There is something therapeutic about being out in nature. No matter what the weather is like, the whole environment changes my mindset and mood.
I highly recommend taking a hike or even a long walk (if not near any trails) at least once a week.
What started out months ago as an excuse to get out of my house during the long endless days of quarantine, has become a new passion and hobby. It’s been and continues to be an incredible outlet and I’m lucky enough to live within a close drive or even walk, of some fascinating trails.
Local NJ/NY Hiking Trails Near Me
Below are a few of my favorite interesting hiking trails near me. If you don't live in the NJ/NY area, there’s a great app AllTrails that can help you find fun trails in your area.
If driving there, you can park at either the Englewood Boat Basin or Ross Dock. And from there you can go in any direction. There are a few sections with challenging sets of stairs, one alongside a waterfall, but the ground is pretty even. You can choose the route and distance you want because there are so many different paths.
Last fall I had a chance to take a sunrise yoga hike at the Palisades Interstate Park Shore Trail with @smallshiftsyoga which was absolutely beautiful! I’m not an early morning person but I’d consider becoming one, for having more of these amazing experiences that relieve stress, provide strength and inner peace. It is a great way to boost positive energy and good vibes, while staying healthy. Exploring new places and being outdoors is fun for so many of us.
A fun idea to add onto a hike at this particular location is a post-hike picnic. I discovered Lavish Picnics by KD one day while on a hike here. They provide beautiful picnic bubbles or set up tables, decor, even heating in winter, with everything you need (they arrange for food and drinks as well, or you can bring your own). All you have to do is show up. It’s a unique and fun way to celebrate a special occasion or just a nice afternoon. (Bonus: If you mention my name you’ll get a discount on your picnic bubble Schechter 15)
Peanut Leap Cascade is another moderate hike that I love (thank you Fortune Dushey for the intro and excuse to hike there; I keep going back) that has some steep steps (the way up is easier than down) but a beautiful waterfall as a reward at the end. The Giant Stairs is right next to it and even more challenging, with a rock scramble.
I like to enter Ramapo State Park from the lower parking lot, and walk through an area that feels like an enchanted forest. There’s a lake in the middle to walk around if you prefer flat ground or to stop for some yoga or reflection. It's a nice trail to bring a dog to as well. There are more intense trails within, one of which leads to Castle Ruins at a lookout point.
@shirafeinkraft took me on an afternoon hike to Hook Mountain where we got to experience the sunset as we walked down from the peak. This was a more challenging trail than I was used to, but loved every minute of it. Sometimes just getting out of your comfort zone is key.
Don’t forget to get good trail shoes! Makes a huge difference in feeling comfortable, especially when there’s melting snow or wet leaves on the ground. I have Adidas outdoor Terex speed. Also recommend are Hoka One One speedgoat 4 trail running shoes, Merrell Bravada Mid Waterproof or these new On Cloud boots.
Check out this roundup of the newest and best hiking shoes here to find your best fit.
After a hike, I try to stretch to avoid waking up sore the next day. Hiking on trails especially with stairs or steep inclines involved, often uses muscles that I didn’t even know I had! I love the stretch sessions on The Mirror.
One of my all time favorite guided stretch sessions is with @shirakraft 20 - minute stretch (you can check it out here) that can be done with a band, if you have one, or my preferred way - from the comfort of your closet with a pair of tights as resistance. It may sounds strange, but once you watch the video, you’ll understand. Shira demonstrates in an easy to follow manner.
If I have time for an epsom salt bath, that is another great way to soothe sore muscles post hike. If not, I put on my favorite Therarobe for some serious post hike relaxation. Always aspiring to add new wellness goals for 2021.
Take a hike using this hiking trails near me, and be sure to let me know your favorite! Happy Trails!
Have you read my blog post on hydration tips? Be sure to drink up and bring along your water for a hike.