Recently added to your family but still hoping to cover some ground this season? You don’t have to stop hiking just because you now have a baby in the mix. We found lots of stroller-friendly trails and hikes near NYC, to help keep your family active and outdoors. From city parks to scenic waterways, within the city and further afield, these are the best places to take a hike with your baby on board!

Stroller Hikes in City Parks

photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Prospect Park Loop

This is less of a hike and more of a nice leisurely stroll that winds around the park. The paved road is wide and perfect for joggers and cyclists, of which there are often many — though there are designated lanes for bicycles and joggers, so you can walk safely. (Still, remain alert!)

Enjoy sights of trees, flowers (in spring) and the lake (and the many water birds that flock to it) and take breaks as needed with the benches that line the loop. Water fountains can also be found along the trail.

Watch out for some hills that may prove difficult with a stroller — cyclists certainly find them a bit challenging! If the loop is too long for you and your little one, you can always cut across the park halfway through to form a smaller circle.

Online: prospectpark.org

photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Central Park Reservoir Running Path

Though Central Park has many trails that you can follow, the path around the reservoir is one of the best choices for parents with strollers who are looking to get fit. The 1.58-mile path, officially called the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Running Track, is a popular choice for runners, though it doesn't get too crowded most of the time. Due to its popularity, the path is well-maintained and smooth all around. 

The trail leads all the way around the Central Park reservoir and offers great views of the water as well as the cityscape surrounding the park. It's also a good spot for bird watching, so long as you stay out of the runners' way. 

If you visit this path, be sure to follow it in a counter-clockwise direction, to keep the foot traffic all going in the same direction.

Online: centralparknyc.org

photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Central Park's Paved Paths

If you'd rather walk than run, Central Park has many stroller-friendly paths all across the park. 

You can walk around the Great Lawn Oval, a paved path that'll take you around the lawn, allowing for some great people-watching (and some chance encounters with friendly dogs, if that's something you enjoy!). 

The 1.7-mile path around the southern tip of the park features a wide variety of views as well as great spots to take a break and let the kids play, like a carousel and playground. You can also follow the path up the sides of the park from the southern end to the reservoir, if you're looking for a longer walk.

The north end of the park is a bit less maneuverable with a stroller — though some paved paths do exist along the perimeter of the park, much of the North Woods is better for actual hiking than stroller walks.

Online: centralparknyc.org

Mosholu-Pelham Greenway

This lengthy and popular path will take you all the way from Pelham Bay Park to Van Cortlandt Park, passing through the Bronx's Mosholu Parkway on the way. Due to the length of the path (a whopping 10+ miles!), we recommend taking just one end of the path at a time. 

Whether you start in Pelham or Van Cortlandt, the Greenway offers a paved path for stroller-wielders to follow. You can enjoy the walk itself, across the Bronx's great parks, or use it as a starting point for more adventures, as the trail veers off into playgrounds, golf courses, Orchard Beach and City Island, and much more.

Clove Lakes Park Loop 

Enjoy a two-mile gorgeous, scenic path through Staten Island's Clove Lakes Park. Although the path is wide and stroller-friendly, it's surrounded by wild flora and fauna, making it a great way to leave the bustle of the city behind for a bit.

The path will take you through winding but accessible paths, bridges, lakes and ponds, as well as some impressive rock outcroppings. The path is fairly flat and easy to maneuver. You're going to want to stop to smell the flowers — whether literally or figuratively. Keep an eye out for turtles and water birds in the park's waters!

While you're here, don't forget to stop by the northwestern part of the park, where a 107-foot tall, 300-year-old tulip tree holds the prestigious title of the oldest living thing on Staten Island.

Online: nycgovparks.org

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Paths

This paved, relatively flat path is fairly long at 5.6 miles, but multiple access paths make it easy to start and stop your walk at any point in the park. 

