Following the announcement on the Today Show that the High Line was voted one of the state’s top 10 most extreme hiking trails, we’ve received numerous emails, tweets and phone calls from prospective visitors asking how to best prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Here are a few of our top tips:
You don’t have to do the full 1.45 miles on your first try. Just like Mount Everest, there’s no shame in starting and not finishing. Some people try three or four times before accomplishing the entire distance. If you’re new to trails like the High Line, we recommend starting off with a 10 block section first. Then, slowly work your way up to it.
Be mindful of elevation. The High Line is a full 30 feet above the street. Seasoned hikers who can manage the streets of New York without a problem may feel lightheaded or fatigued when they reach the elevated altitudes of the High Line. There’s simply less oxygen up here; don’t push yourself.
Bring plenty of food and water. For an epic hike like the High Line, you’ll want to have ample supplies on hand for you and your team. Once you’ve scaled the stairs to peak elevation, returning to a basecamp-level restaurant option would cost you valuable time, and may prevent you from completing the full distance before nightfall.
Don’t forget your compass. If you get completely lost in our narrow park, a compass can be a lifesaver. If you forget this must-have tool, you can use landmarks like the Empire State Building, Hudson River and Statue of Liberty (all visible from parts of the High Line) to navigate. We’ve heard Google Maps can be useful, too.
After dark, stars can aid in wayfinding for more experienced hikers. On Tuesdays, expedition guides from the Amateur Astronomers Association set up camp at 14th Street to offer mid-hike visitors to some tips for recognizing celestial sights.
Try other hikes first. Many prospective High Line hikers start off with the comparatively easy Pacific Crest Trail, John Muir Trail, or Appalachian Trail. We recommend checking at least one off your list before braving the High Line.
Be ready for wet weather. Rain happens, but intrepid hikers know how to push through. If a Gore-Tex ripstop jacket and matching coveralls is offensive to your sense of style, we recommend staying dry and looking sharp with our High Line umbrella and High Line poncho. The recognizable colors and patterns of our branded merchandise also make it easier for our staff to spot you in the park, in the unlikely event of an emergency airlift.
Get fit. We strongly suggest getting a personal trainer for at least three sessions a week to get you in High Line-ready shape.
And don’t forget your fitness tracker. You’ll want to brag about those thousands of steps.