When most people hear “New York” they think of the city; cement, buildings, sidewalks, honking cars—but definitely not hiking. If you’re willing to leave the craziness of the Big Apple, you can find some of the best hiking trails around. From difficult hikes that pass stunning waterfalls and rivers to easier hikes that go past hotel ruins and fire towers, there are lots of hiking routes to choose from. Here are four of the best hiking trails in New York.
Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail
The Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail is 1.3 mile long hike, so it is a quick hike that is ideal for beginners and families. The trail features stunning mountain top views, and it passes over and under rugged waterfalls and stone stops. The hike isn’t the most challenging in New York, but it is great for the views; there are over 19 waterfalls to check out as well as 200ft towering cliffs.
You can spend your afternoon exploring this trail, or camp in the park and check out all the hiking trails the area has to offer, such as the Indian Trail, Rim Trails and the North Country National Scenic Trail. This is a great option if you want to do a series of hikes of varying difficulty.
If you love a challenging hike you should visit Whiteface Mountain. It’s a difficult 10 mile hike that winds up the mountain to a stunning summit where hikers are rewarded with a beautiful view for their efforts.
The mountain is the older sibling of Cascade Mountain, and it is the fifth highest mountain in New York standing at 4,865 feet. The trail is located in Wilmington New York, which is about four hours out of New York City. The mountain first became famous in 1980 when it hosted Alpine Skiing for the Winter Olympics.
Whiteface Mountain is known as one of the best hikes in New York, but it is also the most dangerous hike on this list. If you visit, make sure that you have a high quality pair of waterproof boots, as well as a bottle of water and fully charged phone.
Overlook Mountain is a simple hike that is perfect for beginners (or people who don’t like hiking). The path is relatively flat and easy to walk, and there are lots of cool views to check out. There are some interesting hotel ruins to explore near the summit, and at the summit there is a fire tower that offers stunning views of the mountain. There is also a ranger cabin that explains the sad history of the failed Overlook hotel.
It is worth noting that this hiking trail is extremely popular, so you should head out early if you want to avoid the crowds.
Cascade Mountain is a moderately challenging hike that is perfect for experienced hikers. The 4.8 mile trail is shorter than most other hiking trails in the area, but it includes difficult routes and paths, making it a fun challenge.
The summit of Cascade Mountain features 360 degree views of the area, so you will be rewarded for your hiking efforts. There are also lots of campsites and cabins for hire at the summit, so if you want you can plan to stay the night.