The author McKenna Mobley posing at the ocean boardwalk along the Paumanok Path by the Montauk Dog Park, one of the best hikes in Long Island

13 Best Hikes in Long Island (in 2023)

With no strenuous elevation gain on the island, hikes in Long Island are easy, fun, and suited for the whole family. Hiking in Long Island may not come to mind when planning your vacation, but the island is covered in trails from east to west. 

Hiking was one of my favorite things to do when I was in Long Island. Even though I typically prefer to torture myself with grueling 10+ mile hikes, the easier hiking trails on the island proved to be one of my favorite things to do in Long Island. Let’s start exploring!

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13 Best Hikes In Long Island

Paumanok Path

A multi-day adventure from middle Long Island all the way to the easternmost tip.

Oceanfront view at the Montauk Point State Park
The hike’s endpoint, Montauk Point State Park

🥾 Hard | 125 miles | Google Maps | Paumanok Path Website | Drive Time from Southampton: 1 hour | Cost: free

The full 125-mile Paumanok Path certainly isn’t for everyone, but I highly recommend hiking at least sections of it. This trail is known as one of the most scenic in Long Island that goes from Rocky Point to Montauk Point State Park.

The whole trail traverses four towns in Suffolk County – Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton, and East Hampton. Choose from trail sections through the island’s interior or follow the route along the coastline.

Popular sections include Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest, Manorville Hills State Park, and the walking dunes trail in Hither Hills State Park. When I was in Long Island, I hiked 3.5 miles from the Montauk Point State Park lighthouse to Camp Hero.

👉 Pro Tip: Check out what all the locals are raving about on their favorite trail; Money Pond Trail in Montauk State Park.

Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge

A shaded woodland path with hundreds of bird species leads to Little Peconic Bay.

View of the fallen tree branches in the middle of the forest
Can you spot the native cardinal?
Oceanfront view at the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge
Where the path meets the bay

🥾 Easy | 1.2 miles | Google Maps | Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge Website | Drive Time from Southampton: 18 minutes | Cost: $4 per vehicle

Find your bliss in the serene Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge. Not only is this less-traveled location a bird sanctuary, but it’s also one of the quietest places in Long Island that I’ve come across. 

The short, 1.2-mile nature trail leads past dense coastal forest and overgrown shrubs to the 1 ½ mile peninsula of Jessup’s Neck. This is the perfect quick trail to sneak in before work or during a lunch break. 

Before you go, it’s necessary to know that hand-feeding the birds is strictly prohibited at the wildlife refuge. Feeding wild birds may have unintended consequences for endangered species, so please follow the rules. 

Additionally, dogs aren’t allowed on the trail in an effort to keep the bird haven as natural and undisturbed as possible.

🛏️ Looking for a place to stay on Long Island that won’t break the bank? The Hamptons are notorious for being crazy expensive. Check out long-term home rentals in the Hamptons to save some money on accommodation.  

Sunken Meadow Trail

A Suffolk County trail along Long Island’s north shore.

A wooden bridge along the Sunken Meadow Trail
A wooden bridge awaits hikers in the forest state park

🥾 Moderate | 3.5 miles | Google Maps | Sunken Meadow Trail Website | Drive Time from Queens: 50 minutes | Cost: $8 per car

Sunken Meadow State Park inhabits a whopping 1,287-acre circumference in Smithtown, Suffolk County. Venture to Long Island’s north shore for the Sunken Meadow State Park trail, a 3.5-mile meander across tidal flats and through wooded rolling hills.

The Sunken Meadow hike is the best way to experience the best of Long Island, from green forests to coastal beaches. 

Long Island Greenbelt Trail

Put your fitness to the test on this 32-mile, Nissequogue River trail.

View of the sky's reflection on the Connetquot River
The reflective Connetquot River

🥾 Moderate | 32 miles | Google Maps | Long Island Greenbelt Trail Website | Drive Time from East Hampton: 1 hour, 35 minutes | Cost: free

The Long Island Greenbelt Trail follows both the Nissequogue and Connetquot Rivers on a 32-mile adventure to Great South Bay. Pass through four different Long Island state parks on the Greenbelt Trail, from the bluffs of Sunken Meadow to the ponds and ponderosas of Caleb Smith.

This trail is best tackled in an overnight, multi-day, or section hike adventure. Hikers be warned: Long Island is known for copious amounts of ticks. Be sure to wear long pants and check yourself when you get home. Additionally, no dogs are allowed on the Greenbelt Trail.

The best time to visit Long Island for scenic hikes like the Greenbelt Trail is in the late spring or early summer when the humidity hasn’t yet reached its summer peak.

Montauk Point Loop

A trail along Long Island’s most trendy beach town on the island’s east side. 

