P16: a blog by Matt Kangas home archive
26 Jan 2008

Outdoors: Good Hiking near NYC

Sometimes you just need to step away from keyboard and leave the city behind. Get outside and feel the sun, wind, or rain on your cheek. It's so easy to get wrapped up in our regular routines and forget how refreshing a simple detour to the outdoors can be.

New York City is not a place that's known for having fabulous outdoor recreation areas. If you're a geek in the USA who enjoys hiking and camping, you probably dream of living in Seattle, or Northern California, or Austin, maybe Denver... but not NYC.

Well, I've got good news. The great outdoors is surprisingly accessible from NYC. One example is New Paltz, NY, a 1.5 hour drive from Manhattan. It's a cozy college town that lies just outside the Shawangunk Ridge, better known as The Gunks. If you're into rock-climbing, the cliffs at "The Trapps" are arguably the best climbing on the east coast.

This week, my cousin was bummed about his job situation and said "I need to get outside". He'd never been to New Paltz, so that made it a no-brainer. I looked for a moderately-challenging hiking route, and found a trail to Bonticou Crag.

Here's a view of the way up the crag (flickr). Those rocks were covered with ice on Thursday, which made the ascent fairly treacherous! But we made it, and it was an absolute blast. Afterwards we chowed down on burgers at The Gilded Otter before heading back to the city.

More info about hiking/climbing near New Paltz: