NASSAU SUFFOLK GREENBELT TRAIL

I have biked different parts of this trail and completed different distances per visit. I love this place for it’s location, access and options. Want to walk hand in hand with a loved one? Want to fish without having to take the boat out? Want to bike 20 miles? Want paved or dirt paths? Want to hang out with the resident swans, ducks, geese, fish, etc? It’s a versatile trail with a little bit for everyone.

My brother and I went for a bike ride Sunday. This time we started on Sunrise highway, unlike last time where we started on Merrick Rd. The good thing is that there are several different places you can park along the way. I’ve parked in Plainview and headed south on the trail too. You can essentially choose to start the trail wherever you find an entrance. Just please park responsibly and be courteous to the neighboring residents when deciding where to leave your vehicle.

The trail begins in Cold Spring Harbor and ends in Massapequa. Here’s a screenshot of my google maps so you can get an idea of the trail and it’s location.

There’s a few things you should pay attention to when biking this trail.

  • 1. Always stay to the right and be courteous to the pedestrians sharing the trails.
  • 2. There are dirt paths as well, but pay attention to fallen trees (my brother was almost taken out by one as he likes to pedal fast).
  • 3. Bring bug spray, especially if you’re going in the later afternoon.
  • 4. STOP at the stop signs when crossing roads or ramps. The cars are supposed to yield, but wait until they come to a complete stop before crossing (better safe than sorry).
  • 5. As expected, bring enough water. Especially in the summer months.

There isn’t much else to say about this trail… So I’m going to share pictures from different parts of the trail below. These pictures are compiled from the different times I’ve gone throughout the years. My hope is that if you haven’t gone to this park yet and live locally, that you would take advantage of this backyard space we all share. It may not be a crazy mountain or have spectacular 360 views, but it’s a great place to forget we live in a densely populated suburban area for a while. And if you have gone, maybe I’ll see you there sometime soon!

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”

– Gary Snyder
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BREAKNECK RIDGE – OPTION 1

GPS: 41.443263, -73.977531

TIME: 2H

LENGTH: 3.7 MILES

ELEVATION: 1,442 ft

I had received a text from my friend Nicole asking if I would be interested in going for a hike. Without hesitating I said yes. I had gone hiking before in Cold Spring Harbor in Huntington. Cold Spring is 1.8 miles long and has an elevation gain of 377 ft. This however, was not going to be easy….

We parked the car on the side of the road of 9D near the trailhead. During the summer months there is a table set up for hikers with volunteers handing out trail maps and information. They are so helpful and answer so many questions. There are also a set of port-a-potties set up near the trailhead.

So we started this hike at 10:00am and it took us 4 long sweaty hours to complete. We took a dozen breaks while scrambling and perched on several rocks. Thank goodness for the water we brought with us because it was much-needed. Gotta stay hydrated!!!

HIKE INFO

Right away the hike starts gaining elevation. The trail goes over the 9D tunnel and the white trail begins. This is the Breakneck Ridge Trail. You’ll follow this trail all the way up to the first lookout. There are areas where the white trail goes left or right (marked by white arrows). We went left because we were told it was the easier way up. Upon return trips however, we’ve taken the right side. The right side is definitely scarier as it’s exposed to the sheer drop offs, but better views for sure. I’ll add some of those additional pictures from other trips at the end of this post.

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Ever so often you should take a look over your shoulder when you need a break. You could miss some pretty neat views of the Hudson as you make your way up.

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You will need both your hands and feet for the scrambling. I suggest taking off any rings you don’t want to bang up too badly.

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We took a rest and got this nice pano with Storm King across the river to the left. I’ve done that hike as well and I’ll make sure to write a post about that fun hike soon!

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Just keep climbing.

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Some markers will be nailed onto tree trunks, others will be white rectangular blazes spray painted onto trees or rocks.

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Luckily for us the trail was dry on this first attempt. It takes longer and demands more efforts when it has rained or still has ice on the ground.

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Finally you get to the flag you can see when driving north on 9D. Stop and take in the scenery, it’s nice up there!

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There are plenty of people swapping phones for photo opportunities. So Nicole and I snagged this picture at the flag with the Hudson in the background.

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I was feeling particularly brave that day and decided to head down to a better vantage point. Fair warning though, jumping down was pretty easy. The climbing back up was not. It took some momentum and jumping to reach the ledge I’d so willingly jumped down from lol. Lesson learned!

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Pretty views though!

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After letting all the sights sink in for a bit, we continued our hike. The white trail is met by the yellow Undercliff Trail pictured below. We made this right and bid the white trail goodbye.

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The yellow trail has undergone many changes since we first hiked there. Markers have been moved and “stairs” have been put in place. There are areas where you gain elevation, but overall you are now heading down to complete the loop. We did see a snake that we believe to be a milk snake while on the yellow trail. He was way more scared of me than I of him and he quickly slithered away. I didn’t have time to snap a picture but here’s exactly what it looked like and a quick description.

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There’s a green trail you can take to make the loop shorter. But we continued on the yellow until we got to this Murray’s Bridge.

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Here’s a picture of Nicole slipping on the rocks around the creek. It is very slippery. Shortly after I fell as well because why not? LOL! I saved my phone from ending up in the water, which was in my hand on the way down.

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While walking the yellow trail you’ll encounter the red trail which is called the Brook Trail. This is the trail that will later dump you out onto 9D to your car.

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It’s very well-marked and hard to miss.

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The Cornish Estate lies between the red and blue trail (Brook Trail and Cornish Trail respectively). There’s some pretty neat ruins throughout the area.

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Finally when you make it to the road, make a right. It’s just a quick walk to make your way through the tunnel and back to your car. And you’re done!

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Like I said, the first time we did this hike it took us four hours! We have done this hike several times now. It takes us approximately 2 hours now to do start to finish. As promised, here are some pictures from the other times we’ve done the hike. Enjoy!

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