Convenient Hikes In New York State
For all of our love of hiking in New York State, we know that a good majority of the visitors here dont come for the hiking. Theyre stopping by for other reasons. However, thats no reason to not enjoy a New York State hike while youre doing something else in the state. Here are a few hikes that are conveniently located near some of the states other top attractions.
Intermediate Hikes In Nyc
If you are looking for hikes that will get a sweat going but you still want to be home time for dinner check out these trails just over on Staten Island.
Staten Island Greenbelt
Blue Trail – Over 12 miles of varied terrain that is not too hard, but not too easy either.
White Trail – An up and down terrain that will pass through Egbertville Ravine, over Heyerdahl Hill and through Bucks Hollow.
Kaaterskill Falls Trail Elka Park
Another favorite Catskills hike, Kaaterskill Falls Trail is a trail to the most well-known waterfall in the region. And at 260 feet, its an impressive one . Youll first see a vista over the falls, and then the trail takes you down to the falls via stairs. The 1.5-mile-loop is fairly easy, but some rocks can be slippery near the falls. In winter, be aware of mud and ice.
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Lake Placid / High Peaks Wilderness
Lake Placid is located in the heart of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. Whether you want to go hiking in the spring, summer, fall or winter Lake Placid and the surrounding area has some of the most amazing hikes.
The High Peaks Wilderness area contains over 230 miles of trails, and covers in total over 192,000 acres. The most famous hike is the 138-mile Northville-Placid Trail that ends in Lake Placid itself.
Setting sun in Keene Valley, NY
Of The Best Hikes In New York For Your Bucket List
New York State is home to some amazing hikes, from gorgeous riverfront treks to tower mountain hikes that sometimes feel like marathons. From waterfront trails that will keep you low to the ground to epic hikes that will bring you to the tops of our tallest mountains, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to decide which adventure you want to start with. To help narrow things down for you, weve put together a list of 14 of the best hikes in New York for your bucket list. Happy hiking!
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Best Hikes In New York State
When many people think of New York, they think of New York City. Its often the first point that comes to mind and I have to admit Im guilty of this too. Yup, Its an incredible city and Lady Liberty is amazing to see, but theres so much more to New York than New York City, like some of the best hikes in New York that youll love.
For me, New York State is special I just fell in love with the natural beauty straight away.
I still have the best memories of traipsing over to Finger Lakes and spending the night under the stars.
Now, that almost sounds sickly sweet but by 4 am a thunderstorm broke and I was soaked to the bone. Lesson learned put up your tent before you fall asleep.
Otherwise, trust me, hiking the next day becomes very miserable indeed. Ha!
Anyway, for all my rookie errors and romantic ideas of snoozing under the stars, New York is an incredible state to explore, especially by foot.
Its home to the majestic Adirondack Mountain range, which was formed by glacial activity many centuries ago as well as the picturesque Catskills too.
Take a look at some of the very best hikes in New York that you should definitely experience. Youll love exploring the state.
Devil’s Hole State Park
Again with the stone steps, but its worth it for incredible views of the Niagara River Rapids and the gorge. Many visitors make their way over to Niagara Falls State Park to get views of the waterfalls on a paved level path perfect for a leisurely stroll.
If youre looking to get some beautiful views of the gorge and the river up close, head down to the whirlpool by taking the Devils Hole Trail to the bottom of the stone steps and through the large boulders. Follow down a series of rocky, uneven steps and hike over large rocks along a bit of a rough, uneven train to get to a leveled platform.
There, you can relax and watch the cable car running from Canada, the jet boat tours, and take in views of the river before heading back up those dreaded steps. I promise, its worth it even though your legs might feel like jello by the end.
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Blackhead Mountains is the fourth highest peak. The summit lies at an elevation of 1063m and is the highest part of the Escarpment trail, which is one of the first hiking trails marked in American history. Although, there are not many views at the mountain itself, but the surrounding outcrops offers some of the most spectacular views of the adjoin mountain ranges. You can access this mountain through two trails, the Big Hollow Trail and Barnum Road. Campers are allowed to stay in the Batavia Kill Lean-To and back country as long as they stay 150 feet away from the trails.
Sams Point Ice Caves & Verkeerderkill Falls
Minnewaska State Park Preserve near New Paltz, NY
Walk through a rare and endangered ecosystem featuring one of the last Rare Dwarf Pitch Pine barrens in the world. On this epic trail, youll see stunning viewpoints, ice caves, and the waterfall pictured above.
