Know the New Hiking How-tos
Five Train-Friendly Trails Less Than 2 Hours from New York City
Here are five trails that will save you gas money and the search for a parking spot.
The Appalachian Trail may be reached by train in three locations. Two train lines drop you a mile or two from the nearest AT trailhead. A third train line has a stop right on the trail -- the aptly named Appalachian Trail station.
Appalachian Trail Station: Via Metro-North, take the Harlem Line from Grand Central Terminal directly to the Appalachian Trail station, just north of Pawling, NY. Trains stop here only on weekends and holidays. Only one car will open at this station, so ask the conductor which car you should be in. Approximately 2 hours from Grand Central Terminal.
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 the Harriman station, walk to the entrance of train station parking lot. Cross Route 17 and find the trailhead for the Sapphire Trail (blue blazes). Go two miles south on the Sapphire Trail to meet the Appalachian Trail (white blazes). Approximately 1.5 hours from Penn Station.
Manitou: Via Metro-North, take the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to the Manitou station (trains stop here only on weekends and holidays). Walk east up Manitou Station Road to Route 9D, then continue uphill on South Mountain Pass Road to the Appalachian Trail. (If you wish to head southbound on the trail, turn right on Route 9D and follow it until the Appalachian Trail joins from the left.) Approximately 65 minutes from Grand Central Terminal.
Breakneck Ridge: Via Metro-North, take the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Breakneck Ridge. Trains stop here only on weekends and holidays. 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 from Grand Central Terminal.
Peekskill: Via Metro-North, take the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to the Peekskill station. A ten-minute taxi ride up to Bear Mountain will cost your group about $25 one-way. Approximately 1.5 hours.
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.
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.