildlife viewing is another incredible activity in the area many campers and hikers fancy.

Breakneck Ridge

Breakneck Ridge is a prime choice for hikers seeking accessible trails via public transportation. This region offers a challenging 2.8-mile hike, accompanied by breathtaking views of the Hudson River and other prominent landmarks. The Breakneck Ridge Trail is immensely popular among both New York City residents and visitors from around the globe.

To conquer this trail, you’ll need a determined mindset as you navigate rugged, steep, and demanding rock formations. The scenic trails will guide you through rocky ridges, dense forests, and up to stunning mountain peaks. After experiencing these awe-inspiring hikes, you can further indulge in outdoor pursuits such as fishing or boating, expanding your outdoor adventures.

Fire Island, Long Island

If you’re seeking a special destination to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC and indulge in beach life while camping, Fire Island is the perfect choice. This idyllic island offers a variety of camping options, ranging from traditional tents to trailers and wilderness camping experiences.

For those interested in backcountry camping, a visit to the Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness on the eastern side of Fire Island is a must. This wilderness area provides a unique and secluded camping experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the island.

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Situated just an hour away from Syracuse and conveniently close to Ithaca, Buttermilk Falls State Park is a paradise for both campers and hikers. The park boasts numerous captivating waterfalls, with Buttermilk Falls being a standout attraction. This magnificent 165-foot cascading waterfall showcases a breathtaking display of weather-beaten limestone and shale.

Bird Watching & Hiking

For even more awe-inspiring sights, you can explore the Gorge Trail, which offers incredible opportunities for capturing stunning photographs. When it comes to finding a place to relax and cool off, there’s no need to worry, as there are cabins available for booking.

Whether you’re seeking an exhilarating outdoor adventure or a tranquil retreat, Buttermilk Falls State Park has everything you need to create unforgettable memories.

For more amazing adventures and camping or hiking experience, here are other honorable mentions:

  1. Bear Mountain State Park
  2. Letchworth State Park
  3. Fish Creek Pond Campground
  4. Hither Hills State Park
  5. Tall Timber Campground
  6. Bowman Lake
  7. Osa Trail

Summing Up

While many are drawn to the vibrant city life and promising investment opportunities in New York City, the metropolis offers a unique blend of natural wonders and man-made marvels that can captivate anyone at first sight. Surprisingly, New York is also a remarkable destination for hikers and campers, an adventurous concept that may not immediately come to mind. In this bustling urban landscape, you can discover breathtaking sites, embark on invigorating hikes, set up camp, unleash your creativity, have fun, and create cherished memories. All you need is to uncover the best destinations that will reveal another side of New York to you.

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