Ready to experience some of the best hiking trails on Long Island that are also just a hoot and a holler down the road from NYC?
If so then you’ve come to the right place. Because this guide to all of the very best hikes on Long Island is positively overflowing with insider tips and expert advice from someone who has lived in the area for well over 30 years (aka me).
So, regardless of whether you’re a total newbie or are an absolute pro, you’ll be able to find some of the top hiking trails in Long Island for you!
Therefore, stop dreaming about walking along the picturesque sand dunes of Robert Moses Beach and start getting out there so that you can see what some of the best hikes in New York have to offer.
Just be sure snag a super tasty handful of trail mix and have it at the ready because we’re about tackle some of all the all-time best hikes in Long Island right now, you intrepid explorer you!
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Best Hiking Trails on Long Island – EASY
1. Sands Point Preserve Loop Trail
Ready to tackle one of the best hiking trails on Long Island that features a full-on castle, complete with a super snazzy clock tower? If so then check out the Sands Point Preserve Loop Trail.
As the name suggests, it’s a stunning loop trail that will take you to Sands Point Preserve, which is also home to an awesome, 100,000 square foot building that is known as the Castle Gould,
Apparently, the structure was built in 1904 by Howard Gould for his wife, and actress, Katherine Clemmons. Sadly though, upon its completion, Katherine decided she wasn’t really digging the building’s vibe.
So, they did what any wealthy AF person would do and created an entirely new many house virtually right next door. Therefore, as you explore the area’s best Long Island walking trails, enjoy the many dog parks, beaches, playgrounds, and wooded lands that proliferate throughout the area.
Also experience the kid-friendly Dino Trail before sitting down to a nice picnic lunch on the grounds here.
Pro Tip: For stellar views of the Long Island Sound, hike along Trail 5 which is just north of the Pond area.
Location: Port Washington
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 132 feet
2. Connetquot River State Park Preserve
Believe it or not, the Connetquot River State Park Preserve is actually the single largest state park in all of Long Island.
And that makes sense when you realize that this enchanting place is home to almost 3,500 acres of land (3,473 acres to be precise) that sits right in between Islandia and Oakdale,
So, stop by today to experience some of the top hiking trails in Long Island. And depending on how energetic you feel, you can tackle either the park’s shortest trail (the yellow trail) or its longest one (the blue trail).
Plus, if you’re feeling EXTRA adventurous, you can always hop on one of the many unmarked trails in the area too.
Personally though, I’d stick with the Blue Trail, which is about 8 miles long and takes you on one giant loop hike along the perimeter of the park – making it the easiest way to see as much of the park as possible. It’s also pretty flat (like all of Long Island) and is accessible to hikers of all skill levels.
Pro Tip: Feeling peckish? Then hop on the White Trail since their are tons of blueberry bushes here where you can grab a tasty snack.
Distance: 8.0 miles for the longest trail.
Elevation Gain: 36 feet
3. Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve Trail Loop
Basically dead center in the middle of Long Island you’ll find the gorgeous, 813-acre Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Reserve. It’s ideal for hikers and bikers alike since many of the best hiking trails on Long Island here are well-suited for both sports.
And that’s because many of these paths feature little elevation gain and take you through large tracts of heavily woodland that is pretty dang picturesque.
However, if I could only do one of the top hikes on Long Island here, I’d go with the easiest trail of them all, which takes you on a 5.5-mile long loop around the park.
That being said, there are tons of infinitely more complex loop hikes within the park itself. Therefore, you really can make your hike as difficult or as easy as you like.
Also, be sure to bring your favorite canine companion since this place is home to many of the best hiking trails on Long Island for dogs. Yup, you favorite furry friend is more than welcome as long as they are on a leash.
Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for fast moving bikers since many of the hikes on the inner loop are used by both cyclists and pedestrians.
Location: Deer Park
Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 21 feet
4. Muttontown Preserve
If you want to experience one of the best hikes on Long Island that is truly unique, then run, don’t walk, to Muttontown Preserve.
