New York City: Orchard Beach - Twin Island Loop

Sample sylvan forests, a beachside boardwalk, and rocky island shores on this 5.6-mile dayhike in New York City's largest park, Pelham Bay.
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Sample sylvan forests, a beachside boardwalk, and rocky island shores on this 5.6-mile dayhike in New York City's largest park, Pelham Bay.

From quiet, lush woodlands to brackish wetlands, Gneiss islands and isolated, rocky coastline, Pelham Bay Park showcases some of the most diverse scenery in New York’s five boroughs. The 5-mile route from Orchard Beach to the park’s northern islands is no exception.
From the Bx29 bus stop, take the Mosholu-Pelham Greenway through a corridor of deciduous forest. The route curves around a lagoon with stunning salt marshes. It then slices through secluded woodlands on the Siwanoy Trail. Shortly thereafter Orchard Beach and the Long Island Sound stretch across the landscape. Cruise the boardwalk from jetty to jetty, finishing on the north side of the public beach.
A dirt path traverses East Island’s forests and bay shores. Continue over the thin, sandy barrier to Two Trees Island. Egrets fish along the waterfront. An abandoned sailboat rests partially capsized in the bay. Looking eastward, tiny, rock islands dot the Sound’s waters. After enjoying the vistas at Two Trees Island, head back to the promenade along Orchard Beach.
Turn right immediately after the Nature Center to explore West Island. The trail traces salt marshes, ending at the cove between Hunter and the Twin islands. Horseshoe crabs and other shellfish nearly cover the sands during low tide.
When finished, retrace steps back to the start of the hike.
-Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan

Mass transit from Manhattan: Ride the 6 to Parkchester, then transfer to the 6 extension to Pelham Bay. Take the Bx29 to the start of the hike. During summer, Bx29 bus also goes directly to the bus terminal at Orchard Beach.

From Manhattan: Take 9A North to exit 14 for I-95. Keep right at the fork to merge onto I-95 North. Stay left at the fork, following signs for I-95/Cross Bronx Expressway, and merge onto I-95 North. At 8.1 miles, take exit 8B for Pelham Parkway. Continue straight onto Shore Road. Turn right at City Island Road. The start of the hike is across the street. To continue to parking, follow City Island Road around the traffic circle. Merge onto Park Drive. The parking lot is on the right.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.1

Waypoints

PEL001

Location: 40.864232, -73.812888

From Bx29 bus stop, cross street and go R at the sign for Central Woodland.

PEL002

Location: 40.862431, -73.802331

Cross Park Drive and continue north on the greenway.

PEL003

Location: 40.864826, -73.80118

Reach Siwanoy Trailhead and turn R onto the dirt singletrack.

PEL004

Location: 40.865302, -73.797178

End Siwanoy Trail. Bear R @ Y-junction. Pass bus stops on the left.

PEL005

Location: 40.8646978, -73.794739

Turn R @ T-junction, merging onto the boardwalk at Orchard Beach.

PEL006

Location: 40.861194, -73.791934

When after reaching the south end of the boardwalk, walk to the northern end.

PEL007

Location: 40.865623, -73.7943558

Pass pavilion on left. Services available during summer only.

PEL008

Location: 40.8699718, -73.784854

Reach opposite end of promenade where the Long Island Sound unfolds. Turn around and bear R @ first trail to the Twin Island Preserve.

PEL009

Location: 40.870229, -73.785376

Turn R @ sign for Twin Island Preserve. Enter East Island.

PEL010

Location: 40.872497, -73.784315

Bear R @ sign for Two Trees Island.

PEL011

Location: 40.8734602, -73.7835467

Reach Two Trees Island. When finished with the scenery, retrace steps back to East Island.

PEL012

Location: 40.871191, -73.7842298

Turn R onto second spur trail.

PEL013

Location: 40.871255, -73.784953

Turn L @ T-junction.

PEL014

Location: 40.871222, -73.784913

Bear R @ Y-junction.

PEL015

Location: 40.870996, -73.784909

Bear R @ four-way.

PEL016

Location: 40.870284, -73.785383

Turn R onto boardwalk.

PEL017

Location: 40.87037, -73.786545

Pass Orchard Beach Nature Center.

PEL018

Location: 40.8703688, -73.7870438

Turn R @ sign for Twin Island. Enter West Island.

PEL019

Location: 40.8719168, -73.7859875

Bear R @ T-junction.

PEL020

Location: 40.8722535, -73.7861565

Reach jetty on Twin Island. Retrace steps back to start of the hike.

PEL021

Location: 40.870284, -73.788393

Option: Bear R onto trail to Hunter Island for an additional 2.5 miles.

Central Woodland

Location: 40.8644261, -73.8126969

Lagoon

Location: 40.8625437, -73.8061309

Flowers

Location: 40.8641503, -73.8015282

Siwanoy Trail

Location: 40.8647913, -73.8011956

Secluded woods

Location: 40.8650996, -73.8006485

Orchard Beach

Location: 40.8637486, -73.7945759

Long Island Sound

Location: 40.8624707, -73.7939537

East Island

Location: 40.8707952, -73.7835521

Two Trees Island

Location: 40.8721094, -73.7835681

Heading toward Two Trees

Location: 40.871647, -73.7838471

View of Hunter Island

Location: 40.8723366, -73.7842655

Egret

Location: 40.8729775, -73.7841904

More egrets

Location: 40.8711116, -73.7849844

Marshland on West Island

Location: 40.8718985, -73.7859285

More salt marshes

Location: 40.8722068, -73.7861323