Melville is Home to Great Trails
Melville is a lovely hamlet on the border of Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Its location makes it an attractive place for homeowners and businesses alike. It is about an hour from NYC and provides easy access to some of Long Island’s most popular beaches and shopping destinations.
Many residents and visitors alike are drawn to Melville because of its proximity to nature and the rural feel to many of its residential neighborhoods. These areas provide a wonderful respite from the busy commercial hub of Melville that runs along Route 110.
Melville, which is technically in Suffolk County, is home to one top-rated county park. West Hills County Park, known to most as simply “West Hills Park,” is located on Sweet Hollow Road. The park includes West Hills Nature Preserve and West Hills Dog Runs. It is a beautiful, hilly, 800 -acre park with miles of walking and horseback trails.
Things to do in West Hills Park
People flock to West Hills to hike (bicycling is not permitted). This park is the site of the historic Walt Whitman Trail that leads to Jayne’s Hill. Jayne’s Hill is Long Island’s highest peak at 400 feet. There are other beautiful trails in West Hills where you can see wildlife, plants, and flowers along the way. Local fauna and flowers to see include ferns, oak trees, sassafras, witch hazel, wild Mountain Laurel, and Moccasin Flowers.
If you look closely, you might find salamanders, turtles, chipmunks, or red foxes. Of course, there are plenty of squirrels. Bird watching is also popular in the park, where you can catch glimpses of robins, orioles, woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks, and even great horned owls.
Camping is another favorite activity to do in West Hills but is limited to organized youth groups that need to reserve space in advance. The park boasts campsites, lean-tos, and shelters for the many groups that take advantage of the opportunity to camp out close to home.
Horseback riding is alive and well in Melville, and nowhere is it more evident than around West Hills Park. There are several riding schools and stables in and near Melville, with one located right in West Hills Park. There are also bridle paths where you can ride your horse as long as you have a permit.
The dog runs in West Hills attract dog-lovers and their pets for exercising and socializing. It is one of the very few off-leash parks in the area, making it wildly popular.
No park would be complete without its playgrounds and picnic areas. There are plenty of places to picnic, grill, and gather with friends and family. Permits may be required under certain circumstances, but that does not seem to stop people from enjoying the beautiful space in West Hills.
Melville also has its share of smaller, local parks with playgrounds and ball fields. Sweet Hollow Park, Butterfly Park, and Arboretum Park are just a few of the neighborhood parks that attract community members and visitors from nearby.
Melville Park Offers Peaceful Refuge
One of the best things about Melville is its location. It is not too far from the hustle and bustle of NYC and has a busy retail and commercial district. But, If you want to escape and connect with nature, you can easily stay local and head to West Hills Park for a day of hiking and wildlife watching.
You can also head to one of the neighborhood parks for old-fashioned playground activities. Alternatively, if you live in or near Melville, you also have the opportunity to take a quick drive to numerous other parks on Long Island, where you can go to find even more adventures.