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Backpacker Magazine – October 2009

Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

by: Adrienne Saia Isaac

Hohokam Petroglyphs, Phoenix's South Mountain (Jon Mancuso)
Hohokam Petroglyphs, Phoenix's South Mountain (Jon Mancuso)
San Diego, CA (Brett Holman)
San Diego, CA (Brett Holman)
Coastal Trail, Golden Gate Recreation Area (Ed Callaert)
Coastal Trail, Golden Gate Recreation Area (Ed Callaert)

The Wild Edge: Exploring Portland's Forest Park
When urban trails blend with raw wilderness, the sum is much greater than the parts. By Bill Donahue

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Phoenix | San Diego | San Francisco | Boston | New York | Philadelphia | Chicago | Seattle | Los Angeles | Austin

New York City, NY
Find a rare slice of woodland quiet in the original big-city park.

Central Park is the country's most popular urban green space, with about 25 million annual visitors (for comparison, that's almost three times more than the most popular national park). But even in the heart of Manhattan you can find a spot that feels like wilderness (all things considered). Kate Sheleg, of the Central Park Conservancy, says the secret slice of wild is in the North Woods section. Enter the park at The Pool entrance, at Central Park West and 102nd Street. Head north on West Drive to the North Woods, and wander at will on unmarked paths (stop at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center–110th between 5th and Lenox–to pick up an area map). The 90-acre hideaway harbors several waterfalls, including one 14-footer, all hidden in a dense stand of black cherry, American beech, oak, and maple trees. The wildflower meadow in the stream-fed Ravine, with aster, jewelweed, and woodland goldenrod, has the most diverse collection of flora in the city. centralparknyc.org




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READERS COMMENTS

Eric
Nov 18, 2009

I think you forgot Portland.

gordon larson
Nov 12, 2009

that's the very area i like to hike when i'm in nyc after some appalachian tr hiking. get to nyc a day before your departure flight, the hostel's only a half mile from the park. a few blocks from the subway. perfect.

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