Far into the outskirts of Brooklyn, Marine Park is home to a vibrant salt marsh full of animals you'd never expect to see in the city.
Distance: 4 miles
Map: See bottom of page
Take the Q or F train to Avenue U and switch to a Bergen Beach bound B3 bus. Get off the bus at Burnett Street.
1. Pick up the Salt Marsh Nature Trail, which begins right in front of the bus stop. This quickly leads down to a marsh where you can spot seabirds flying by, horseshoe crabs drifting in the water, and fiddler crabs scurrying into their tiny holes.
2. Walk along the shore briefly until you see a narrow trail, marked by red NYC Parks markers, leading back into a thicket.
3. Follow along the sandy Red Trail, keeping straight through a number of intersections.
4. After nearly a mile (about 15-20 minutes) of walking, you'll come to a field. Turn left to follow the red marker, bringing you back out to the water. Here you'll have more views of the marsh, abandoned car ruins, and the NYC skyline far in the distance.
5. Your next move is to return to the main path and retrace your steps (make sure to keep straight) all the way back to the start of the Salt Marsh Nature Trail. Your hike isn't quite over though, because some of the best views are still to come.
6. Turn right and follow along Avenue U until you reach the Salt Marsh Nature Center (a good time to take a bathroom break). Behind the building, past picnic tables, you can pick up the Salt Marsh Nature Trail again.
7. Views of the marsh soon reappear and you'll pass over a bridge. Keep an eye out for herons and egrets hanging out in the marsh.
8. Keep right at the split ahead. Now you'll walk between the marsh and a wide open meadow. In a few minutes you'll pass a deck offering great views of the marsh.
9. As you continue on the path, look out for a tall wooden pole out in the marsh. This is home to nesting ospreys, a once endangered bird of prey.
10. A few minutes later, take the path splitting off to your left. Follow this through the meadow up to an elevated view of your surroundings.
11. Continue on this path and you'll return to the nature center, concluding your hike. Now you can cross to the other side of Avenue U and catch a Bensonhurst bound B3 bus back to the Q or F train.