West Hills County Park (Melville, NY)

First Visit: We entered the West Hills County Park from Sweet Hollow Road on our first visit. The West Hills County Park trails are another hidden gem. There are many trails to choose from but the Main Trail is wide and easy to navigate. Although some areas are thickly covered with leaves, you don't have to worry about exposed roots or many rocks.  Occasionally, there are spots that are a bit boggy, due to heavy rains. Be careful or you could wind up in 6 inches of black mud. You will also find the historic Walt Whitman Trail to Jayne's Hill, which is Long Island's highest peak. The elevation gain is over 400 feet over this 6.8 mile loop but the elevation gains are very gradual, nothing to be concerned with. This trail is good for all levels. Follow the signs and you won't get lost, however there are many trail options which could be confusing. We took this hike on a Wednesday morning around 10:00AM and only encountered one other person with a dog. There was plenty of evidence of horses using the trails as the park is situated next to stables, so watch where you are walking. You will also pass several private homes with horses but other than that it is not a very scenic trail. However it was very peaceful. There is also a dog park located here but you can bring your dog on a hike on leash.There is a small park for the kids as well. Bathrooms are also available.

Second Visit: We entered the West Hills County Park from Round Swamp Rd. You'll see a big sign indicating the entrance to the park. As you drive down this road, you will see a parking lot on the left. On this trip we found another dog park, camping sites, a large open field and a completely different trail loop. The trail was mostly wide with some rocky areas but overall very easy to navigate.  When you look on the All Trails app, you can actually see two loops, this is the one that does not include Jayne's Hill. Another positive point to make is that this trail is not frequented by horses as there was no evidence along the trails. This path seems to be more elevated from the start, it was much drier, since we didn't have to walk around any boggy areas. You can bring your dog(s) but there are many signs that dogs must be on leash. There was a visitor's center but the bathrooms were closed. However, soon after you travel down the trail you will find a portable bathroom. Luckily, it was clean! We hiked for about 75 minutes since it was such a beautiful day (75 degrees & sunny) on November 8th. Remarkably, there were few hikers on the trail in spite of the weather and the fact that it was a Sunday. Regardless of what side of the park you enter, you can't go wrong. Have fun!