Because this place is positively brimming over with a wealth of amazing trails that are constantly intersecting with one another. Therefore, it’s easy to create a unique hike that perfectly suits your individual needs.
Along the way, you can also admire large swaths of wildflowers, vast woodlands, forests of Persimmon Trees and marvel at some of the horseback riders that frequent some of the best hiking trails on Long Island.
Whatever you do though, don’t leave without visiting the southern section of the preserve, which is home to the crumbling ruins (fountains, stairs, pillars, etc.) of a 60-room mansion that was first constructed in 1951.
Yeah, it was commissioned by King Zog I of Albania who never actually moved to the US and who even had the building semi-demolished in 1959.
Pro Tip: Be sure to grab a map from the Muttontown Lane entrance before starting out on one of the best hiking trails on Long Island from the Nature Center.
Distance: 2.5 miles for the main loop.
Elevation Gain: 132 feet
5. Quogue Wildlife Refuge
Originally opened way back in ye olde 1934, Quogue Wildlife Refuge is a premiere natural oasis that is perfect for outdoor lovers of every variety.
So much so that there are around seven miles of trails that hikers can use to explore the far reaches of this park. Therefore, start off at the Butterfly Garden and admire the various species of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies that pollinate this lovely garden (if you can, visit in Spring when everything is in bloom).
Next, traverse along some of the best hiking trails on Long Island and take in the awe-inspiring landscapes (filled with Pine Barrens, Pine Oaks, and Dwarf Pines) all around you as you go on bog walks and enjoy ice exhibitions in the winter.
Pro Tip: This place is open daily from dawn until dusk. So, avoid the crowds and get here early.
Distance: 7 miles of various trails in the park (takes between 2 and 4 hours to complete)
Elevation Gain: None really.
Route: Mostly loop trails.
6. The Money Pond Trail at Montauk Point State Park
Venture all the way out to the far eastern end of Long Island and you’ll find Montauk Point State Park quietly looking out over the Atlantic Ocean – in a spot where the Atlantic converges with the Long Island Sound.
Yup, it’s a truly magical place where you can take in sweeping views of the ocean after hiking for one mile, on the Money Pond Trail, through local woodlands.
Rumor even has it that one of the best hiking trails in Long Island gets its name from a secret treasure that was supposedly buried here.
And while I can neither confirm nor deny this fact, what I can say is that you can use this trail to access the Seal Haul Out Trail (where the Money Pond Trail starts) and the Oyster Pond Trail too.
Yup, just some of the all around best hikes in Long Island that pros and newbies alike will love.
Pro Tip: While you’re in the area be sure to visit Montauk Lighthouse too. It’s a national monument that was commissioned by none other than George Washington himself over 200 years ago.
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 130 feet to the beach.
7. Seal Haul Out Trail at Montauk Point State Park
Also located inside Montauk Point State Park is the one and only Seal Haul Out Trail. And as the name of one of the best hiking trails on Long Island suggests, you can see dozens of seals haul out onto the beach here any time between November and March.
Yup, just like us, the seals of the area enjoy a bit of sunbathing and this is one of the best hikes on Long Island that will give you an up close look at these super cool sea creatures.
So, start off at Montauk Highway and continue for around 1.5 miles until you hit the beach. Just be sure to pay close attention to where you’re going since there are a bunch of different paths here that can make the trail challenging to follow.
Pro Tip: Do not pet or get too close to the seals. Instead, stay well behind the fence that was built to protect these adorable creatures.
Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 55 feet
Route: Out and Back
8. Massapequa Lake Trail
Stretching out from Farmingdale to Biltmore Shores, Massapequa Preserve is a 432-acre green space that was named after Peter J. Schmitt Massapequa.
It is also filled with ample biking paths, hiking trails, ponds, lakes, and streams that are just waiting to be explored. So, stop by and check out no less than SIX different bodies of water that all flow along Massapequa Creek and terminate at Massapequa Lake in the south.
Just be sure to pack your binoculars and keep an eye out for the flocks of ducks, swans, and other migratory birds that routinely call this place home.
