Do you want to find the best Long Island hiking trails? Whether working or living on the island—or both—it’s easy to forget that we have access to some of the most breathtaking hikes, complete with ocean views, sea and plant life, and so many beautiful birds.
With all that beauty, where should you start hiking Long Island? Of course, that answer depends on a lot of things—the length of trail you feel comfortable with, the area you want to explore, the weather, and your current level of physical fitness.
In a minute, we’ll share some of our favorite Long Island trails. But, before you start lacing up those hiking boots, your podiatrists in Massapequa need to stop for a brief safety break.
Staying Safe on Long Island Hiking Trails
When you head out to find places to hike on Long Island, you have to pay close attention to your footgear. If you’ll be walking up or down steep hills, or going on trails with uneven surfaces, hiking boots are a good idea, since they’ll give you extra ankle stability. (And lower your risk for twisting your ankle on the trail.)
Don’t have hiking boots? Not a problem. Try a high-topped sneaker, or even a good stable walking shoe that gives your feet lots of support, and plenty of shock absorption.
Next, before you start walking on the trail, make sure to warm up a little. Hiking is more strenuous than just walking down the street, so you should stretch for a few minutes before getting started. This can help you stay loose on your hike, and avoid overuse injuries.
Best Stretches for Hiking Long Island
What’s the best warmup to do before a hike? Checkout these suggestions from Backroads, designed to get you ready to hike Long Island safely.
Calf stretch: Point your left foot forward, then step your right foot back. Place your hands on a tree or wall and bend your left leg deeply, holding the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Quad stretch: With feet hip width apart, and your thighs and knees in alignment, raise your right leg, kick up the heel, and grab your foot with your right hand. Keep your left leg and posture straight and hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Hamstring stretch: Stand up and slightly bend your left leg, straightening your right leg in front of you. Push hips forward until you feel a stretch in your right leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
After you return to the trail head, don’t forget your cooldown stretches. These moves will keep your muscles from tightening up and pulling at the tendons in your feet and ankles, helping protect you from heel pain tomorrow morning.
Thigh stretch: Stand with your legs apart and toes pointing forward. Bend your right, turning slightly toward the right leg, and pull yourself closer to the right calf with your hands, holding for 30 seconds before switching to your left side.
Low lunge: From a plank position, move your right foot next to your right hand, rocking slightly or lowering to your elbows if you have the flexibility. Hold for 15-20 seconds, then return your right foot to the original position and repeat with the left foot. You can also do this stretch with your knees on the ground for added stability.
Ankle stretches: Sit on the ground and extend your legs in front of you. Flex each foot up and down several times. Now, make 10 clockwise and 10 counterclockwise circles with each ankle.
Remember, these stretches should feel pretty good. Mild discomfort is fine—and pretty normal, especially after a long and strenuous hike. But if you feel something more than a little tightness, that could be a sign of injury. In that case, you should make an immediate appointment with our podiatrists in Massapequa. And, with safety covered, we can finally get back to sharing our favorite Long Island hiking trails with you.
5 Best Hiking Trails Nassau County
Long Island is a vast and wonderful place to explore. But because our Massapequa podiatry practice is located here in Nassau Country, that’s where we’ll focus our recommendations for Long Island hiking trails.
1. Massapequa Preserve
The 432-acre preserve, here in our backyard, feels like a forest oasis in the middle of bustling Nassau County. Within its borders, you can find close to 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking, many of which allow you to hike Long Island with stunning lake views. (And opportunities to stop and fish.) While they may take a while to get you there, the trails all spit you out at Cedar Beach and Cold Spring Harbor. Which brings us to rec number two…
2. Cold Spring Harbor State Park
While this park’s 40 acres are tree-filled and beautiful, the trails are fairly steep, with plenty of hills, so this Long Island hiking trail is best for the more experienced hikers in your home.
3. Cedar Creek Park
Choose Cedar Creek Park for a great day hiking with the full family. There are shorter and longer walking trails in the park, and there are additional kid-friendly attractions nearby to round out the day once you’re done with the trails.
4. Sands Point Preserve
There are both walking trails and historical buildings and gardens on the 216-acre, New York State owned Sands Point Preserve. While you’ll have to pay a small admission fee to enter, you can also enjoy a lovely picnic on the grounds, bring the pooch (on a leash please) for a cliff hike with views, and even check out the preserve’s Dino trail for an amateur fossil hunt.
5. Walt Whitman Trail
Running around the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site, this 8-mile Long Island hiking trail eventually hooks up with the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail. Along the way, you’ll pass Jayne’s Hill—Long Island’s highest view point—as well as the historical landmark honoring the poet who gives the trail its name.
Keep Hiking Long Island with the Massapequa Podiatrists
Love to hike, but hate how your feet feel achy after an active day on the trails? Don’t let foot or heel pain keep you from the Long Island trails. Instead, schedule an appointment with our podiatrists in Massapequa at the first sign of discomfort. We’ll get to the bottom of your foot pain and get you back into hiking boots as soon as possible!