There’s nothing worse than having to share a beautiful trail with a bunch of loud people talking about the crazy season finale of that show you haven’t finished. The good news? There are a handful of still-undiscovered trails under two hours from NYC that supply all the stunning waterfalls and ice caves you need, minus all the chatter.

Storm King State Park

Cornwall-on-Hudson
Distance from NYC: 62.6 miles; ~ 1.5 hours driving
Hike distance: 3.5 miles
A stone’s throw from the open-air museum Storm King Art Center, the Butter Hill/Stillman/Bluebird Trail Loop in Storm King State Park offers an adrenaline rush as you scramble up steep slabs of billion-years-old granite and maneuver along paths that are well-marked, yet exposed to sheer drop-offs. Creepy caves; thrilling climbs; and panoramic views of mountains, the Hudson River, and ruins of Bannerman Castle are among the highlights of this three-hour hike.

Franny Reese State Park

Highlands
Distance from NYC: 79 miles; ~ 1 hour 40 minutes driving
Hike distance: 2.5 miles
Though you could do all three of Franny Reese State Park’s easy trails in one morning, you’ll find no reason to rush through the 249 acres of verdant woodlands. Walk the shaded paths that wind around ruins of an 1860s estate and down to a bluff overlooking the river, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, the town of Poughkeepsie, and the Walkway Over the Hudson — the world’s longest pedestrian walkway. The park may only be an hour and a half from Manhattan, but consider spending a night at Buttermilk Falls Inn, five minutes up the road, where the all-you-can-eat breakfast is the perfect way to fuel a day of outdoor adventure.

Black Mountain Loop Trail

Orange County
Distance from NYC: 43 miles, 1 hour drive
Hike distance: 8 miles
Part of the 200+ miles of hiking trails in Harriman State Park, Black Mountain Loop is a surprise-laden adventure for those willing to suffer a little to feel like they’re the last people on Earth. The first part of the hike includes more than 800 vertical feet of climbing up Black and Letterrock Mountains, but it’s seriously worth it for the panoramic views, eclectic terrain, and chance to experience the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. After working your way through pine forests, over moss-covered roads, stone walls, bridges, wide streams, and around the haunting remnants of the Spanish Silver Mine, reward yourself with a local craft brew and a warm pretzel at Seven Lakes Station in nearby Sloatsburg.

Fire Island National Seashore

Fire Island
Distance from NYC: 59.6 miles; ~ 2 hours driving, plus the ferry
Hike distance: 10 miles
Far from the underwear parties at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove, Fire Island National Seashore offers a different kind of wild. While there are campsites within a quarter mile of the ferry dock, the beautiful tip of the Eastern Zone is worth the 5-mile hike down the beach for a seemingly private camping adventure — even in summer — in Long Island’s coolest backcountry.

Stairway to Heaven Trail

Hewitt
Distance from NYC: 50 miles; ~ 1 hour 25 minutes driving
Hike distance: 2.9 miles
This route’s true “wow” moment comes once you’ve summited 1,470-foot-high Wawayanda Mountain, but with its expansive hallowed views across New Jersey, the entire out-and-back Stairway to Heaven trail is full of unexpected twists: There’s a suspension bridge, wildflower fields, cow pastures, and curvaceous boardwalks, and a rocky, thigh-burning-steep climb that you’ll want to do all over again the next weekend.

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