Jayne's Hill – West Hills, New York - Atlas Obscura

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Jayne's Hill

West Hills, New York

The poet Walt Whitman was a frequent visitor to this spot, the highest on Long Island. 


About a mile from Walt Whitman’s birthplace is Jayne’s Hill, located in West Hills County Park in West Hills, Long Island. Although Whitman only lived in the house where was he born for the first four years of his life, he frequently returned to the area, where his family had roots for more than a century.

On his visits, he enjoyed wandering the grounds of what is now the park, climbing up to what is the highest peak on Long Island—at a whopping 400 feet in elevation. (Hey, nobody said Long Island was known for its hills.)

Nowadays, the top is marked by a sturdy rock emblazoned with Whitman’s poem, “Paumanok,” the Algonquian name for Long Island. At its base, you can also usually find an assortment of smaller painted rocks left by fellow travelers on the trail.

Know Before You Go

Jayne's Hill can be accessed a short walk from Reservoir Road, where there is parking near the private grounds of a county water tower. An alternative is to hike there from the Jayne's Hill trail, which is part of the longer Walt Whitman trail that winds through the park. To get to the trailhead, park in the lot next to the West Hills County Park dog run and head behind the picnic tables. The trail is marked with white blazes and is about one and a half miles to the summit.

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