Yesterday afternoon we crossed the bridge into the Bronx to run an errand and decided to find an adventure while over there. I did a little hunting online and picked a hike out near Orchard Beach, a beach I’ve vowed to never visit again after a piece of fried chicken floated past me in the water a couple years ago. Since the beach is closed for the season and we’ve had such remarkable leaf peeping this year I figured I’d at least try the accompanying park, Pelham Bay Park. And I’m very pleased I did.
We set off to hike Kazimiroff Trail, which winds through Hunter Island, about a 1 mile loop hike (all part of Pelham Bay Park). In order to access this gem we parked in the general parking lot at Orchard Beach (which was free since it’s off season). The Kazimiroff Trail head starts right at the northeast of the lot. We entered the trail about mid lot, and exited the corner near the water. This allowed us to see the breadth of nature’s offerings.
There are several paths you can take off the trail, but we kept veering towards the water whenever it was an option. Our hike was easy on a well marked path though heavy woods and we didn’t see a single other person. Along the hike we saw a large variety of trees with spectacular color change, several different species of birds and a few squirrels. After hiking about 20 minutes the path opened up revealing a large salt marsh with a boardwalk snaking through reeds leading to the bay. It was as scenic as it gets with vivid contrasts between the yellow grasses, the bright blue sky and the rippling sea.
When we hit the coastline we found many large boulders which lead to great climbing and exploring. We saw lots of fish, ducks, mussels, a helmet crab and the skull of a small animal possibly a coyote.
After exploring for about 45 minutes we made our hike back to the car, this time taking the path closest to the water. It took us about 20 minutes and we enjoyed a few more pit stops to take in the views.
I really stumbled upon this gem. I read it was a hike to a salt marsh, but other than that there is little online about the remarkable hike. I imagine fall could be the nicest time of year to enjoy this little slice of nature, but we’ll probably check it out throughout the year, it’s only 20 minutes from our apartment. Plus, there is a large picnic area off the parking lot before you enter the woods, with tables and grills. And clean public bathrooms. Maybe we’ll make a day of it next time.
Here’s directions to get there:
By Car: From 95 take exit 8B toward Orchard Beach/City Island. Stay straight to go onto Shore Drive. Cross the bridge and pass one intersection and then at the traffic circle, go ¼ around to make a right turn. At the end of the road, make a left onto Park Drive and the Orchard Beach parking lot is on the right.
From the Hutchinson River Parkway, take Exit 5 for Pelham Bay Park. Go straight through the first traffic circle and at the end of the road make a left onto Park Drive. Parking for Orchard Beach is located on the right.
Public Transit: Take the 6 train, Bx5, Bx12, Bx29, Bx14 or Westchester No. 45 bus to Pelham Bay Park. Transfer to (or stay on) the Bx12 (summers only) and Bx5 (summer weekends only) which stop at the Orchard Beach parking lot.