Location: Woodbury, NY
Size: 400 acres
Date of hike: April 13, 2019
Trail View State Park is a narrow tract of land open to hiking and biking that sits between Bethpage State Park and Cold Spring Harbor State Park. I passed through the park a few years ago when I hiked the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, and I told myself I'd return one day to explore it in its entirety. Well, with my schedule very empty and the sun brightly shining on a Saturday afternoon, it felt like the right time to revisit. I was ready to enjoy the views from Trail View.
Prior to hiking, I did some research to familiarize myself with the park's history and habitats. Trail View's land was obtained by New York State in the 1960s with the intent of connecting Bethpage State Park and Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Lloyd Harbor, according to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "The property was dedicated as a state park during the summer of 2002, offering a variety of recreational opportunities – including trails for hiking and bicycling – on its hilly terrain and open fields," the website said. The park's linear land spans 7.4 miles and contains a lengthy section of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, a 20-mile trail running north to south (or south to north) from Peter J. Schmitt Massapequa Preserve to Cold Spring Harbor State Park. In addition, Trail View has terrain ranging from hardwood forests to marshland to fields, with elevations ranging from 60 to 300 feet above sea level. It is also a favorite spot amongst birdwatchers and is open to horseback riding and cross-country skiing "on a limited basis," the site said.
The park's entrance is located on the north side of Jericho Turnpike (NY Route 25) just west of Woodbury Road, with a parking lot big enough to fit a couple dozen vehicles. No fees are collected. While hiking, you'll notice that the property is intersected by multiple main roads. Apparently, the northern section extending to Lawrence Hill Road is managed by Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, while the southern section that stretches to Haypath Road is handled by Bethpage State Park, the state's website said. I began on the northern portion, which skirts Stillwell Woods Preserve. Since Trail View's hiking and biking paths seem to stay parallel for much of the way, I strolled north using the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail's white markers and returned south using the biking trail's blue markers. One of the coolest moments on the northern trails was hiking atop a hill overlooking Syosset-Woodbury Road.
After retreating to the entrance, I crossed Jericho Turnpike for the park's southern section. This appeared to be the less-trafficked portion of the park, likely due to that road crossing. To cross the road, I walked a stone's throw west on Jericho Turnpike to a crosswalk at the exit for Stop & Shop. A short while later, I also had to cross Woodbury Road, which didn't have a crosswalk. There, I basically waited for a lull in traffic and dashed across the street. Sadly, I actually passed a decomposing deer near the trail by Woodbury Road, likely killed by a passing car. I could even see its ribs and skull. Poor thing. Anyway, since it's about 6.6 miles to Bethpage State Park, I only went two-thirds of the way before turning around.
One interesting thing about the park is that it has a two-pet maximum policy. "A maximum of two pets are allowed in day use areas unless prohibited by a sign or directive," the state's website said, adding that "proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff." As for music, I listened to a mixture of progressive metal – including a lot of Dream Theater, which is my all-time favorite band. I had intended to see them perform the previous evening in Manhattan, but I couldn't make it. So I found myself craving their amazing musicianship.
All in all, I wouldn't recommend traveling far for Trail View State Park, as its primary function is linking other popular parks. But it could come in handy if you're cranking out some miles biking, hiking or jogging. Just be ready for road crossings. And, of course, cross carefully!
Video: Trail View State Park (360-degree view)
Map: Trail View State Park (Google Maps image)