Though this is a nice scenic path to take with a stroller, there are a few things to watch out for: There's often some flooding near the water after it rains, the bridge near the Unisphere, the park's famous globe, is a bit steep for stroller wheels, and some sections of the path are cracking or bumpy, so watch your step.

Aside from those caveats, this is a path on the wilder side that isn't that heavily trafficked and has some opportunities to explore the history and culture of the area, mainly the site of the 1964 World's Fair.

Online: nycgovparks.org

photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

The High Line

Though it's a fairly small park (even by NYC standards), we'd be remiss not to mention the 1.45-mile High Line. This elevated park is situated on a piece of an old NYC railway and is now home to plenty of greenery and artwork. 

The High Line can be reached via elevators, making it easy to access with a stroller. Although the straight boarded path is well-maintained and even, note that it's very narrow in many sections and you might get caught in foot traffic.

Online: thehighline.org

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Though a wildlife refuge may seem like it would be too, well, wild to navigate with a stroller, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is actually suitable for a stroller-accompanied walk on the wild side. 

Grab a map and borrow a pair of binoculars at the visitor's center at the start of the refuge, then head down the under two-mile West Pond walk. This path is paved with even gravel, making it the easiest to traverse with a stroller. You can also ask a park ranger at the visitor's center for their advice on the best path to take.

Along your walk, you'll encounter, of course, many birds — the large variety in the vegetation and landscape type means that nearly half the bird species in the northeast can be viewed at the refuge throughout the year. Depending on what season you visit, keep an eye out for nesting ospreys and, if you're really lucky, some baby turtles making their journey to the water!

Be sure to cover the stroller with a bug net, wear long pants and bring bug spray in the warmer months, since the many plants along the trail make this spot pretty buggy.

Online:nps.gov

Beyond Manhattan: Visit a Stroller-friendly Island

Little Island

Little Island opened in May 2021, making it NYC's newest island. This man-made floating park is fully accessible to wheelchairs and strollers (though strollers aren't allowed in The Amph, where many shows are held). 

The island features gently sloping pathways, many plants and flowers to enjoy, as well as performances and artworks by local artists.

Please note that through September 30, Little Island requires a timed entry ticket after 12 p.m., with times available every half an hour.

photo: Trust for Governors Island

Governors Island

Just a seven-minute ferry ride away from the city, Governor's Island is a car-free getaway. Once you get off the ferry (at either end of the island), extremely wide paved paths wind their way around the entire island with plenty to do along the way. The streets are specially designed with bicycles and pedal buggies in mind, so they're incredibly easy to navigate with a stroller — even on crowded days, there's still plenty of space to move around.

There are some gentle slopes, though nothing too difficult for a stroller. If you're willing to step off the path, there are many attractions to visit, like little museums and art houses, three-story-tall slides, unique play spaces, a historic fort and military prison and much more. There are also often events and music playing in Nolan Park, which you can enjoy as you stroll through the area.

For a spectacular view of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty, as well as a bit of challenge with the stroller, head to the long ramp up to the outlook point in The Hills. 

Governors Island is open March through October.

Online: govisland.com

Roosevelt Island 

Another one of the city's accessible islands, Roosevelt Island is a nice place for a quiet walk. The paths are wide and paved, and though some areas do have some unpaved spots, there's always a way to stick to the pavement with your stroller. Be ready for some uphill climbs, as the path gets hilly in some sections — though it's easy going for the rest of its span.

As the main walkway winds around the perimeter of the island, you'll have a chance to see some spectacular water and city views. The path will also take you through a number of parks where you can take a breather, one of which features a historic lighthouse from the late 18th century! You'll also pass by the equally historic Smallpox Hospital, for a beautiful — if somewhat sinister — view into the city's history.

Online: rioc.ny.gov

Randall's Island Park 

This particular island is a very different style from the other two. Walk through wide roads along a very flat pathway, featuring views of meadows and a salt marsh. You'll also encounter a number of sports fields and great picnic spots. You'll also get a chance to walk under the 

This path feels less "wild" than many of the others that we've mentioned in this post, so it's a nice option if you want to enjoy a walk in the city but don't want to be surrounded by buildings. 

