New York City is one of the most amazing locations in the world. Easily among the most recognizable and renowned cities, NYC is the sort of place people can feel a special kind of connection to. Even people who have never visited New York City can instantly identify its main landmarks and locations like Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building.

More ideas: Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips

Anything seems possible in New York City. Whether you’re moving there to start a new life or simply visiting on vacation, it’s the sort of place where you can enjoy almost any kind of activity. The city is filled with museums, galleries, live entertainment venues, sightseeing spots, world class restaurants, lively bars, exciting nightclubs, and so much more. There are, however, a few activities that can’t be enjoyed in the heart of Manhattan.

Hiking is one clear example. NYC is a massive metropolis. It’s not the sort of place where you can really feel in touch with nature and breath in the fresh air of forests and mountains. Fortunately, there are actually plenty of great hiking spots not too far outside the big city. You only need to drive a short distance or hop on public transport out of NYC to get to some superb hiking trails. Here are some of the best NYC hiking day trips you can try out.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail runs for over 2,000 miles, making it one of the longest and most amazing hiking trails on Earth, and you can enjoy a small section of it with ease by heading out of NYC in your car or taking the Metro-North from Grand Central. Once you arrive, you can choose from multiple sections of the trail, with some being much more challenging than others, and then set off.

Breakneck Ridge

Breakneck Ridge is another excellent option for a hiking day trip out of NYC, and you can get there on the Metro-North or simply by driving for about an hour out of the city. This hike climbs up and up, so you'll need to have some energy bars on hand to make it to the top, but you'll be rewarded with some amazing views. The hike runs for about four miles in total and is well-suited to people with a moderate level of physical fitness.

Ice Caves and Verkeerderkill Falls

The Ice Caves and Verkeerderkill Falls Trail is one of the most popular hiking routes near NYC. It runs for about seven miles and can take a few hours to finish, but it feels like you're traveling through a fairy tale landscape the whole way as you squeeze through narrow ice caves and admire the unmatched beauty of the Verkeerderkill Falls. You can get there by driving or taking the Short Line bus out of NYC to Ellenville and then taking a taxi round to Sam's Point Preserve.

Anthony’s Nose

Anthony’s Nose is a good option for those who don't have too much experience with hiking or are just looking for quite a simple but spectacular hike to take on with friends and family in a leisurely way. You can get here by taking the Metro North to Manitou and walking about a mile to the trail. The trail itself runs for around two and a half miles.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail Hiking Day Trip from NYC

You don't even need to leave NYC to enjoy this hiking trail. Head out to the Bronx to Pelham Bay Park to find the Kazimiroff Nature Trail. It's a short and mostly flat hike, so it's good for families, and the surrounding scenery really feels a million miles away from the crowded streets and noise of NYC.

Mount Beacon Park Hiking Day Trip from NYC

Like many hiking spots outside NYC, you can get to Mount Beacon Park by taking the Metro North line. You'll travel on the line up to Beacon station and then have quite a scenic walk up to the start of the trail to the top of Mount Beacon, which is the highest point in the whole of the Hudson Highlands, reaching a total elevation of 1,611 feet above sea level. The hike is only a mile long and gives you breathtaking views over the Hudson Valley.

Stairway to Heaven Trail Hiking Day Trip from NYC

Fittingly named, the Stairway to Heaven Trail features a very steep section that really does feel like you're going to climb up into the clouds, but it's one of the most rewarding hikes in the area. It's about 50 miles away from NYC, so getting here can take a little while in a car or via the NJ Transit buses over to Warwick, but it's worth the trip for the views alone.