top of page

Get Back in Shape: 6 Spring Hikes in NY/NJ


All those over-eager for nature to SPRING to life say AYE!

Man am I in the mood to rid myself of cabin fever and melt away my winterized bone-structure (...what?). I believe it's high time for me (and YOU!) to get back into tip-top hiking shape. Full disclosure: I've been hibernating all winter (aside from a few XC-ski outings) and am in desperate, nay, dire need of a trail pick-me-up! As such, I've put together a shortlist of 6 spring hikes within the NY metro area guaranteed to get your adventure juices flowin'...let us begin!

6 Spring Hikes in NY/NJ to Get Back in Shape!

1. Bearfort Ridge, NJ

Length: 7-mile loop

Time to Hike: 3-4 hours, depending on stops

Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (some steep climbs and scrambles)

Location: Abram S. Hewitt State Forest, West Milford, NJ

Directions to trailhead - (there are 2 parking areas along Warwick Turnpike)

Map: NYNJTC Map 116

Highlights: Puddingstone, varied terrain, rock scrambles, expansive views - the works!


This 6 mile loop hike has forests, lakes, views, and even some minor rock scrambling along Bearfort Ridge itself. It basically has everything you could want in a loop hike. With all of the sights to see and pitch pines to ogle, this trek is a great way to kick off the hiking season, and get back into hikin’ shape!

2. Stairway to Heaven: Pochuck Boardwalk to Pinwheel Vista, NJ

Length: 7.3-mile out-and-back

Time to Hike: 4 hours, depending on stops

Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (steep climb up Stairway to Heaven)

Location: Appalachian Trail and Wawayanda State Park, Vernon Valley, NJ

Directions to trailhead

Map: NYNJTC Map 116

Highlights: BIRDING, views, unique boardwalk, steep climb, views


A section of the Appalachian Trail, this 7.3 mile out and back is brimming with intrigue. It begins along a neat boardwalk over an awakening marsh TEEMING with birds (oh baby). Then opens up to a forest saunter, COW FARM, and culminates with a climb up Stairway to Heaven to Pinwheel Vista. If those names don’t have you convinced, you’ll just have to go see for yourself! (See a virtual hike here)


3. Chikahokie Falls to Wyanokie High Point, NJ

Length: 6 mile loop

Time to Hike: 4 hours, depending on stops

Difficulty: Strenuous

Location: Norvin Green State Forest, NJ

Directions to trailhead

Map: NYNJTC Maps

Highlights: Views! Waterfall! Climbs!


This is another uh-mazing hike in northern NJ that you must put on your to-do list if you haven't tackled it already. At around 5 miles roundtrip, this loop includes delightfully expansive views from Wyanokie High Point, an enjoyable forest of both deciduous and coniferous trees, and a generous waterfall to round out the journey. Hit up after the snow melts or a recent rainstorm for best results ;)

4. Schunnemunk Mountain, NY

Length: 6.4 mile lollipop loop

Difficulty: Moderately strenuous (steep climbs)

Elevation gain: 1,000ft+

Location: Schunemunk Mountain State Park, West Hudson Highlands, NY

Directions to trailhead

Map: NYNJTC Map 141

Downloadable Map

Highlights: Unique geology, views, MEGALITHS, pitch pines, and a nice workout


On this 6.4 mile lollipop loop, you'll pass through sprawling fields of grasses and wildflowers, bask in shaded hardwood forests, steeply climb to open rock faces spreckled with pitch pines (yes, spreckled), and soak in expansive views up and down the Hudson River Valley. Plus, thanks to Schunemunk's unique geology, you'll observe exceptional rock formations like the monstrous Megaliths and Split Rock! Experience ALL the magic in the virtual hike below:

5. Bonticou Crag, NY

Length: 3 mile loop

Time to Hike: 2 hours, depending on stops

Difficulty: Strenuous, technical scramble

Location: Shawangunks, Mohonk Preserve, NY

Directions to trailhead

Map: NYNJTC Map Set

Highlights: A MAGNIFICENT rock scramble, mighty views, and adorable dwarf pitch pines


This hike is TOPS when it comes to an exciting, challenging, UH-MAZE-ING rock climb up GIANT talus fragments of white Shawangunk conglomerate. Those Gunks, tho…It’s a trail, all right, and it’s ripe for the trekkin’! Explore the hike in its 3 mile entirety below:

6. Giant Stairs, NJ

Length: 5-mile loop

Time to Hike: 4 hours

Difficulty: Moderately strenuous, technical scramble

Location: Palisades Interstate Park, NJ and NY

Directions to trailhead

Map: NYNJTC Map Set

Highlights: Waterfall, LOOMING cliffs, lengthy rock scramble, booty-burning climbs


Why not include two scrambles to feed your appetite for ADVENTURE!

Ahem. If you have never heard of the Giant Stairs or thoroughly explored the Palisades of New Jersey, MAKE THIS YOUR YEAR! What a magnificent gem amongst bustling Bergen County. At about 5 miles roundtrip, this circuit hike aims to please. Experience the journey for yourself below:

So there ya have it, folks, 6 escapades to add to your To-Do list this season. And the best part is, this is only the beginning...Happy trails!

Related UnbEx Content:

Spring Day-Trip: Indian Head Mountain, Catskills, NY

VIDEO: Hiking Getrude's Nose and Millbrook Mountain, Shawangunks, NY

VIDEO: Hiking Watkins Glen State Park, NY

bottom of page