Also try and access the Massapequa Lake Trail since its one of the best hiking trails on Long Island that is 6 miles long and that connects all of the lakes here together.
Additionally, this path has added benefit of running along the entire length of the par, making it a great way to experience everything this awesome park has to offer.
If you want, you can also bring some fishing gear and take a break from all that walking as you attempt to catch everything from rainbow trout to largemouth bass to American eel. Just don’t go crazy since you’re only allowed to catch up to five fish here per day.
And then one you reach Massapequa Lake, continue south all the way to the beautiful beaches that line both Massapequa Cove and South Oyster Bay, for the ultimate end to one of the best hikes in Long Island.
Pro Tip: Be sure to wear waterproof shoes since some of the best hikes on Long Island here can get inundated with water and can become quite muddy.
Location: Massapequa Park
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 48 feet
9. Hubbard County Park
This impressive, 1,815-acre wetland area is known for having some of the best hiking trails on Long Island today. That’s because throughout your visit, you’ll be able to see all manner of creatures here, including birds, turtles, deer, and more.
Add in a super creep-tactic “ghost forest” to explore and you have my pick for one of the best hikes in Long Island. After all, this so called forest features a wealth of Cedar Tree stumps that have been taken over by the surrounding swap as the result of sea level changes.
And if you need a break from all that hiking, you can always kayak your way along Hubbard Creek or fish/hunt in certain designated parts of the park.
Whatever you do though, always respect your surroundings since this land once belonged to the Shinnecock Nation and has played an important part in local history for the past 10,000+ years.
Pro Tip: Winters are super wet so try and visit between mid-April to October.
Location: Hampton Bays
Distance: 2.6 miles (between 1 and 2 hours to complete)
Elevation Gain: N/A
Route: Out and Back
10. Caleb Smith Park Loop
Easily one of my favorite places on Long Island, the Caleb Smith State Park Preserve features a historic home that was initially built here in the 18th-century.
As of 1963 though, the grounds were converted into a national park where patrons could access some of the best hiking trails on Long Island as they experienced local wildlife (aka deer) and marveled at the incredible lakes here.
And while there are many different color-coded trails here, the Loop Trail pretty much encompasses all of them and allows you to experience the real awesomeness of this stunning place.
To access this trail, catch the trailhead right near Jericho Turnpike at Willow Pond and be sure to make a pit stop at the on-site Nature Museum along the way. It’s not very big but it is a charming little place with wealth interactive exhibits that guests of all ages will love.
Pro Tip: Arrive early since this is one of the best hiking trails on Long Island that typically closes around 4:00 pm daily.
Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 219 feet
11. Tackapausha Preserve Trail
Mosey on over to Cedar Creek County Park and you’ll uncover one of the best hiking trails on Long Island, the Tackapausha Preserve Trail.
After all, it features an enchanting array of marshlands, woodlands, local graffiti, and flocks of perhaps not-so-friendly geese. So, channel your inner Frodo Baggins and explore the many wooden walkways that snake through this oasis of greenery.
Especially since all of my fellow history lovers out there will be excited to learn that this is one of the best hikes in Long Island that is part of the very first nature preserve acquired by Nassau County way back in 1938.
Plus, there’s even a decent sized museum on-site where you learn about the history of the land, how it was obtained, and details about the amazing creatures that call this place home.
And if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge, then be sure to hike the length of the 9.2 mile long Jones Beach Bikeway. It also sits within the bounds of the park and is used for walking, running, biking, and more!
Pro Tip: There’s little elevation and varied terrain here so this is one of the best hikes on Long Island that is perfect for everyone in the family. l
Distance: 3.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 37 feet
Route: Out and Back
12. Jones Beach Boardwalk
Home to the most visited state park on Long Island – with an insane, 5+ million visitors annually – Jones Beach is easily one of my favorite places on Long Island.
Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s popular AF. And yes, the only state park in New York that receives more visitors annually is Niagara Falls.
