Inwood Hill Park's six miles of trails wind through the last wild forest in Manhattan. Many people cite this trail network as the best place to hike in the city for its ruggedly beautiful scenery, dense tree cover, and multiple looping routes. Inwood Hill Park is easy to access, too. There are three subway stops within a few blocks of the park that you can reach via the 1 or A train, just remember that you'll have to fit your dog into a carrier or a bag to take them on the train.
There are three main trails through Inwood Hill Park: the Blue Trail, the Orange Trail, and the White Trail. At 1.7 miles, the winding Blue Trail is the longest. The moderate paved trail links the nature center in the northeast corner of the park with the Payson Center and playground near the Dyckman Street subway station. Along the way, you'll pass through scenic Overlook Meadow, which grants a view of the rock formations across the river. The 1.3-mile Orange Trail includes some unpaved paths that arc further north through the forest to views of the Hudson River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek.
The 1.2-mile White Trail ascends stone stairs, continues to the edge of the river, and ends at the sports fields and grills on the park's western edge. Continue a bit past the trail's end to the south to reach Dyckman Field, which serves as an off-leash area during the first three and last three hours the park is open. You can use connector trails to map a route that ends at Homer's Run, the fenced-in off-leash are on the east side of the park.
Highlights of the park's natural scenery include the only salt marsh in Manhattan, and caves that members of the Lenape people once used as a seasonal camp. Over 250 species of trees grow in the park, and over 150 kinds of birds have been spotted here, including brown thrashers, indigo buntings, and treetop warblers. Wildflowers including Dutchman's breeches, trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, and mayapples bloom in warmer months. Salamanders, flying squirrels, and meadow voles also make their home in the park. Be sure to bring water and clean up bags along for the trek!
Bring your dog with you to hike in Inwood Hill Park when you want to get in touch with Manhattan's wild side!