New York, NY: Brooklyn Bridge to Jamaica Bay

Take a different kind of backpacking trip in the concrete jungle.
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Take a different kind of backpacking trip in the concrete jungle.

Stroll through New York City's diverse neighborhoods and parks in this three-day, 23.5-mile route that comes complete with iconic landmarks, great people watching and a surprising amount of wildlife. 

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 38.2

Waypoints

NYC001

Location: 40.71253, -74.004644

Begin by crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. Take in views of the Statute of Liberty, Empire State Building and Freedom Tower while weaving through throngs of tourists.

NYC002

Location: 40.696646, -73.988789

At end of bridge, turn left onto Tillary St. and go two blocks.

NYC003

Location: 40.696274, -73.984955

Make a right onto Flatbush Ave.

NYC004

Location: 40.68632, -73.979256

Take in a movie or show at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

NYC005

Location: 40.683895, -73.977658

The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Their arena, being built here, is scheduled to open for the 2012-13 season.

NYC006

Location: 40.672127, -73.965068

A short detour down Eastern Pkwy. takes you to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum.

NYC007

Location: 40.672578, -73.969899

Enter Prospect Park across the street from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch. A farmers' market is here on Saturdays. Take the footpath with hexagonal patterns engraved in the pavement, located to the left of the road for cars and bikes.

NYC008

Location: 40.671085, -73.968995

Cross under Endale Arch.

NYC009

Location: 40.664382, -73.970393

At the multi-pronged fork, make a right for camping near the Picnic House. Play catch with a football or Frisbee in the Long Meadow. On Day 2, return to the fork and cross the bridge, following the signs to the Audubon Center. Keep left at the next fork.

NYC010

Location: 40.662653, -73.969378

Before an underpass, go up the steps and merge onto Center Drive.

NYC011

Location: 40.657536, -73.97216

Climb the steps off to the left of Center Drive to arrive at Lookout Hill, an excellent spot for migrating songbirds. Then proceed down the other side of the hill and circumnavigate the lake counterclockwise, stopping occasionally to scan for turtles and waterfowl.

NYC012

Location: 40.655162, -73.962613

Exit the park at the corner of Ocean Ave. and Parkside Ave.

NYC013

Location: 40.655671, -73.959966

After walking one block on Parkside Ave., make a right back onto Flatbush Ave. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the West Indian neighborhood.

NYC014

Location: 40.632819, -73.947794

Detour down Hillel Pl. and onto the Brooklyn College campus for a look at wild monk parakeets. The best place to see them is by the athletic field on the corner of Campus Rd. and E. 22nd St.

NYC015

Location: 40.598884, -73.910544

Go over the Belt Pkwy., being careful to avoid merging cars.

NYC016

Location: 40.590444, -73.900637

Enter Floyd Bennett Field, a decommissioned airport. Continue hiking in the North Forty Natural Area, go indoor rock climbing or ice skating at the Aviator Sports and Events Center, or bring your pole for saltwater fishing.

NYC017

Location: 40.59482, -73.885248

Make your way down the abandoned runways and access roads to the National Park Service-run campground.

NYC018

Location: 40.579595, -73.889502

On Day 3, leave Floyd Bennett Field and cross over the Marine Park-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge into Queens. Keep your eyes peeled for nesting peregrine falcons, plus views of Coney Island and Manhattan.

NYC019

Location: 40.568422, -73.881989

Exit onto a bike path and loop under the bridge, hugging the shore. The dilapidated bike path eventually turns into a dilapidated sidewalk.

NYC020

Location: 40.575215, -73.863366

Bang a right onto B 145th St. Then continue straight for three blocks.

NYC021

Location: 40.570865, -73.86083

Turn left onto Rockaway Beach Blvd. Access the beach at any point for a swim, or continue toward Boarders Surf Shop (192 B 92nd St.) to rent a surfboard and wetsuit.

NYC022

Location: 40.584, -73.823313

Turn right on B 102nd St. and then make a quick left to remain on Rockaway Beach Blvd.

NYC023

Location: 40.585916, -73.817027

Bear left onto B 94th St.

NYC024

Location: 40.588782, -73.817225

Locate the pedestrian ramp for Cross Bay Bridge next to a McDonald's. More views of Manhattan.

NYC025

Location: 40.616929, -73.824448

Enter the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center on the left side of Cross Bay Blvd. Take the West Pond loop trail, watching for over 300 bird species, raccoons, horseshoe crabs and diamondback terrapins.

NYC026

Location: 40.616978, -73.824711

The hike is over. Take the Q53 bus and transfer to the A subway line toward Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge

Location: 40.707905, -73.999186

The Manhattan-side tower of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Manhattan Skyline

Location: 40.705756, -73.996698

The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the rest of the midtown Manhattan skyline, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Downtown Brooklyn

Location: 40.695766, -73.984397

A skyscraper in Downtown Brooklyn.

Clock Tower

Location: 40.686187, -73.978822

This building, filled with luxury loft condominiums, was until recently the tallest in the borough.

Prospect Park

Location: 40.672436, -73.96951

The footpath into Prospect Park, directly across from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch.

Endale Arch

Location: 40.670971, -73.968952

Go through Endale Arch and into Long Meadow.

Magnolia Blossoms

Location: 40.670027, -73.969102

The sign of a beautiful spring day.

Field

Location: 40.666577, -73.969638

One of many fields within Prospect Park.

Picnic House

Location: 40.665706, -73.971741

Camping takes place outside of this building three times per year.

Stairs

Location: 40.662817, -73.969456

These stairs come out at Center Drive.

Lake

Location: 40.655069, -73.971913

This large body of water in Prospect Park is a favorite for mute swans, ruddy ducks, northern shovelers, mallards and other waterfowl.

Three Sisters

Location: 40.653962, -73.96804

Scan the "Three Sisters" islands for herons and egrets.

Park Entrance

Location: 40.654955, -73.961924

The entrance to the park at Ocean Ave. and Parkside Ave.

Erasmus Hall

Location: 40.650087, -73.958437

This building is actually a high school.

Floyd Bennett Field

Location: 40.59336, -73.888807

Dozens of brant, a type of goose, feed in the grasses, along with a single gull.

Brooklyn Shoreline

Location: 40.576836, -73.886919

A view from the Marine Park-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.

Jamaica Bay

Location: 40.592708, -73.819842

A view from the Cross Bay Bridge.

West Pond

Location: 40.61594, -73.829327

A duck-filled West Pond, with Manhattan barely visible in the background.