There are a few dead ends in this very long path of nearly nine miles, so be sure to bring a map if you intend to tackle it.

Online: randallsisland.org

Scenic Water Routes

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Brooklyn Bridge

For the ultimate scenic water route, why not walk over the water? A stroll along the pedestrian section of the famous Brooklyn Bridge is a truly New York experience. 

Along the way, be sure to take in the view, but also keep an eye out for "love locks" attached to the sides of the bridge, especially around the Manhattan tower area. 

Crossing the bridge does present a bit of a challenge, as the path is very straight and unshaded, making it feel longer than its 1.1-mile length. We recommend making this walk on weekdays, as the bridge tends to get crowded with foot traffic on weekends.

Hudson River Greenway 

This gentle walk along the west side of Manhattan has a very wide paved path perfect for strollers. The greenway spans the entire length of the island, so it's not feasible to walk its entire length in one go. 

We recommend the Battery Park section for a beautiful and very green walk, with plenty of chances to veer off the path and enjoy a day in the park itself. Another good spot to enjoy the greenway is along Riverside Park, for similarly spectacular views and scenic spots. As an added bonus, both parks are often hosting special events, many times especially for kids, so they're great spots to visit along your stroller hike.

Parts of the path do get very crowded, so keep this in mind when you plan your trip.

Online: citibikenyc.com

Shore Road Greenway

Stretching in two parts between Queens and Brooklyn, this greenway is another chance to enjoy a nice walk along the water, stroller in tow. The northern part of the greenway isn't consistently stroller-friendly, but the bottom portion of the trail, the western edge of Brooklyn from Owl's Head Park to Bensonhurst Park, is an excellent route for strollers. 

Though there's some sloping, the walkway is wide and meant for both pedestrians and bikers. 

The trail has beautiful views of the water and Verrazano Bridge(which is always further away than it looks!) and some great opportunities for bird watching. Though there are benches along the way for a break, note that there's little shade.

Online: nycgovparks.org

NYC's Boardwalks

For a very different kind of stroll, visit one of the city's boardwalks, where you're just a stone's throw away from the water. Smell the salt in the air! 

The main boardwalks in NYC are located in Bridgton Beach / Coney Island and Rockaway Beach, though you can also find a partial boardwalk along the water in DUMBO's Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. 

All the boardwalks feature flat boards great for strollers (though Coney Island's can get rickety in the older parts of the walk). They do tend to get crowded in the summer and cold in the winter, but the lively environment makes for a unique power walk by the water.

 

Outside of NYC

Cornish Estate Trail, near Cold Spring, NY

Located a little under two hours from the city, the Cornish Estate Trail is a perfect day trip spot for a stroller hike. This trail is often called one of the easiest hike in the Hudson Valley, as most of the path is composed of the fully paved road leading up to the old estate. 

The ruins of the old mansion and its accompanying buildings, and the surrounding forest make this an interesting walk, while the path makes it a fairly easy hike with a stroller.

Online: alltrails.com

Swan Lake Loop, near Hawthorne, NY

This path is a partially paved and gravel-lined stroller-friendly walk around a beautiful lake in the Rockafeller State Park Preserve. It's located just about an hour from the city and is manageable for any level of hiker, with or without a stroller. The area might be a bit too uneventful for older kids, but it's perfect for a leisurely walk if you just want to enjoy the scenery. 

As this is a popular path, it does sometimes get crowded. There are also plenty of paths you can follow off the lake loop, some of which are also stroller-friendly. For a further adventure in the area, check out the Thirteen Bridges loop, which does, indeed, have 13 bridges.

Online: parks.ny.gov/parks

featured image: Amanda G. via Yelp

—Yuliya Geikhman

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