Hiking in upstate New York provides a variety of trails with challenges at every level and an ever-changing diversity with the change of seasons. Whether you're a recreational hiker seeking an easier day hike or a veteran looking for a more strenuous mountain trail, you can find what you're looking for in upstate NY.
Four Great Hiking Options in Upstate New York
There are many great places to go hiking in the northern part of New York State. Here are four of the most popular choices.
1. Mount Skylight Summit
If you want to hike in an area where you'll have an opportunity to take in spectacular mountain views, Mount Skylight Summit is one place that will provide that and more. From these demanding trails, you'll be rewarded with views of some of the highest mountains in the state.
Mount Skylight Summit is located in Essex County, Keene, New York. Skylight is one of the high peaks and is accessible by following Calamity Brooks Trail for the easiest and shortest way to reach the Lake Colden--Flowed Lands area. To get there, park at Upper Works trailhead; here you'll find plenty of parking and it's free.
Start out on the Feldspar Brook Trail which will take you to Four Corners. From Four Corners, the Calamity Brooks Trail's straight-up incline climbs to Skylight's summit. Most of the trail is bare rock and takes you through and around small gardens and alpine vegetation. From this trail, you'll enjoy seeing other high peaks including Haystack and Marcy.
2. Adirondacks State Park
Adirondacks State Park and Forest Preserves is home to 2,000 miles of hiking trails, high peaks, thousands of lakes and seasonal changes which make each trip a unique experience across the park's six-million plus acres. The High Peaks Region offers plenty of challenges, and has generated a club known as the 46'ers which evolved over time to include those who have succeeded in hiking to the summits of all 46 high peaks.
3. Catskill Park
Catskill Park's hiking and backcountry camping provides many options for outdoor enthusiasts. Camping is restricted to certain areas to protect wildlife and some of the unique, pristine areas, so you'll want to plan your trip and time your hikes to coincide with where you intend to spend the night. If you decide to bring along a mountain bike as part of your hiking experience, special requirements apply so be sure to check on and follow the park's hiking and camping rules.
4. Peebles Island
Peebles Island's well-maintained Perimeter Trail offers a great short-hike experience (about an hour) complete with river rapids, wildlife, steep cliffs, open meadows and allows for an easy-to-enjoy wilderness experience during this two-mile loop. Along with the Perimeter Trail, hikers will find a good number of criss-crossing trails to take them across the island. Peebles Island is a perfect choice for a day trip for nature lovers not ready for a more rigorous hiking experience.
In addition to providing great hiking opportunities, the island is also a great place to picnic. Wildlife on the island includes white-tail deer, hawks, owls, beavers, skunks, and in the morning hours waterfowl can also be seen. Make sure to carry your mosquito spray. Peebles Island State Park is located in Waterford, New York, where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers meet.
Even if you start out your hiking adventures as a novice, by the time you have worked your way through the various peaks and trails offered by these four parks, you will be well on your way to earning your spurs as a veteran hiker. The beauty of hiking in upstate New York is that you have such a wide variety of landscape and terrain to enjoy so no matter what your skill level or interest, you can easily find a park that offers what you need. From the smaller parks to the largest state-protected park in America, which is Adirondacks State Park, there is something for every outdoor adventurer.