Greenbelt: Moses Mountain
GOOD FOR: Ages 9-12

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:700 Rockland Avenue, Staten Island, NY
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 718-351-3450

Bathrooms: Greenbelt Nature Center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in the Greenbelt Nature Center

USGS Arthur Kill and The Narrows;

An uphill but easy hike brings you to great views at the top of a mountain built of construction debris.

Thickly wooded Moses Mountain offers a popular hike to panoramic forest views.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Though the name Robert Moses has come up frequently in this book, there is probably no more appropriate monument to his impact—for better or worse—on New York City geography than Moses Mountain. The 260-foot-high mound, among the most popular hikes in the Greenbelt, is made of debris from the construction of the Staten Island Expressway (I-278). The trail map available at the nature center notes that the name was mockingly bestowed, presumably because Moses deserves no honor after having sacrificed many Staten Island neighborhoods for highway projects. This relatively easy, up-and-back hike can be done in 90 minutes.

Pick up Blue Trail behind the nature center and follow it east until a junction with Red Trail. Turn right (south) onto Red Trail and continue onto White Trail. White Trail will lead you to the top of Meisner Avenue. Walk northeast until you reach Yellow Trail at the corner of Meisner and Rockland avenues.

You will see a yellow stripe on the guard rail on the other side of Rockland Avenue, beyond a traffic light. Enter the dirt trail to the left of the guard rail, and in short order, the dense forest will make you forget you’re in the city. Follow the periodic yellow blazes on trees and rocks to the top of the mountain. Early on, the trail is flat, heading basically due north with a few bends along the way. After about fifteen minutes, the trail turns to the right and begins a gentle ascent up the mound. From here, parts of the trail are rocky and treerooted but manageable for young children. At the summit you will be treated to breathtaking 360-degree views of Greenbelt’s thick canopy of red maple, oak, and hickory trees. It is particularly beautiful in fall.

Remember: The flat part of the trail can be swampy if the weather has been rainy.

Plan B:

Greenbelt Nature Center (Trip 57) is an easy alternative if it recently has rained and you fear that Moses Mountain might be too slippery. If you are driving, Historic Richmond Town (Trip 59) is a nearby alternative for outdoor adventures in a rolling parklike setting.

Where to Eat Nearby:

If you are driving, visit the shops and restaurants along Victory Boulevard. A number of restaurants are outside the Staten Island Mall, at Richmond Avenue and Ring Road.


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