Greenbelt Trail: 32 Miles from Long Island Sound to Great South Bay

“Daddy, can you take 6 months off from work, take me out of school too and can we hike the Appalachian Trail together?“.

This request came from my son Brandon, 10, during a 6+ mile hike around Stump Pond while camping in Blydenburgh County Park on Long Island, New York.  If you don’t know, the AT starts in Georgia, finishes in Maine and is 2186 miles long.  Thru-hikers, if they complete the trek, start around April and finish in 6 months or so.  If they finish…

Hmmm.  Why not?

We set plans in motion pretty fast.  The boss said, “oh sure, we’ll keep paying your salary, not a problem!”.  The school superintendent said, “wow, what a great life experience.  I’ll even do Brandon’s homework for him!”.  We put in a month of trail training, packed light and OFF WE WENT…



Ok, we can dream can’t we?  🙂

Brandon did make this request, but it’s going to have to wait until he graduates high school, or maybe college.  And all I hope for at that point is that he still wants to hang out with me at all!!!

So we settle for exploring trails around Long Island.  We’ve hiked Stump Pond as I mentioned, but also through various trails in Sunken Meadow State Park, Mashomack Preserve, Sands Point Preserve, Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve as well as the Gorge Trail in Watkins Glen State Park in upstate NY.

As much as the excitement of an Appalachian Trail adventure is hard to beat, the trails on Long Island in these mostly natural settings on ‘the Island’ hold their own!  We’ve taken Brandon’s sisters as well to many of these trails and have gone up to 5 miles even with Mia, 2.  As long as we bring plenty of water and the kids slept well the night prior, things go pretty smoothly and the kids blog about their fun along with me on 1Quest2theNext (If you haven’t read our other quests, get started after this one!).

Each of these trails and parks have their own unique features that we enjoy; the bridle path at Caumsett that leads to a pen with single horse in a huge open field, the deer prancing around in Nissequogue River State Park (or Caleb Smith or Sunken Meadow – they are everywhere!!) and the trail down to the LI Sound at Sands Point Preserve to name a few.  The kids and I look forward to checking out the special parts of these natural habitats each time we go on an adventure.

Our upcoming posts – or ‘chapters’ of our Greenbelt Trail exploration – include planned hikes for Brandon/me along Stump Pond’s Greenbelt section, taking photos along the Kings Park Bluff with Sofia, hopping the fence from Blydenburgh Park into Caleb Smith’s South property (sometimes locked) during a solitary hike, strolling through Connetquot River State Park Preserve in the Spring with Mia and Alana, or all by myself on a jog through Heckscher State Park.  Sometimes we’ve been on the Greenbelt when we ‘fell off’ the blue trail at Blydenburgh, for instance, or learning about the various trees on the red trail at Caleb Smith and finding ourselves on ‘the white’.  The Greenbelt Trail is identified by white ‘blazes’, or paint markings on the trees all along the way.

The Long Island Greenbelt Trail runs from Sunken Meadow State Park in Fort Salonga through 32 miles of woodlands, parks, bluffs, marshes, ponds, preserves, beaches and yes – even across parkways.  It is eye opening for us to discover this inner beauty that is hidden as we all drive from location A to B each day.

Are you ready to take this adventure with us?

I was headed North this day on a 6+ mile run

We were ‘feelin’ North’ this day

From Sofia, 7:  “I’m so excited to write about these trails!  We were walking on a trail once and we saw 3 inchworms.  I picked one up and it was all slimy!  I can’t wait to tell you about the other really cool things we found and saw on the trail.”

From Brandon, 10:  “We were hiking on the blue trail at Blydenburgh when we went camping and fishing and we weren’t paying attention to the blazes and we ended up going on the ‘white’ trail for over a mile.  We ended up finding this old Miller’s House and a grist mill!”


19 thoughts on “Greenbelt Trail: 32 Miles from Long Island Sound to Great South Bay

  1. Exploring when you are young is a good thing. My older brothers did that a lot. I went off with my school buddy a couple of times to Yellowstone, etc. A friend sent me a news clipping of how he (17) and his younger (14) brother biked from south east Missouri to Vancouver one summer. Your son is only 4. He sounds like he is going to be ready some day for bigger things. I hope you are, too. 🙂

  2. Love this! Have fun. What a wonderful thing to do for yourself and your kids. I’ve been on every inch of the Greenbelt Trail, just not all in one day, and there’s nothing that makes me happier! How lucky we are to have access to such beauty, and how lucky your kids are to have you to give them the gift of reverence for nature! It’s life-long soul food 🙂

  3. I so identified with the Appalachian Trail dream. It took me 64 years, but I finally have the opportunity to hike it… with the support of my employer…. as a fundraiser for kids’ education. Dreams do come true and I’m sure Brandon will love to take you with him when the opportunity finally comes. Great blog – I will visit often.

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  6. This is a little embarrassing, but it’s nice to learn that there are trails, especially 32-miles in length, on Long Island. If I ever make it to New York, I may end up hiking instead of doing the typical touristy things. Thank you for your post.

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  10. Awesome – you and your children are an inspiration and good to hear/see families do still get out and about exploring. So many of the young people of today would rather sit in front of some sort of technology and have no appreciation of what is actually out in this wonderful world of ours. You’ve made my day.

  11. Really fun to read this! I had no idea there were so many trails in the Northeast worth hiking! I’ve had friends do the Pacific Coast one–Mexico to Canada, I guess. Obviously, that’s not been me. What amazes me is you and the kids doing these together–at their ages! You are truly a courageous man! Thanks for the like on my blog.

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