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Take a hike in the Hamptons

A hiker walks along Sammy's Beach in East

A hiker walks along Sammy's Beach in East Hampton. Sammy's Beach is one of three good hikes in the East End. (Aug. 26, 2011) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Now that the summer crowds are gone, hikers can have the trails to themselves in the East Hampton-Montauk area. You can see spectacular scenery and wildlife, enjoy breezes and walk off a few pounds.

Here are suggestions for easy, moderate and even arduous hikes and for places to dine nearby:

EASY

THE TRAIL Sammy's Beach, East Hampton

APPROXIMATE DISTANCE 2 miles

HOW TO GET THERE Montauk Highway to Main Street to Three Mile Harbor Road north, take left fork at Springy Banks Road, right on Old House Landing Road, right on Sammy's Beach Road; park in cul-de-sac.

WHAT YOU'LL SEE A sandy peninsula with views of Three Mile Harbor and Gardiners Bay. It's a mile out along a marsh with ospreys, egrets and blue herons within binocular's range; return on a beach with screeching terns and plover. The East Hampton Trails Preservation Society (ehtps.org) runs a poetry hike in the fall. A good warm-up for novices.

NEARBY EATERIES Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett is a bar/family restaurant -- try the crabcakes (177 Main St., 631-267-0400).

THE TRAIL Cedar Point County Park, East Hampton

APPROXIMATE DISTANCE 2 miles

HOW TO GET THERE Same directions as Sammy's Beach as far as Springy Banks, but make a left on Alewive Brook Road, then a right into park, which has restrooms, showers and campgrounds.

WHAT YOU'LL SEE Turkeys, osprey, piping plover. You can walk a mile along a beachy peninsula (with views of Northwest Harbor and Sag Harbor) to an abandoned lighthouse overlooking Shelter Island. Come back by the north beach along Gardiners Bay.

NEARBY EATERIES Michael's in East Hampton specializes in seafood (28 Maidstone Park Rd., 631-324-3002). In Amagansett, La Fondita does Mexican takeout (74 Montauk Hwy., 631-267-8800).

MODERATE

THE TRAIL Shadmoor State Park, Montauk

APPROXIMATE DISTANCE 4 miles

HOW TO GET THERE Park at Montauk Library, walk across the highway and south through a church parking lot into a neighborhood . . . wiggle left to a cul-de-sac that is the trailhead.

WHAT YOU'LL SEE It's a bluff walk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Once you reach the top of the highest hill, it's downhill to Ditch Plains beach, where there are surfers, surf-casters, restrooms and a view of fishing boats. On the way back, check out the Stanford White-designed "seven sisters" homes and World War II anti-aircraft emplacement.

NEARBY EATERIES Bird on the Roof in Montauk does brunch on weekends (South Elmwood Avenue, 631-668-5833).

THE TRAIL Gin Beach-Montauk Point Lighthouse park

APPROXIMATE DISTANCE 8 miles

HOW TO GET THERE Montauk Highway to East Lake Drive, make a left and the road dead-ends at Gin Beach.

WHAT YOU'LL SEE Oyster Pond and, at times, seals at a haul-out area midway through. You might see horseback riders and fishing boats off Shagwong Point. A few years ago, Oyster Pond cut through the beach to join the Sound. Now, there's dry land, where seagulls congregate. You can do this hike in 3-4 hours.

NEARBY EATERIES Joni's (34 S. Edison St., 631-668-3663) is good for lunch sandwiches -- or try The Inlet for sushi and seafood (541 East Lake Dr., Montauk, 631-668-4272).

HARD

THE TRAIL Hither Woods Preserve, Montauk

APPROXIMATE DISTANCE 6 miles

HOW TO GET THERE From a parking area at the end of Navy Road on Fort Pond Bay, hike west along the bluffs to Old North Road and then left on Serpent's Back Trail through the middle of the preserve, to Montauk Highway and then west to the park, which has restrooms and showers.

WHAT YOU'LL SEE Deer. It's a strenuous, solitary hike on a narrow, hilly trail. Only an expert hiker should try it -- plan for it to take at least three hours.

NEARBY EATERIES Gurney's Inn (290 Old Montauk Hwy., 631-668-2345) and Surfside Inn (685 Old Montauk Hwy., 631-668- 5958) have extensive seafood menus.

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