But you know what? I don’t really care since the beaches here are fantastic and the boardwalk trail is super picturesque. It basically runs parallel to the beach and takes you all the way from Field 1 to Field 6.
Just be on the lookout for rogue bikers since they regularly use this trail and sometimes forget that pedestrians really do have the right of way.
If you want, you can even attend a concert here, grab bite to eat at The Gatsby on the Ocean, or play a round of mini golf with the kids.
Just do yourself a solid and keep an eye on the weather since Jones Beach is right on the Atlantic and can get hit by some pretty severe storms.
Pro Tip: Field 1 has lots of parking so start there, make your way to Field 6, and then walk back along one of the best hiking trails on Long Island.
Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 39 feet
Route: Out and Back
13. Beach Trail at Robert Moses State Park
Are you a total beach bum at heart? If so then this is one of the best hiking trails on Long Island for you! However, actually getting to the trailhead can be a challenge since you’ll need to schlepp all the way out to Fire Island via the Conklin Point causeway.
Once you’re here though you’ll have miles of pristine beaches all to yourself as you traverse the gorgeous, relatively flat, 9.5 miles of this stunning beach side trail.
And, added bonus? There are tons of boardwalks here. So, you won’t have to worry about getting excessive amounts of sand in your shoes as you enjoy one of the best hikes on Long Island.
So, take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk and continue until you hit Cedar Beach on Jones Beach Island. Time it right and you’ll also be able to catch a spectacular sunset.
Also, save some time to marvel at the charming, 150-year-old lighthouse here. Just head east from the trailhead and you can’t miss it.
Pro Tip: Avoid the 3 million people who visit this beach annually and hit this trail during the off-season.
Distance: 9.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 88 feet
14. Heckscher State Park Bike Path
Okay, I know listing a bike path as one of the, “best hiking trails on Long Island” sounds kind of lame. But, come on! You gotta hear me out.
See, this supremely awesome, 3 mile long path actually features two different trails that are divided by a nifty line that helps keep pedestrians on one side and cyclists on the other.
It’s also a solid twelve feet wide and features a completely paved, smooth surface. Therefore, you and your family will have plenty of room for walking around and won’t have to worry about tripping over a random stone or root – making this one of the best hikes in Long Island for family’s with small children and anyone with mobility issues.
Heck, you could even break out those dusty old inline skates and razzle dazzle bystanders with your SWEET skating skills as you check out all the deer that live in Heckscher State Park.
Also be sure to bring a decent pair of binoculars since upwards of 280 different bird species can be found here.
Pro Tip: Wear lots of sunscreen and bring a hat since this bike path doesn’t have a lot of shade.
Location: Great River
Distance: 3.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 6 feet
15. Stump Pond Loop Trail
At just over 6 miles in length, this loop trail may be semi-long, but it’s definitely not difficult with only 187 feet of elevation gain. Let’s be honest though, most of these top hikes in Long Island are pretty dang easy since this part of the state is super flat.
However, what sets this well-maintained trail apart is the fact that you get to walk by a picturesque lake and enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding area. Additional, it’s well suited for all skill levels (aka bring the family) and can be accessed all year long.
Heck, there are even several benches along the way, so you can easily stop to take a break if you’re feeling tired at any point.
It’s also hidden away in Blydenburgh Park so you can expect to enjoy stunning fall foliage if you hike here throughout the autumn. Plus, unlike some of the trails here, it’s not super crowded – allowing you to feel like you really are at one with nature.
Pro Tip: Bring good shoes since the trail can get muddy after it rains. Also watch out for any horse poop you may NOT want to step in.
Location: Blydenburgh Park
Distance: 6.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 187 feet
Bast Hiking Trails on Long Island – MODERATE
16. Hither Hills Trail in Hither Hills State Park
If you want to discover one of the best hiking trails on Long Island with stellar views, then be sure to give the Hither Hills Trail the good old college try!
It’s basically a giant loop around the entire park that begins at the Hither Hills Campsite (follow signage here). From here, walk along the beach until you see signs for the Walking Dunes.