A man looking for stones on the shoreline along Montauk Point Loop
Collecting stones on the beach along the point loop trail

🥾 Easy | 6.2 miles | Google Maps | Montauk Point State Park Website | Drive Time from Queens: 2 hours, 45 minutes | Cost: $8 per car

Montauk Point State Park is one of my favorite places to hang out on Long Island. Not only does this coastal sanctum have some of the best surfing on Long Island, but it also has some of the most picturesque bluff hiking trails.

Montauk Point Loop is one of the most favored hikes in the state park. The 6.2-mile trail winds through overgrown foliage, alongside a fragile coastal bluff, past eager surfers, and finally to the famous Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Hiking the Montauk Point Loop Trail is the best way to spice up your Montauk beach excursion. Be sure to stop by downtown Montauk after your hike to refuel with a protein shake at Natural Foods.

📚 Related Reading: Montauk showcases some of the top camping in New York State. Camp right on the beach in Hither Hills State Park.

Cold Spring Harbor

A wooded Long Island trail with some of the most elevation gain on the island.

Closeup view of the pinecones on the tree
Photos of the forest foliage in Cold Spring Harbor
View of the budding ponderosa along the Cold Spring Harbor
A budding ponderosa I saw along my hike

🥾 Moderate | 5.4 miles | Google Maps | Cold Spring Harbor Website | Drive Time from Queens: 1 hour | Cost: free

The Cold Spring Harbor trail to Uplands Farm Sanctuary is famed as one of the harder hikes on Long Island. It by no means measures up to the strenuous hiking trails in the Catskills, however, some of the hardest hiking trails in New York

Also known as the Nassau-Suffolk Trail, this trail has a total of 830 feet of elevation gain. Though this may not be much for an experienced hiker, it’s a lot according to Long Island standards.

Skip the gym and take on one of Long Island’s “toughest hiking trails” on your trip.

👉 My Favorite Gear: I use the Salomon Hydration Vest on harder hikes to cut down on gear weight. This lightweight vest includes two 17-ounce water bottles that you can sip from on the go, without having to unzip a heavy backpack.

Walt Whitman Trail

This western Long Island trail follows the same path the late famed poet used to walk to draw inspiration for his works.

Exterior view of the Walt Whitman house
Walt Whitman’s birth house (photo: Paul Pecora / Shutterstock)

🥾 Easy | 8.2 miles | Google Maps | Walt Whitman Trail Website | Drive Time from Riverhead: 45 minutes | Cost: free

Located in West Hills County Park, the Walt Whitman Trail consists of sloped terrain, thanks to the Ronkonkoma Moraine. The biggest draw of the Whitman Trail is its access to Jayne’s Hill, the highest point on Long Island at 400 feet above sea level.

The hike starts at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Historic Site and traverses the hills of the moraine, the same landscape the late poet would wonder for inspiration. Be advised that although dogs aren’t allowed on this trail, they are allowed in other areas of West Hills County Park like the dog park and the campground.

Stump Pond Loop Trail

One of the best Long Island hiking trails with four-legged friends.

View of the fall foliage reflecting on the water along Stump Pond
Stump Pond experiences autumn

🥾 Easy | 6.1 miles | Google Maps | Stump Pond Loop Trail Website | Drive Time from Melville: 20 minutes | Cost: free

Experience New York on a budget at the free Stump Pond Loop Trail. One of the best parts about this loop trail is that it’s dog-friendly, a seeming rarity on Long Island. 

An easy, 6-mile walk around New Mill Pond is the perfect way to spend an idyl spring afternoon in Long Island. This hike also showcases prime New York fall foliage and is a favored hike from September-October as well.

A convenient boardwalk section around the pond makes the Stump Pond Loop Trail accessible for wheelchairs, meaning everyone gets a go at the scenic trail!

Sands Point Preserve Trail Loop

A hike through a grand, English countryside-style estate near Port Washington.

View of the freshly mowed backyard of Hempstead House
A view of the freshly mowed estate

🥾 Easy | 1.9 miles | Google Maps | Sands Point Preserve Website | Drive Time from Queens: 35 minutes | Cost: $10 per car

Of the six marked trails in the grand estate of Sands Point Preserve, the Sands Point Preserve Loop is by far my favorite. Located near Port Washington, Sands Point passes through dense woodlands and lush gardens, with photogenic stops along the way.

The Sands Point Preserve Loop is best suited for kids or New York visitors with dogs. The hike is short enough to do in less than an hour but is just long enough to still offer a good workout. 

Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way like Canadian geese, turtles, and an impressive assortment of songbirds. Picnic tables also dot the quiet trail, so be sure to bring a snack and a good book!

Massapequa Lake Trail

Bring your fishing rod on this western Long Island hiking trail for your chance to catch the night’s dinner.

