As the temperature starts to drop, so do the leaves. The lush green trees on Long Island transform before your eyes into bright shades of oranges, yellows and reds. It is the great time of year to take advantage of the 200+ miles of local hiking trails. The state parks have a rating system for their ranging from easy, family-friendly to advanced. There are also some designated for pets and joggers. Some of the trails are in town or county parks. Others are maintained by the Nature Conservancy. Traverse past haunted lighthouses stuffed with peg legs, otherworldly landscapes, sunbathing seals, and sparkling sea sides. There is really something for everyone.
Taking a breathe of fresh air does wonders for the soul. Taking a walk through beautiful surroundings allows you to explore, appreciate nature and get some exercise. These parks offer beauty, variety of scenery and for their beginner trails.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously imagined in the closing paragraphs of The Great Gatsby that the lush forests of Long Island must have looked like “a fresh, green breast of the new world” to early settlers.
Earn your hiking stripes and bragging rights by exploring Long Island’s finest trails.
50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove (516) 571-8010
Hike down a to a quiet beach while learning about Native Americans who once lived here.
David Weld Sanctuary
Boney Lane, Nissequogue.
Hike along towering tulip trees, gurgling swamps, red cedars, and glacial erratics.
West Hills County Park
Sweet Hollow Road, Huntington (631) 854-4423
The nature trails including the historic Walt Whitman Trail to Jayne’s Hill, Long Island’s highest peak with an elevation of 400 feet.
Caumsett State Park
25 Lloyd Harbor Road, Huntington (631) 423-1770
Hike along the paved trails or venture off into more wooded territory for bird-watching, fishing, nature study, horseback riding, salt marshes, and a dairy complex.
Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
581 West Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown (631) 265-1054
Enjoy the planted field, Willow Pond, Nature Museum and bird-feeding station.
Connetquot River State Park
Sunrise Highway, Oakdale (631) 581-1005 Hike around the Pond, Oakdale Grist Mill, woodlands, Fish Hatchery and Barn, some trails wheel-chair accessible.
Muttontown Lane, East Norwich (516) 571-8500
Nassau County's largest nature preserve spanning over 550 acres of fields, woodlands, ponds and estate grounds, including the Chelsea Mansion and Nassau Hall.
There are 11 miles of easy hiking trails that run through the oak woodlands, marshes, ponds, and creeks. Keep an eye out for osprey, ibis, foxes, harbor seals, and terrapins. Known as the “Jewel of the Peconic.”
Wildwood State Park
600 acres of undeveloped hardwood forest terminating on the high bluff overlooking Long Island Sound.
Cedar Island Lighthouse
The lighthouse was manned by keeper Charles Mulford in the late 1800′s. Mulford donned a peg leg and rumors persisted he bought up all the prosthetics in the area and squirreled them away in the lighthouse. The rumors ignited after a fire at the lighthouse allegedly revealed a room full of charred pegs.