You’ve hiked Long Island from shore to shore, through woodland and marshland and meadow, and to The End at Montauk Point. Now how about a hike to the ends of the Long Island earth?
Once you’ve gone the distance at remote, less-traveled Jones Beach West End 2 and Orient Point at the other end of Long Island, that’s it. There is no more to explore.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to two destinations that at least feel like the edge of the known world, with distances approximated on foot with help from the Footpath Route Planner app.
Jones Beach State Park West End 2
150 Bay Pkwy., Wantagh
Total distance: 2 miles; An easy to moderate loop runs mostly on sand with a possibility of marshy sections through the dunes area. (not wheelchair accessible)
Getting there: Take Bay Parkway to the end and follow the curve in the road to the parking field.
A century ago the West End 2 area was an “open ocean,” but nature and humans gradually extended the 17-mile barrier island to its current footprint, according to Mia Ramirez, educator at the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center.
The end of the 6.5-mile beach is quiet and often deserted, especially during the offseason. “It’s the closest you can get to being on the moon while being only a half-hour from the house,” Michael Diaz, 53, of Massapequa, a surfcaster, said before hitting the beach trail.
.4 miles: The trail through the dunes
The main trail to this lonely strand begins at the southwest corner of the West End 2 parking field. You’ll be immersed in a dune ecosystem where bayberry bushes and seaside goldenrods flourish, marsh hawks and ospreys fly overhead and a toad was seen hopping by on a recent hike.
Turn right at the fork. The wind-swept beach will peek through the dunes as the trail opens up on a 360-degree panorama of wild Long Island.
.6 miles: The jetty
Crashing surf serenades you west to the jetty. Avoid walking on the slippery rocks jutting into the Atlantic, but do point your field glasses seaward from the beach for humpback whale and cargo ship sightings.
.6 miles: Jones Inlet
Walk north beside the rock wall paralleling Jones Inlet, a major navigation route and surf-casting destination known for striped bass and solitude.
“It’s very peaceful and serene here and for the most part pretty quiet,” said James Lin, 62, of New Rochelle, trying his luck with rod and reel (Fishing regulations: dec.ny.gov).
Across the Inlet look for Point Lookout and, on a clear day, the Manhattan skyline and Freedom Tower.
.4 miles: The End
Turn right at the break in the dunes marked by sand fencing, and follow the trail back to the parking lot.
More info Open sunrise to sunset; Free parking ; 516-809-8222, jonesbeachenc.org
Orient Point County Park
41425 NY-25, Orient
Total distance: About 1 mile; An easy route follows a dirt path through woods, a grass trail along the beach, packed gravel in the parking lot and some rocks at the point. (not wheelchair accessible)
Getting there: Take Route 25 East to the end. Turn left at the break in the trees across from the ferry entrance and park in the small dirt lot.
The North Fork’s glorious scenery climaxes here in a spectacular Long Island Sound seascape. “You just walk and enjoy nature … without any disturbances from the outside world,” East Hampton artist Ewa Banas, said of her hikes here for creative inspiration.
.25 miles: Into the woods
The trailhead enters a fairy tale woods full of birdsong, wildlife and native plants. Forge ahead for breathtaking scenery.
.52 miles: The Long Island Sound
Choose from two byways paralleling this pristine stretch of Long Island Sound: a well-maintained grass trail on the bluff, or a white stone beach where you can picnic under an endless sky while watching cormorants dive for a fish dinner.
.14 miles: The End
The trail ends as Orient Point narrows to a strip of land a few hundred feet wide. It’s mostly a parking lot with a million-dollar view, where anglers surf cast off the rocks and beach (Fishing regulations: suffolkcountyny.gov)
Often there are more seals than people. “I spend a lot of time here, alone,” said angler Glen Mikkleson, 68, of Manorville.
Walk around the fenced-in area marked “Cable Crossing,” for a lands-end view of Plum Gut. Beyond, hikers can see the Orient Point “Coffee Pot” Lighthouse and mysterious Plum Island.
More info Open 8 a.m. to dusk; Free parking; 631-852-3232, suffolkcountyny.gov