View of the lake surrounded by greenery
A view of the lake through the trees

🥾 Easy | 6.3 miles | Google Maps | Massapequa Preserve Website | Drive Time from Babylon: 20 minutes | Cost: $10 per car

The ginormous Massapequa Preserve encompasses more than 430 acres of protected Long Island wilderness and is one of the top Long Island trails as a result. The Massapequa Lake Trail is part of a 20-mile network of trails in the preserve that’s shaded most of the way and makes for an ideal summer hike.

Bring your fishing equipment on this unique trail and try your luck in the Long Island waters. Largemouth bass, bluegill, carp, and others are plentiful in Massapequa Lake and summon Long Island locals from near and far.

Park in a small parking lot off Walker Street on the north end of the trail to access the Massapequa Trail. The trail is paved and is therefore also a great place for an evening bike ride. 

Tackapausha Preserve Trail

This entire trail is a bird sanctuary, only minutes away from Long Beach, NY.

View of the lake surrounded by greenery at  Massapequa Park Preserve on a sunny day
A cloudy day at the preserve

🥾 Easy | 3.7 miles | Google Maps | Tackapausha Preserve Website | Drive Time from Babylon: 25 minutes | Cost: $5 museum

The Tackapausha Preserve Trail is one of the top hiking trails on Long Island for birdwatching. More than 170 aviator species have been identified along this hiking trail, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

Stop by the Tackapausha Museum before or after your hike to learn more about the area’s past and the rich ecological factors of the preserve. I recommend wearing long pants on the Tackapausha hiking trail, as the path is known to be overgrown.

Additionally, I did get lost on this Long Island hiking trail. Download a map ahead of time for the smoothest navigation possible. 

👉 Pro Tip: This hike is within close proximity to Cedar Creek County Park, a park with more fun trails like the Cedar Point lighthouse loop!

Trail View State Park

A forest trail that’s popular among mountain bikers in western Long Island.

View of the empty trail surrounded by tall trees in Sandy Trail
An empty trail during the week

🥾 Easy | 6.9 miles | Google Maps | Trail View State Park Website | Drive Time from Queens: 35 minutes | Cost: free

Trail View has some of the best hiking trails on Long Island, including the Stillwell Woods Loop trail. Don’t let the hefty mileage deter you, the Stillwell Woods trail has less than 500 feet of elevation gain, making it as good and easy as a flat trail.

Spice up the usual Long Island beach trails with this hike strictly in the woods. Mountain biking, horseback riding, and running are also popular activities in the park, so be sure to share the trail.

Be cautious of ticks, look out for snakes, and be sure to stay mud-less by wearing your sturdy hiking boots on the Sitwell Woods Trail View hike. 

👉 My Favorite Gear: I wore my Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex boots in Long Island and was more than satisfied. The high top helped keep ticks out and the Gore-tex feature protected my feet from mud and water.

Brookhaven Trail

Hike through dense pine forests and around protected wetlands on this middle Long Island trail.

View of the trees and and stream in winter
The trail experiences light snow dusting at the beginning of winter

🥾 Moderate | 3.9 miles | Google Maps | Brookhaven State Park Website | Drive Time from Southampton: 40 minutes | Cost: free

The huge 16,38-acre Brookhaven State Park boasts some of the top hiking trails in Long Island. The Brookhaven Trail has long been a local favorite, thanks to the pine barrens and open wetland scenery along the way.

Hike with joint ease atop the pine needles and fallen leaves on the trail. Located near Shoreham, New York, the Brookhaven Trail is best hiked during the fall months when the forest canopy is completely transformed. 

👉 Read Next: Best Long Island Restaurants

FAQs About Hiking in Long Island

What is the longest hike on Long Island?

The Paumanok Path is the longest consecutive, multi-day hike on Long Island. At 125 miles, this hike is long and grueling but isn’t terribly difficult. The Long Island Greenbelt Trail is the longest day hike on the island at a total of 32 consecutive miles.

What are the most difficult hikes on Long Island?

Both the Greenbelt Trail and the Paumanok Trail are the most difficult hikes on Long Island due to their sheer distance. Cold Spring Harbor is another tough hike with the most elevation gain in Long Island.

What is the highest elevation hike on Long Island?

Jayne’s Hill is the highest elevation hike on Long Island at a whopping 400 feet above sea level. This point can be accessed via the Walt Whitman Trail or the 2.3-mile Jayne’s Hill Loop Trail. 

Where can I hike the north shore of Long Island?

North Shore Rail Trail, Cranberry Bog, and the Laurel Ridge Setauket Woods Nature Preserve are the top places to hike on the north shore of Long Island.


You made it to the end of my hikes in Long Island guide! Be sure to also check out our best New York state parks guide for more NY fun.

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