According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health” – and going for a walk is certainly one of the simplest and most refreshing ways to take care of yourself.
Improved mood and a maintained weight are among the many excellent reasons to go for a stroll. The exercise is not only great for those just beginning their fitness journey, but a moderately-paced scenic walk can also be a great family outing or romantic date.
By now you’re probably wondering: Well, where are some walking trails near me? Read on to find some of our favorite walks in the Northeast.
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Albany County Rail Trail, N.Y.
Length: 8.4 miles
Trail Activities: Walking, biking, cross-country skiing.
Following along the path of the former Delaware & Hudson Railroad, Albany County Rail Trail offers 9 miles of quiet walks through woodlands. Some parts of the trail offer views of a rushing creek. During warmer months, the trail is perfect for leisurely strolls, and fall is the perfect time to leaf peep. Along the way, visitors can access Veterans Memorial Park located in Delmar and Fireman’s Park in Slingerlands. When winter hits, the crushed stone and gravel trail goes unplowed and cross-country skiers are welcome to trek the layers of snow.
Henry Hudson Trail, N.J.
Length: 22 miles
Trail Activities: Walking, biking, inline skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing. Wheelchair-accessible.
Traveling through both urban and natural landscapes, there’s plenty to see on this 22-mile trail. The tree-lined path crosses wetlands, streams, fields and small towns. It’s divided into two sections, which currently aren’t linked, so some visitors may need to travel along an on-road route. In the north section, traveling from east to west, trailgoers will find the 2-mile Bayshore Trail, where forested hillside and views of the Sandy Hook Bay await. In the south, the trail runs from Freehold to Marlboro for roughly 5 miles. Open from dawn to dusk, trail-goers can walk with friends and family, or bring along a furry friend.
Length: 62 miles
Trail Activities: Walking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing. Wheelchair-accessible.
Hugging Pine Creek for a majority of the route, this trail’s small incline makes it the perfect spot for an easy, scenic stroll. It runs uphill towards Ansonia and downhill towards the Jersey Shore, offering beautiful water views and dramatic rock ridges of the Pine Creek Gorge along the way. Spend the day meandering the path and visiting small towns, or take a break at one of the many comfort stations. Lucky travelers may spot eagles, osprey, black bears and more, hiding on the nearby hillsides.
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Mass.
Length: 11 miles
Trail Activities: Walking, biking, inline skating, fishing, cross-country skiing.
The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, named from a Native American word meaning “the pleasant river between the hills,” provides a beautiful walk for trail-goers. Along the path, which travels through forested areas, there are breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, rivers and wetlands. It makes for a relaxing walk and a very scenic day trip. Trail-goers can take a break at one the many rest areas and those looking for a little romance can pack a picnic. Outdoor enthusiasts can bring binoculars for bird-watching or cast a line in one of the ponds. And history buffs will enjoy the mill buildings resting on the far shore of Hoosic River near Adams.
East Bay Bike Path, R.I.
Length: 14.3 miles
Trail Activities: Walking, biking, inline skating, fishing, cross-country skiing. Wheelchair-accessible.
On the shores of Narragansett Bay, The East Bay Bicycle Path (Rhode Island’s best-known rail trail) offers 14 miles of alternating landscapes, including stunning wilderness and urban enclaves. Along the way, visitors can wander off on spur trails, discovering parks and conservation areas. In Bristol, an intersection with bike racks marks the path leading to the Rhode Island Audubon Society’s Environmental Education Center. Featuring a natural history museum and aquarium, nature walks and more, it’s the perfect place for a family outing. In Riverside, a half-mile detour leads to Crescent Park and the Looff Carousel, where visitors can marvel at masterful wood sculptures.
With all the stress in our daily lives, walking trails near you can be a very peaceful (and heart healthy) way to unwind and rejuvenate. Spend some quality time with your loved ones or hit the trail solo for some quiet reflection. Looking for a challenge? Hiking trails and bike paths will still give you those beautiful views and serene environments, with a little extra cardio!
Where are some of your favorite places to spend time outdoors? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out these accessible trails for explorers with disabilities.
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.