“Walking New York” is my post-series on sights that you can enjoy in New York for cheap of free, just by walking. There is so much to see and do in this massive and culturally inspiring city. If you have a suggestion for a place for me to walk, feel free to let me know through my contact page.
I’ve been waiting for a long time to share this one with you all. I discovered the Staten Island Greenbelt Trails last summer and have been obsessed with them ever since! The weather was finally nice enough a couple of weekends ago for my first 2014 trip, and now that I have a blog, I remembered that I should take pictures of my adventure! First, I’ll go over how to get there:
- Head to the Staten Island Ferry (South Ferry Station on the 1 train / Bowling Green Station on the 4/5 trains)
- Take the beautiful and FREE ferry ride to Staten Island (I will be writing more about the Staten Island Ferry soon!)
- Follow the signs for the Staten Island Railway, which is in the same building as the ferry drop-off area. The Staten Island Railway is part of the NYC subway system, so your metrocard works just fine!
- Take a train to Oakwook Heights, get off and walk to the GreenBelt Trail! You will have to walk alongside the park area until you come across a path that leads you in. It is a little tricky, so here’s a map for reference
From there, you want to follow the trail map, which can be downloaded from the Greenbelt website. Personally, I like to save this PDF to my phone, so I can check the map without Internet connection. I have also stopped by the Nature Center (shown on PDF) and picked up a physical map, which has a bit better detail.
I generally refer to this adventure as a nature walk as opposed to a hike. Unlike Breakneck Ridge, there isn’t a whole lot of uphill sections you have to battle, but after rainy days, the trails CAN get a little muddy, so be sure to dress appropriately. Even though it’s easy-going, there are miles and miles of trails, so you will never get bored! So why do I love the Greenbelt so much? Let me show you some pictures and you will be amazed that this exists in a NYC borough!
Given all this gorgeous nature, you would think that the trails would be PACKED. That’s not the case at all. This past trip, I ran into more people than I ever had before: about 15-20 over the course of 3 hours! Also, I have a confession to make. Every time I have walked these trails, I have made a wrong turn or some mistake. Of course, with map in hand, I have always been able to figure out where I went wrong and since you are in Staten Island, you’re never in danger of being truly and permanently lost, but be prepared to look for trail blazes and keep your navigating skills handy.
When you are ready to go home, you can backtrack to the Staten Island Railway OR if you find yourself in some far corner of the trail system, Staten Island has a pretty extensive bus system. Just exit the park and use your smartphone to look up the nearest bus route. Then you have a quick bus ride and a pleasant ferry ride to look forward to before you get home!Where: Pretty much the center of Staten Island! Subways: 1/4/5 to Staten Island Ferry, Switch to the Staten Island Railway (takes metrocard) and go to Oakwood Heights When to Go: It’s best on a Spring or Fall day as it can get muggy in the summertime.
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