Time to take a hike! It’s a new season, and the perfect temperature to get out and about. There are some wonderfall places to hike and leaf-peep, right in your very own Brooklyn backyard! Here are some hikes you’re sure to like.
Fantastic fauna features in Marine Park’s Salt Marsh Nature Trail, also known as the Gerritsen Creek Nature Trail. Considered an easy to moderate hike, the path is about a mile long and follows the shore of Gerritsen Creek, which empties into Jamaica Bay. The trail takes hikers through a prairie of tall grass and a restoration project was recently completed in the area, clearing it of invasive plant species, and allowing native flora to flourish. The boardwalk trail with viewing platform is a great spot to spy on fish and crabs, and is a haven for bird-watchers with egrets, herons, ducks and geese often frequenting the landscape. NYC’s Urban Park Rangers run free, guided hikes of the marsh throughout the year, with one coming up on Sunday, November 20.
Avenue U and East 33rd Street, Marine Park.
A Pleasurable Prospect
Boasting lovely lawns and a sixty acre lake, hiking in Prospect Park is so much more than a walk in the park. Numerous hiking trails wind throughout the park, including Prospect Park Trail which is an easy 3.25 mile hike that takes about 2 hours to complete, and is dog friendly (be sure to take your pup to the dog beach before it gets too chilly!). NYC Parks run several free organized hikes throughout the park, such as the Fall Foliage Walk on Saturday, October 22 . On this hike, Urban Park Ranger naturalists explain why leaves change colors, and introduce hikers to the diversity of trees found in our urban Brooklyn forests. On Black Friday, November 25, hikers of The Midwood Trail will be taken on a journey back in time, with a 30-minute walk through Brooklyn’s oldest remaining forest, filled with birds and other animals. Home to some of Prospect Park’s largest trees, The Midwood is a relic of Brooklyn’s history and was preserved and incorporated into the park during its original construction. Also worth checking out are the Lullwater, Peninsula and Waterfall trails.
101 East Drive, Prospect Park.
Talk a Walk on the Waste Side
You’re not likely to see beautiful birds or wondrous woods on this walk, but it is closer to what one might imagine when they think of a New York City hike. Newtown Creek Nature Walk is a quarter-mile long public walkway along Newtown Creek in Greenpoint. Designed by environmental sculpture artist George Trakas and completed in 2007, the walk offers a taste of nature and beauty, next door to a sewage treatment plant, and amongst what some might describe as an industrial wasteland with a heavily polluted waterway. The trail affords visitors a truly unique view of Brooklyn’s settling tanks and digesters and educates them on wastewater treatment, the harbor’s water quality and the history of New York City. Open from dawn to dusk, the trail is a secret point of relaxation in the far north of Brooklyn, and features young trees, shrubbery, flowers and a Scavenger Hunt. Dotted with stone resting areas, tiled patios and drinking fountains, it is an unexpected place of beauty, tranquility and learning, amidst a history of environmental damage.
Paidge Ave & Provost St, Greenpoint.
A kaleidoscope of colors will greet Brooklyn Botanical Garden-goers this fall. Begin your exploration at the Native Flora Garden, a small forest of some of the oldest plants in the Garden, such as the 100-foot-tall, century-old sweet gum tree with deep crimson foliage. Be sure to visit the meadow in this Garden, and observe the colorful grasses, wildflowers and butterfly milkweed. Next, head to the Cranford Rose Garden and catch the second and final flush of blooms, which last into October and often, early November. Also in the Rose Garden keep an eye out for squirrels and mockingbirds – these little guys drop by to snack on the rose hips. Following this, walk over to the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, which offers sweeping views of a landscape filled with maple trees in stunning shades of orange, red, yellow, and purple. The gorgeous Garden is open in October from 8am-6pm on Tuesday to Friday, and 10am-6pm on weekends. Kids under 12 get in for free and entry for adults is $12.
1000 Washington Avenue, Prospect Park.