If you live in New York than you already know that our beautiful state is any true adventurer’s playground. With so many gorgeous outdoor spaces to explore and state parks that are full of natural wonders, it’s hard not to want to spend every moment of your time outside. If you’ve yet to dive into seeing all the our state has to offer, take a look at this list to check out some of the absolute best hiking trails that you can find in the Empire State.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Gorge Trail at Stony Brook State Park
An underrated park that everyone falls in love with once they do finally visit, Stony Brook State Park can be found hiding out in the town of Dansville. The park features several short trails that are great to explore, with one of the most stunning areas of the park being where the Gorge Trail will take you. Giving you a view of waterfalls and intensely beautiful scenery, you should keep in mind that not all trails are open during the winter season.
2. Gorge Trail at Taughannock Falls State Park
If you've yet to realize that some of New York's most popular and beautiful trails are ones that are Gorge Trails, well now you know! A roughly one mile long trail, you'll be lead to a stunning 215-foot tall waterfall that's jaw-dropping. An easy hike that's great for everyone, this is one hike you'll want to cross off of your bucket list.
3. Sam's Point Preserve
Taking you up into the clouds, this is another longer hike that's absolutely worth all of the effort it takes to get to the top. Located not too far from the UFO themed town of Pine Bush, Sam's Point Preserve surrounds you with gorgeous views of the Shawangunk Ridge and will take you through our cool Ice Caves!
4. Giant Ledge
A hike that falls on the more difficult side of moderate, you won't regret making it up to Giant Ledge. A hike that's often taken by explorers who are also hiking up to Panther Mountain, you won't believe how far you can see from Giant Ledge. A roughly six mile long trail, this uphill hike has a payoff with extraordinary views that you'll fall in love with.
5. Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park
Perhaps the most beautiful trail in our entire state, the 2-mile long Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park is absolutely out of this world. The trail is made up of stone staircases that will give your legs a good workout and is worth every inch of effort to explore. You'll go by a total of nineteen waterfalls and find yourself completely speechless by the end of your adventure.
6. Indian Head
While it may not be one of our High Peaks, the hike up to Indian Head is one that is incredibly memorable. Giving you a picture perfect view of New York's Ausable waters, you'll never want to leave the summit of this mountain once you arrive. A roughly 10-mile loop, this full day hike is worth sneaking away up to the Adirondacks for.
7. Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary
An amazing place to enjoy a leisurely hike, the trail at the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary is one that's perfect for explorers of all ages. The trail is just over one mile long and eventually leads you to a 700-foot long boardwalk. The boardwalk takes you out into the tidal marsh, surrounding you with views of the Hudson Highlands.
8. Gorge Trail at Letchworth State Park
Known for being one of the best state parks in not only New York but our entire country, Letchworth State Park's Gorge Trail is one that's a bit long but worth spending the day exploring. A roughly 7-mile long adventure that's considered by most to be moderate, you'll pass by waterfalls and unbelievable scenery while taking this hike.
9. Whiteface Mountain
Take a look at any of our 46 High Peaks and you'll find that they're all deserving of being named one of the greatest trails on earth. But there's one High Peak that's simply beautiful in a way that you can't quite explain. Experience what it's like to hike all the way up to the summit of Whiteface Mountain (no, we don't mean driving up!) and you'll be met with iconic views of Lake Placid and our beautiful Adirondack Mountains.
10. Kaaterskill Falls
Lea Monroe/Only In Your State
If you're looking for a trail that's short and sweet yet has a big pay off, Kaaterskill Falls is the place to visit. A beautiful corner of the Northern Catskills, all it takes is a quick half-mile hike to reach the base of this 260-foot waterfall. Adventurers who are brave enough to further explore this area that's been known to be dangerous if you go off trail can climb up to the second tier of the waterfall and follow the stone staircase all the way up to the top of the falls.
11. Lemon Squeeze at Mohonk Mountain House
Put your fears to the test and squeeze your way up to Mohonk Mountain's Sky Top Tower! One of the most unique hikes you'll ever experience in the Empire State, the trail is also often referred to as The Labyrinth. A roughly one mile long trail, you'll have to literally squeeze yourself through crevices and openings between large boulders to achieve the unforgettable views from the top of this trail. Adventurers who are claustrophobic, this trail is the perfect way to conquer your fears!
12. Devil's Hole State Park
Explore the Devil's Hole Trail at Devil's Hole State Park in Niagara Falls and you'll quickly wonder why you haven't taken an adventure here sooner. While people often head to Niagara Falls State Park to soak in the local scenery, you shouldn't overlook this other nearby state park that will blow you away. The park features a roughly two mile long trail that's considered to be relatively easy by most who explore it, taking you down to the vibrant colored water of the Niagara River
13. Bluff Trail - Chimney Bluffs State Park
Out in the town of Wolcott, Chimney Bluffs State Park is home to some of New York's most unique terrain. Unlike anything else you'll find along shores of the Empire State, this state park features endless views of Lake Ontario. The perfect playground for any outdoor adventurer, the park's roughly one mile Bluff Trail is something you'll love to see for yourself.