One of Sarah Lawrence's selling points is its proximity to New York City. Students often hop on the train to take advantage of everything the big city has to offer; however, because the school is also right next door to the Catskill Mountains, the Gunks climbing range, as well as numerous state parks, students also have access to a plethora of hikes and other outdoor activities.
Here is a list of hikes to go on before bundling up for a hopefully-not-too-long winter:
Riverside Walk in Bronxville is a path that follows the Bronx river— and is within walking distance from SLC! It begins at the end of Parkway Road, next to the Bronx River Parkway. To get there, walk down Kimball Avenue to Palmer Avenue, then turn right as if walking to the train station. When you reach the traffic circle at Parkway Road, turn right (toward Chantilly Patisserie) and walk all the way down the road. It goes for about a quarter mile through a nice neighborhood, but ends rather abruptly where there are "ROAD CLOSED" signs. A paved footpath will be on your left., which will take you under two bridges, through marshland and plenty of tree cover, and eventually deposit you at Scout Field, where there is a sports field and dog park. The exit road at Scout Field will let you out on a branch of Midland Avenue, right across from where you started on Parkway Road.
Bronx River Parkway Park has beautiful paths with footbridges that go over the Bronx river. You may even catch a glimpse of a waterfall. It is within walking distance from SLC. To get to it walk down Kimball Avenue to Palmer Avenue, and turn right as if you are walking to the train station. When you get to the bridge that goes over the Bronx River Parkway, cross to the left hand side of the street. There is an obviously marked entry to the first part of the park loop. If you were to walk through (heading northeast), you would end up at Pondfield Road West. If you cross the street there, you enter the second piece of the loop, which amounts to about a mile around in total.
The Bronx Zoo is a short bus ride away from the Botanical Garden stop on Metro-North. The views are phenomenal in the fall, and admission to the zoo is completely free on Wednesdays! Driving time from SLC: 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the Metro North from either Bronxville or Fleetwood down to the Fordham stop, and then from there take the Bx9 bus to the park: google maps estimate 48 minutes.
Rockefeller State Preserve in Pocantico Hills has beautiful large walking trails with rolling hills that pass by lakes, cows and a few spots that look over the Hudson River. Parking here costs six dollars between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., but there is also additional free parking from Bedford road just past the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Driving time from SLC: 20 minutes.
Hook Mountain State Park is located on the other side of the Hudson River along the jagged and quarried face of Hook Mountain. The landmark demarcates the separation between the Tappan Zee and Haverstraw Bay. The park has a number of hiking trails, but most notably has bike path that follows the river through "Dutchtown" in Haverstraw and goes all the way to Nyack Beach State Park. Driving time from SLC: 25 minutes.
Bear Mountain State Park is also on the other side of the Hudson and has many hiking trails that overlook a lake as well as spectacular views of the Hudson River. This park has some fun features, like a merry-go-round that has cute scenes from the park on it and an outdoor ice skating rink that is open from October through March. Driving time from SLC: 40 minutes.
Hudson Highlands State Park is a little bit further, but has beautiful hikes that you won't want to miss. The park's most popular hike is called Breakneck Ride—it's a 5.5 mile and a 1,200 foot climb that was voted one of the top ten day hikes in America by Newsweek. The park is located between the towns Beacon and Cold Spring, a very cute village that worth a wander since you're already in the area. Driving time from SLC: 60 minutes.
by Mary-Katherine Michiels-Kibler