Begin at Sams Point Visitor Center to pay the entrance and start the hike towards Verkeerderkill Waterfalls footpath, then the Ice Cave trail, and finish at Sams Point for a magnificent panorama view. There is also a little beach at the bottom of the lake.
The Ice Cave consists of crevices and caves formed from boulders of the cliffs. Because of its unique formation, the air within the caves stays trapped within the caves thus allowing for a cold enough temperature that can maintain snow/ice inside even in the summer!
This park crowded so arrive very early to get a parking spot.
Distance from NYC: 2 hoursDifficulty: Moderate
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What To Bring To Hikes Near New York City
- Water and snack/ packed lunch: I would suggest at least 1.5-2 liters of water while hiking near New York. I generally use a hiking backpack with a hydration pouch making it a lot easier to drink. Since a lot of the fall hikes near New York City require scrambling, its a lot easier to drink out of a hydration pouch rather than bringing a water bottle.
- Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses: Although most of the hikes are in the dense woods, once you are on top the hikes are all very exposed.
- Gloves: Depending on when you hike, you may need gloves to protect your hands. Most of the hikes near New York City are rocky and requires scrambling, so make sure you are prepared especially on a colder day.
- Hiking Shoes: I recommend wearing proper hiking shoes when hiking near New York City. Most of the hikes are quite rocky and steep, so you really want good shoes in order to climb up the rocks.
- Offline Map: for some of the hikes it may be worth to download an offline map since you probably wont have reception. I would also download all of the hiking instructions in case you cannot access those instructions later.
Other New York City resources:
I have written a lot of other blogs on New York City. If you are in the city for the first time, be sure to check out the following blogs:
Gertrudes Nose Minnewaska State Park Preserve
An imposing rock formation in the Shawangunk Mountains of Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Gertrudes Nose is a strenuous hike. The 6.9-mile loop traverses various overlooks, cliff edges, and rock formations, but the final sweeping vista from the outcropping of Gertrudes Nose presents an incredible view of the Hudson Valley. To get to the trailhead, drive to the upper parking lot inside the preserve.
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Cascade Mountain Trail Adirondack Park
There are 46 High Peaks in Adirondacks Park, and the people who climb them all are part of a special club called the Forty-Sixers. But if you want to start with two, the Cascade Mountain Trail will take you up Cascade and Porter Mountains, and its one of the more moderate hikes, at 5.5 miles. The trail, which has 1,940 feet of elevation gain, is still challenging, though, and will first take you past a waterfall before you reach the summit of Cascade Mountain for 360-degree views. Youll see a junction for a trail to Porter Mountain, and its less than a mile to the top from there . The trail is easy to get to from downtown Lake Placid, making it a popular hike in spring, summer, and fall, so get an early start to avoid crowds.
Franny Reese State Park
In less than two hours, Metro-North’s Hudson line brings you to Poughkeepsie, where a whole day of activities awaits you. Start with a stroll on the Walkway Over the Hudson before heading west into Franny Reese State Park. There are two-and-a-half miles of trails with sites like an old carriage road, ruins of a 19th-century estate and superb views of the Mid-Hudson Bridge. Reward yourself with dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby before heading home.
Time: Two hours
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Lemon Squeezer/island Pond Loop
With a name like Lemon Squeezer, you know this has to be a fun trail. The 7.5-mile circuit features the typical pond and greenery, but it also has the unique bonuses of a tight rock formation and the historic Boston Mine. Just buy a ticket to Southfields on the Shortline bus from Port Authority and ask the bus driver to let you off at Arden Valley Road next to a “Welcome to Harriman State Park sign. Theres even a discount for hikers.
Time: Four and a half hoursLevel: Moderate to strenuous
Storm King State Park
You have several options of hikes here, some a bit steeper than others, but all are guaranteed to have great views of the Catskills and Hudson Valley. What hikers love most is undisturbed wild nature of the trail, but they will argue that the actual distance ranges somewhere between 3.6 and 5 miles. Storm King Art Center, which is near the trailhead, offers train and bus packages from New York using public transportation. Just check the website for details.Time: 3 hours
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Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen State Park is easily one of the most beautiful hikes in the Finger Lakes and it’s also challenging and steep. The trails are stone and paved, but can be slippery due to the number of waterfalls youll see along the path that spray mist onto the stone. With 19 waterfalls along the course, its a gorgeous hike in the autumn months. The natural sounds of the falls and the flowing creek will hopefully lift your spirits as you try to catch your breath!
