I’ve been retired almost a year now from teaching and I’ve discovered that I really like the outdoors and walking the trails of Long Island. I have hiked trails in Hawaii, Martinique, Puerto Rico and many other places, but you can get that feeling of escaping it all, right in your own backyard.
Three recent trails I have visited are Cold Spring Harbor State Park, Trail View Trail, and Stillwell Woods Preserve. Each one of these trails were different and offered visitors a different kind of experience.
The Cold Spring Harbor Trail is a tough one. My daughter and I chose to do this trail on my birthday. I like to confirm I still got it lol after 56 years on this earth. This trail is 4.2 miles in length out and back. This is not a loop trail. Basically, whatever you climb up you need to climb back down. It is characterized as an intermediate trail.
The Cold Spring Harbor Trail starts out with a steep climb up and makes you wonder what you are getting yourself into. Along the way you have some choices of the best way for you to safely make your way through the trail. Most of the trail is a hard dirt surface with occasional rocky areas and branches that are underground. In many places you are ascending and then suddenly there’s a downward trail that has you side stepping to keep a strong footing. I saw many people using hiking poles to help them along. The trail gives you great views of the harbor and is a beautiful wooded area. Many people bring their leashed dog along for the hike and there are even joggers. Some people appear to walk the trail regularly as a means of exercise.
Trail View State Park runs between Bethpage State Park and Cold Spring State Park and is considered to be part of the Nassau/Suffolk Greenbelt Trail. It is located on Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury. It is right next to the Stop & Shop and has its own free parking. Like most parks it is open dawn till dusk. I chose this trail to walk on Mother’s Day because we went as a family on this walk, and it is mostly flat and linear. There is a walking path and a separate mountain bike path. On our return trip we cut off to the mountain bike trail which made it slightly more interesting with more highs and lows and twists and turns.
All in all the Trail View State Park Trail was very enjoyable. We did see and hear many birds along the way and would be a great place for birdwatchers. In the springtime everything was very green and beautiful as the filtered sun dappled our trail along the way. I do have a sudden intrigue in learning more about this mountain biking. I am a regular bike rider on newly created bike paths around Long Island.
Stillwell Woods Preserve was a really nice place! As you drive in there’s a ball field that normally would be occupied and a few people flying kites. You need to keep walking to the back to see where the entrance to the trails are located. We seemed to see three distinct trails. One for walking and 2 for mountain bikes, but you could still walk the mountain bike path. That’s what my daughter and I decided we were going to do.
The trail was very different than other trails we have been exploring. Everything was so green and kind of glowing. We seemed to need to walk at a faster pace as we made our way twisting and turning through narrow paths.A few mountain bikers came by, but we just simply step to the side out of the way. They really seemed to be enjoying the struggle of it all.
The path was a loop and clearly marked. I really enjoyed all the highs and lows and twists and turns and felt like I got a good workout. We checked out the other bike path too which seemed to be much tamer as was the walking path. One thing I will say about Stillwell Woods Preserve was that everyone was all smiles and very friendly. I really like this place and will definitely return.
Cold Spring Harbor is great when you want a challenge. Trail View State Park was nice, but probably a one time thing. Stillwell Woods Preserve is a place I would visit again and again.