Saturday, November 19, 2011

Resisting Winter: How to go hiking in Queens

You may have been shivering in your boots last night, but don't let November fool you. Winter hasn't arrived yet. This weekend, temperatures may reach the mid-50s and mid-60s — so get outside for a New York City hike while we still have leaves on the trees and sun on our backs!

Quick tips for your November day hike:

  1. Bring water and a small snack. Nothing ruins a hike like an empty stomach
  2. Carry extra layers: hat, gloves, and an extra sweater to wear under your coat 
  3. Give yourself enough time. In New York, everything takes longer than it should, and hikes are no exception.

My hiking buddy lives in Queens, so we choose Forest Park for our most recent adventure. The park has an amazing 5.1 miles of hiking trails in its northeast section.

Forest Park, Queens
Each trail is marked with a "blaze," or paint on the tree bark that points you in the right direction!

Blue trail
Blaze or no blaze, it would be hard to get lost in Forest Park. The trails are beautiful, but they're not very rugged.

We encountered dog-walkers, couples, and even someone on horseback!

I learned a huge lesson in trip planning. Always make your day hike just that: a day. I tried to squeeze in our adventure before catching a 4:30 train to visit my family. Of course, it just didn't work out. I took two subways to get to Queens; then my friend and I took another subway and a bus to get to Forest Park! Much to our surprise, the bus also stopped half a mile from the hiking trails. After all that transportation, we only had about 20 minutes for hiking — and I was still an hour late for visiting my family.

Plan your trip carefully (using a combination of, HopStop, and Google Maps). If you give yourself enough time for a true day hike, the excursion will be well worth your time. 

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