Theres a lot of steps, so it doesnt hurt to have a snack with you and plenty of water. Whats a little unusual about this particular park is that its right off of the main strip lined with shops and restaurants. Grab a wood fire pizza at Atlas Brick Oven Pizzeria , an ice cream cone at The Colonial Inn & Creamery or have a glass of wine at the Harbor Hotel. After this hike, youve earned it.
Gorge Trail Letchworth State Park
Although the one-way Gorge Trail in Letchworth State Park is just over 7 miles, its a fairly easy path through woods with some stone steps. Along the way, youll see most of the parks famous attractions, including the so-called Grand Canyon of the East and its three major waterfalls . The trail follows the western rim of the gorge and includes multiple overlooks into the canyonpause at Inspiration Point, Wolf Creek, and the Tea Tables for the best views.
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Breakneck Ridge Cold Spring
This steep hike is one of the most challenging hikes on this list, but its also one of the most popular due to its proximity to New York City. On weekends, there is even a direct train on Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal to Breakneck Ridge, which takes about an hour-and-a-half. The trail is a little over 3 miles roundtrip, but it starts with a steep ascent almost immediately, and there is also a lot of rock scrambling and climbing, making it all the more satisfying when you reach the top. Be aware that its not a good idea to bring pets along because of the rock climbing required.
Rim And Gorge Trail Robert H Treman State Park
Waterfall fans will also want to make time for the Rim and Gorge Trail inside the Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes Region. This 4.7-mile loop traces both sides of the Treman Gorges rim and its dozen waterfalls, including the gushing 115-foot Lucifer Falls. If its hot enough, theres a swimmable waterfall at the end of the hike. If you only want to do the Rim Trail, it will bring you to the base of Lucifer Falls and back up, and is 2 miles long, but the Gorge Trail brings you down into the deep gorge for a unique vantage point. The ascent from the bottom of the gorge back up to the rim is challenging, however.
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Walkway Over The Hudson
If youre looking for one of the best winter hikes in New New York that is also pretty dang easy, then give the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie a try!
Not only is this former railway bridge open all year long , but its a solid 1.28 miles long and is known for being the worlds longest pedestrian bridge.
It also stands at 212 feet high and provides visitors with a leisurely stroll that features sweeping panoramas of the Hudson River and the Mid-Hudson Bridge right next door.
Plus, if you want to make one of the best winter hikes in New York a bit more challenging, you could even do the entire 3.6-mile loop trail, which will have you return via the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
Just be aware that the bridge does close for super inclement weather and routinely closes at dusk daily. And while there are many facilities available here , they generally close throughout the long winter months.
Pro Tip: You can park for free in the awful, unpaved, mess of a parking lot here.
Distance: 1.28 miles each way.
Route: Loop or Out and Back
Prepping & Packing List For A Day Hike From Nyc
SLEEP & EAT: Always try to get a full nights sleep and have a full meal before embarking on a hike. This way youre energized for your hike and dont risk getting extremely tired halfway. Or worse, fainting.
DOWNLOAD ALLTRAILS: One of the best ways to plan your hike more seamlessly is by downloading the AllTrails apps. The app will provide: offline maps , interactive trail maps , can record your trail , and up-to-date trail information!
And here is a basic packing list of the things to bring on your day hike:
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Easiest Hikes In New York Beginner Trails
Hiking is not all about long distances and difficult terrain, because the most beautiful and peaceful destinations are sometimes easily accessible.
Hiking in New York can be beautiful and easy for those individuals that dont want to bushwhack through the wilderness. Although a long hike does sometimes make the journey more fun and rewarding, here is a list of the best short hikes in New York.
Where To Go On Your Next Hike
Start your journey through NYC’s natural wonderland: pick a park and map out your hiking adventure. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and wear sunscreen and layered clothing.
Tip: Use these trail markers to guide you on your next hike.
Here are some highlights of hiking trails in our parks. Visit our Hiking Trails page to find more nature trails in parks across New York City.
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Keene Valley / Wilmington
Keene Valley is arguably the best hiking destination in New York offering some of the most remote backcountry.
For hikers looking to get away from others and hike the backcountry Keene Valley is the way to go. Some of the most popular trails include Whiteface Mountain Summit, Corridor Ridge, Esther Mountain and the Flume Fall trail.