With summertime swiftly coming to an end, there’s still time to escape the hustle of the city and explore the great outdoors.
In the Fourth Regional Plan, we set forth a recommendation to create a tri-state trail network– which would essentially connect the thousands of acres of open space across our great region. Our 2017 report, Accessing Nature, digs a little deeper into how connecting residents with the region’s natural beauty and recreational activities will promote health, equity, the environment, and economic activity.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, here are nine trails and outdoor areas in our region that would be perfect for a day-long hike, enjoy a picnic spread or simply to take in the sights and sounds of nature.
Dutchess Rail Trail and Walkway Over the Hudson – Stretching from Hopewell Junction to Poughkeepsie, the Dutchess Rail Trail takes visitors through a scenic Hudson Valley landscape of forests and farms, and ends at the spectacular Walkway Over the Hudson, a converted rail bridge that allows pedestrians and bikers a view of the Hudson from 212 feet up. By 2020, these two trails will be part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail connecting New York City to Canada and Albany to Buffalo.
Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park– Described as the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts, Old Croton is a beautiful park with lush greenery and a number of cool attraction within it including The Rockefellers’ estate, the Double Arch and the New Croton Dam.
Henry Hudson Trail + Connection– Located in Monmouth County, the Henry Hudson Trail and Connection is a multi-path that runs through wetlands, fields and forest. Ideally, the trail would be extended and connected to the Jersey Shore Trail and Shore-to-Somerset Connector.
Morris Canal Greenway – Stretched across six countries in New Jersey, this historic canal was deemed unique because of its terrain and elevation at 1,674 feet. Today, the route includes parts of the proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway, the Lenape Trail and access to the D&R Canal Trail Connector.
Ken Lockwood Gorge & The Columbia Trail– Running along the bank of the South Brand of the Raritan River, this trail leads hikers and walkers alike through a former rail line that now passes through a residential area before turning into a completely remote trail experience.
West Rock Ridge State Park– Located in Woodbridge, CT and sitting above 627 feet above sea level, this state park is one of the most prominent features in New Haven. The best part? You can see 200 square miles of the park from any location, and get a great views of the New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Rockland Preserve – Located in Madison, Connecticut, the Rockland Preserve is an area of rocky hills, steep gray cliffs and wooded area. And with almost 27 miles of trails, there’s an abundance of space for walking, biking and setting up a small campsite.