At this point, the terrain will become less beachy and more wooded/marshy as you continue, eventually making your way back via the Walking Dunes Trail on the coast.
Also, be prepared for crowds since this one of the more popular hikes on Long Island that can be accessed without doing the entire loop.
Other than that, just admire the sand dunes all around you and enjoy one of the best hikes in Long Island.
Pro Tip: Be sure to bring something to protect your face from sand that gets kicked up by the wind. Also pay attention to where you’re going since shifting sand can make it easy to lose the trail. If you do get lost though, just follow the coast.
Location: East Hampton
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 423 feet (it’s gradual though)
17. Brookhaven Trail
Located inside the sprawling, 1600-acre Brookhaven State Park, this area was actually once home to a military outpost and was even run by the Brookhaven National Laboratory at one point.
Since then though, this impressive space has been converted into a stunning park that is home to some of the best hikes in Long Island, like the Brookhaven Trail.
So, take a well deserved break and walk among the 100,000 acres of Long Island Central Pine Barrens that proliferate throughout the area. From here, ontinue along this 4-mile loop trail and eventually make your way south to the Paumanok Path.
Also come prepared with some real hiking gear (hiking shoes, poles, water, etc.) since this definitely one of the more difficult hiking trails on Long Island.
Pro Tip: If you’re super into botany, make sure to head into some of the scattered wetlands in the park. There are Christmas ferns, wild geraniums, and flowering dogwood to be found, as well as many other types of flora and fauna.
Distance: 3.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 104 feet
18. Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail at Cold Spring Harbor State Park
Yes, Cold Spring Harbor State Park really is the smallest park on this list. But, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with high-quality trails like the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail.
And while this trail is an intense, 19+ miles long, it can easily be broken down into several smaller sections that can be hiked based on your experience and how energetic you’re feeling on any given day.
So, opt for the northern section if you’re looking for a challenge and want to conquer some hills with steep(ish) slopes. Just don’t forget to admire the views from the top before you conquer the infinitely easier, and flatter, southern section of the trail (just wear decent shoes since this section can get super muddy after it rains).
You can also make multiple pit stops along the way at places like Trail View Park and Bethpage State Park as you continue to traverse one of the best hiking trails on Long Island.
Pro Tip: Arrive early since this is one of the best hikes in Long Island that will get crowded.
Distance: 19.5 miles (you can also hike shorter sections of it)
Elevation Gain: 1,128 feet
Route: Point to point
19. Stillwell Woods Loop via Trail View
Located inside Trail View State Park, the Stillwell Woods Loop is fantastic trail that will introduce you to this lovely, super linear park.
In total, this gorgeous natural oasis is around 7 and a half miles long and serves as a connection between Bethpage State Park and the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail.
Also, throughout your hike, you’l walk through a variety of different habitats and can even spot various species of birds living in the area – in addition to lovers of the outdoor who like to ski, bike, hike, and horseback ride their way through the area.
Just be careful since the trail isn’t super well-marked and it’s pretty easy to get lost on one of the best hiking trails on Long Island if you don’t know where you’re going.
Pro Tip: Most of the trail is heavily wooded but there is one section along a busy road. So, please be mindful if you’re hiking with small children. Also, per usual, be on the lookout for bikers who cruise through at insane speeds.
Distance: 6.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 459 feet
Best Hiking Trails on Long Island – DIFFICULT
20. Long Island Greenbelt Trail
Without a doubt, the Long Island Greenbelt Trail is easily the longest and toughest trail on this list of the best hiking trails on Long Island.
After all, it’s a whopping 33 miles long and will take you all the way from Smithtown to Great South, So, don your finest pair of hiking boots and walk through a wide array of state parks like Connetquot River and Caleb Smith.
Just follow the white blazes and pay close attention because this one of the best hikes in Long Island that isn’t the easiest to follow since its long and crosses varied terrain.
Pro Tip: If you see two blazes ahead of you, you’ll need to follow the one on top.
Location: Between Smithtown and Great South.
Distance: 33 miles
Elevation Gain: 888 feet
Route: Point to point.