4 adventure trips less than two hours from NYC
From Brooklyn to the Catskills
New York may be a city of steel, concrete, and glass, but in under an hour, athletes can put their in-the-club training to use in the great outdoors.
Test your fitness with these nature adventures, curated by Leah Howe, senior director of Equinox Explore and member experiences. For more active experiences close to NYC, check out Equinox’s Day Trips.
Hike the Catskills
Reach two peaks in one day: Twin Mountain and Indian Head Mountain via Devil's Path is a 7.9-mile loop trail near Elka Park, New York—and it is not for beginners. With an elevation gain of 2,345 feet, the path winds through a forest, features steep inclines, and requires rock scrambling. Your reward: views of the Ashokan Reservoir and Hudson River at the top and wildlife sightings along the way. "There are not so many people on these trails so it feels quiet," notes Howe.
Recover: Download a meditation podcast and find your zen once you reach the summit.
Refuel: Swing by 1960’s-leaning Phoenicia Diner for elevated standbys (avocado toast, turkey burgers) made with ingredients sourced from local Catskill and Hudson Valley farms. Or pop into Silvia in Woodstock for vegetable-forward fare cooked over a wood fire grill.
Ride horses in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn
The Jamaica Bay Riding Academy is home to about 70 horses on 450 acres and is open every day for 50-minute guided rides through the Gateway National Recreation Area. Your horse will walk (if you’re a novice) or trot (if you’re an experienced rider) through reed-lined paths that lead to a secluded beach.
Recover: Spend the rest of the day relaxing at nearby Manhattan Beach, a 20-minute walk from either the Brighton Beach or Sheepshead Bay subway stops.
Refuel: Nick’s Lobster House is located just across the Mill Basin from the riding academy. Order a steamed lobster and sit on the waterfront patio.
Ice climb Shawangunk Ridge near New Paltz
Howe suggests outfitter Discover Outdoors, who regularly organize ice climbing expeditions to Shawangunk Ridge (aka The Gunks). “It’s safe and doable for the average fit person,” she adds. You’ll be harnessed and guided by pros the entire way. Depending on conditions, you’ll scale icefalls, frozen waterfalls, cliffs and rock slabs. All climbs end at a wintry perch to soak in the exhilarating surroundings.
Recover: Make an appointment at Mohonk Mountain House, a historic spa resort, for a hot stone massage to ease achy muscles.
Refuel: Small plates of vegetables take center stage at Butterfield Restaurant Stone Ridge. Warm up with the delicata squash rings and share a “vegetable mosaic” entrée, a seasonal mix of the best local produce.
Kayak to Bannerman Castle in Yonkers
Howe recommends Storm King Adventure Tours’ Bannerman Island Tour, a three-hour guided journey that has you kayaking under Storm King Mountain before crossing the Hudson River to the base of Breakneck Ridge. Then, you’ll get a reprieve on a secluded rocky beach with time to take a dip in the river. Back in the kayaks, you’ll learn about the history of the castle as you paddle around the island, viewing the ruins from the water.
Recover: On Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning through early October, take a yoga class in the park in Newburgh.
Refuel: Stop by Blooming Hill Farm in Monroe for a farm-to-table brunch or dinner and order one of their signature seasonal wood fired pizzas.