Best Hikes in New York

By Aaditee Kulkarni on Dec 10, 2018
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New York is so much more than New York City. The New York State is blessed with many beautiful scenic natural wonders and is loaded with waterfalls, mountains, beaches, lakes and rivers. The Adirondacks, Niagara Falls, Watkins Glen State Park, Letchworth, and Finger Lakes are just a few of the many star-attractions in New York. 

If you love hiking, there is no better place to be. Hiking in New York is one of the most sought-after recreational activities. Here are some of the best hikes in New York that you will love. New York is just waiting to be explored. 

1. Cascade Mountain, Adirondack Mountains

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The trailhead is located just before Upper Cascade Lake. This trail up the Cascade Mountain starts with you climbing a few stairs and crossing a bridge before reaching the start. What follows are a few moderate grades, the path then follows a steep section before finally entering into the woods. Cascade's summit will soon appear, and you will be treated to the views of spruce and balsam fir growth. This hike is termed moderate. 

Distance: 7.1 km

Elevation Gain: 579 m

Route Type: Out & Back

Activities: Birding, Hiking, Nature Trips, Rock Climbing, Snowshoeing, Walking, Forest Views, Snow

2. Gorge Trail to Bear Trail to Lake Treman Loop

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Situated inside the Buttermilk Falls State Park, the Gorge Trail to Bear Trail to Lake Treman Loop is rated moderated and makes for a great day hike. Primarily used for walking and hiking, this dog-friendly hike in New York takes you through a gorge where the waterfalls plunge down 600 feet. The views along the way are absolutely beautiful. 

Distance: 7.2 km

Elevation Gain: 212 m

Route Type: Loop

Activities: Hiking, Nature Trips, Walking, Forest, Lake, River Views, Waterfall, Wildlife

3. Mashomack Preserve

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Featuring some of the best and easy hikes in New York, the Mashomack Preserve on the Shelter Island has five land trails that are rated easy. If you are looking for family-friendly hikes in New York, look no further. Perfect for all seasons, you can see a lot of wildlife here as well, be it a dear or swallows and blue birds. The water views are magnificent. 

Distance: 14.5 km

Elevation Gain: 108 m

Route Type: Loop

Activities: Birding, Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Paddle Sports, Snowshoeing, Walking, Forest, Lake Views, Wildlife

4. Gorge Trail and Indian Trail Loop 

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The Gorge Trail and Indian Trail Loop in the Watkins Glen State Park is one of the most wonderful day hikes in New York. This kid-friendly hike in NY is under two miles and features 19 waterfalls and a natural Olympic-sized swimming pool. There are a lot of stairs to climb, and every corner treats you to awe-inspiring views. Visitors must note that the trail can get very crowded during summer months. 

Distance: 3.9 km

Elevation Gain: 172 m

Route Type: Loop

Activities: Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Walking, River Views, Waterfall, Snow

5. Letchworth State Park Gorge Trail

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The Letchworth State Park Gorge Trail runs along the west side of Genesee River inside the Letchworth State Park. This 22-plus kilometer long hike is one of the longest hikes in New York and has some of the most spectacular lookouts. The gorge and 3 waterfalls along the way are hard to miss. If you are looking for a fun getaway in New York State, this is the place to be. 

Distance: 22.5 km

Elevation Gain: 642 m

Route Type: Out & Back

Activities: Birding, Cross Country Skiing, Fishing, Hiking, Nature Trips, Paddle Sports, Road Biking, Snowshoeing, Trail Running, Walking, Forest, River Views, Waterfall, Wildlife

6. Overlook Mountain

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This moderate trail in New York is located near Woodstock and has a canopy of beautiful wildflowers that accompany you along the way. The hike is quite visually stimulating and has without a doubt the best views in the Catskills. At the summit, walk up the Firetower to enjoy the surrounding views. The hike is rated moderate to hard and can get quite steep at places. 

Distance: 7.4 km

Elevation Gain: 426 m

Route Type: Out & Back

Activities: Birding, Hiking, Nature Trips, Snowshoeing, Trail Running, Walking, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Snow

7. Breakneck Ridge Trail to South Beacon Mountain

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This is one of the hardest and one of the most popular trails in New York. Situated inside the Hudson Highlands State Park, this heavily trafficked trail also features a river. The start of the trail can get a bit crowded, but as you keep moving forward, the crowds keep getting lesser. The white trail starts with rock climbing and can get challenging at first and some hiking experience would definitely be helpful. 

Distance: 13.7 km

Elevation Gain: 955 m

Route Type: Out & Back

Activities: Backpacking, Hiking, Nature Trips, Rock Climbing, Snowshoeing, Trail Running, Forest, River Views, Wildlife, Snow

8. Bear Mountain Loop Trail

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Located near Bear Mountain, New York, the Bear Mountain Loop Trail is rated moderate and is best visited from March until November. Great for day trips, the trail is well-marked, and the views are simply amazing. After a super intense initial incline climb of about 30 minutes, the views from the top are incredible. You can also hike this trail in a counter-clockwise direction. 

Distance: 5.8 km

Elevation Gain: 323 m

Route Type: Loop

Activities: Camping, Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Nature Trips, Trail Running, Forest, Lake, River Views, Wildlife

9. Gertrude's Nose Trail

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This 10-kilometer-plus trail has many recreational activities along its way. Best used from March until September, this dog-friendly hike in New York takes you through a lot of varied terrains that are moderately challenging. A part of the trail will take you through a stream and that can be the hardest part for many. It is recommended that you wear waterproof shoes if planning to hike this trail. 

Distance: 10.6 km

Elevation Gain: 347 m

Route Type: Loop

Activities: Birding, Hiking, Nature Trips, Trail Running, Walking, Beach, Cave, Forest, Lake, Snow

10. Mount Marcy via Van Hoevenberg Trail

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Apart from being one of the longest trails in New York, the Van Hoevenberg Trail takes you to the highest point in New York State – the Mount Marcy Peak. Due to its length, the hike can get challenging and most part of it would require you to climb up a rocky terrain, mostly boulders. The payoff is, of course, the Mount Marcy Summit from where you can see the Adirondack high peaks, Mont Royal in Montreal, Canada, and the Green Mountains in Vermont. 

Distance: 22.7 km

Elevation Gain: 1,071 m

Route Type: Out & Back

Activities: Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Snowshoeing, Trail Running, Forest, Lake Views, Waterfall, Wild Flowers, Wildlife, Snow

These hikes in New York come in various sizes and caters to a wide range of hikers. Are you planning on going hiking in New York State? Do let us know of your experience. 

*Few images for representational purposes only 

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