Hidden Trails

Luke Cardinale, Staff Writer

If you live in the North Shore area, you probably are familiar with most of Sea Cliff. You think you know pretty much all of Sea Cliff just because you know most of the streets in this one square mile village. However, there is much more than what you think you may know. Have you ever been to the 9 public walkways/stairways of Sea Cliff yet? I’ve been to all of the trails, and highly recommend them to you. Here are all the trails, where they are, and something about each of them:

The trails are:

  • Pinnacle Steps

  • Boardwalk

  • 18 Trails

  • Tilley Steps

  • Cliff Way Wooden Steps

  • Ravine Path

  • Central Avenue Steps

  • Bathway Steps

  • 18th Avenue / Bay Avenue Steps (closed)

Pinnacle Steps

Most of these public walkways I just stumbled upon, not knowing they were even there in the beginning. Later I researched them a little to find out what these hidden trails are, and how they came to be. I’ll talk about that later, though. It started when my Dad and I were taking a run around Sea Cliff, and ran down Maple Avenue, two blocks from the Memorial Park, which overlooks the harbor. We were going to run all the way to the end of the street when I spotted, wedged between two houses, a tiny paved walkway with a stone pillar that read “Pinnacle Steps Public Walkway”. I was surprised it was there. We decided to use the walkway. It led to a stairway which sloped downward to Tilley Place, (named after a Sea Cliff mayor).

Location: In between Maple Avenue and Tilley Place


You probably know this one. It’s the well-known Sea Cliff Boardwalk. After walking down Tilley Steps, like me and my dad, or going down the Cliff Way Steps, or Bathway Steps you can access the large wooden boardwalk. The boardwalk, like many of the trails, is a more recent replacement of an old public trail from the early 20th century, when tourists would come to visit Sea Cliff. The old boardwalk was much larger, and you can still see old wood posts sticking out of the sand. The old boardwalk connected Tappen Beach to Sea Cliff.

Location: Along the harbor (see map for details)

18 Trails

It was a beautiful day, several weeks ago in the middle of Sunday in Sea Cliff. People were walking their dogs, eating at restaurants, jogging by everywhere on Sea Cliff’s main street. At the end, was Memorial Park, with people sitting down on benches and walking through the grass. My mom had the idea to take a photo at the park with the green, and waterfront view behind us. In between shots, my little brother kept running off. He had discovered a pathway! He showed me a dirt path between the trees, hidden from sight. Then I saw a stone pillar that read “18 Trails Public Walkway”. Now, I knew there were even more hidden pathways! I still didn’t know anything else about them yet. There was a curved path that kept on twisting and turning among the trees and bushes. Across 12th avenue the path continues. It was kind of like a hiking trail with lots of leaves and the path looked like it was not repaired in a long time. It is probably one of the most hidden of all of the trails. I learned that there was a tram terminal where 18 Trails is today. The tram brought travelers up from the docks on the harbor to a trolley stop.

Location: In between Memorial Park, 12th avenue and Tilley Place

Tilley Steps

After walking down the Pinnacle Steps, the next stairway we found at the end of Tilley Place was the Tilley Steps. There was a large stone slate of concrete at the entrance to the steps that read, “Tilley Steps Historic Public Walkway”. There was also a sign that said that it was named after a Sea Cliff mayor. It was originally private property that was later opened to the public. The concrete trail had a little bench at the top of it, but no view of the harbor yet, until you went down the steps, which had about 2 flights of stairs, with little landings and benches. It led out to one end of the boardwalk.

Location: From the Boardwalk to Tilley Place

Cliff Way Wooden Steps

My dad and I were walking on the boardwalk after going through other trails for the first time. Then we saw large, scary-looking and steep wooden steps that were very run down. They ran all the way up to the street above. We weren’t sure if the trails were public. It was a newer version of original steps built there that were privately owned by a company, and were reconstructed many times in the same spot as a public walkway. It is one of my favorite trails of them all. It is not hidden at all so it is easy to find, and I highly recommend it to you.

Location: In between Cliff Way and the Boardwalk

Ravine Path

I discovered this trail last after looking at the map of the Hidden Trails of Sea Cliff. The map was given out by the Landmarks Association of Sea Cliff who worked to repair some of the old trails and install signage at the trail locations. (Special thanks to our art teacher, Ms.Shea for giving me this map!) When I had finally found Ravine Path, in between Fairview Place and Summit Avenue, I was surprised it was there. We started walking on Fairview Place, a small dead end street, and walked up Ravine Path, which, like the other trails, was a new version of an old one. It was finally finished in 2019. These steps were gravel on the inside with a wood frame around the outside. It leads out to Summit Ave, which is near Sea Cliff Ave, the main street. Walking down Summit Ave, it is easy to miss. I imagine most people walk by and pay no attention to it.

Location: In Between Fairview Place and Summit Avenue

Central Avenue Steps

The Central Ave Steps are right in the center of everything! Right after Central Ave, the steps were originally just a 1 block wood pathway built in 1901, along with other trails, that was later replaced by a cement path. In 2008, it was extended a second block to Park Way. The steps connect to the waterfront area in a few blocks, and are close to the Bathway Steps, while on the other side it is close to the Ravine Path, and the main streets of Sea Cliff. Central Avenue Steps are made of concrete and consist of paths and steps that run 2 blocks with plants on each side.

Location: From Park Way to 8th Avenue and Central Ave

Bathway Steps

After walking up the Cliff Way Wooden Steps, my family was looking around for more trails. We found the Bathway Steps. They had a concrete slab that read, “Bathway Steps Historic Public Walkway”, and its own street sign that said, “Bath Way”. It is a downward sloping trail that is almost like a park. It has many trees, plants, and a large pathway, which make this walkway wedged between two houses very beautiful. It leads to the Boulevard, the street that leads out to the Boardwalk.

Location: Connects Prospect Ave to The Boulevard

18th Avenue / Bay Avenue Steps (closed)

This walkway is temporarily closed because it was connected to the old boardwalk that was destroyed in a hurricane. It now would lead out to the harbor where there is currently no boardwalk. You can walk past it and see what is left as shown in my picture. It is ruined and will not be open in a very long time.

Visit all these trails today!!