11th Annual Event Offers More Than 75 Hikes for New Yorkers to Spend Jan. 1 Enjoying Nature with Friends and Family
Governor Kathy Hochul today encouraged New Yorkers to spend time in the outdoors this holiday season and celebrate the New Year at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the Empire State on January 1, 2022. The variety of hikes offered include seal walks, fire tower treks, lakefront trails, boardwalks, towpaths, walks along waterfalls, historic estates, military forts and more.
"First Day Hikes are a widely popular tradition among New York families, as they remind us just how important our outdoor areas are to our health and happiness year-round," Governor Hochul said. "New York State is home to so many unique hiking trails, and it's a joy to visit for all ages. Hiking on one of the state's beautiful trails is a unique way to welcome a bright, optimistic new year."
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) host or partner with volunteer organizations to host the many walks and hikes being held as part of the popular First Day Hikes program, marking its 11th year Anniversary.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The New Year is an ideal time to take a break from our hectic daily lives and embrace the outdoors with a walk or hike in New York's breathtaking scenic settings. First Day Hikes are a fun tradition that offer a chance to experience our state's natural treasures in the winter season."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York's annual First Day Hikes grow in popularity every year, and to meet growing interest DEC added seven new hikes this year. Now more than ever, New Yorkers and visitors are getting outside and exploring our state's world-class natural destinations and trails. DEC is proud to continue to host these hikes with our partners at State Parks and I encourage New Yorkers of all ages and abilities to get outdoors with family and friends this New Year's Day."
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event options for hikes range from self-guided treks to small staff- or volunteer-led hikes to multiple event options that day, allowing participants the time and space to social distance while still enjoying nature's winter wonders.
The walks and hikes are family-friendly, and typically range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions. Hikes are being offered at more than 75 state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers with select sites offering multiple event options. The FDH events may include drawings for an annual Empire Pass, as well as keepsake giveaways.
Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "First Day hikes are a great way to celebrate New York's outdoors with family and friends this winter. Any hike can become an overnight getaway when paired with craft food and beverage, a museum visit or live performance, and a stay at a heated cabin or cozy B&B. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to come be a part of it, from snow-capped mountains and frozen waterfalls to other majestic winter scenes that await in our State Parks and public lands."
A list of New York State First Day Hikes, location details, format, pre-registration requirements and additional information can be found online at parks.ny.gov and dec.ny.gov. Interested participants are encouraged to check the details of their preferred host site and pre-register where required; alternate locations should be considered as capacity restrictions and registration limits may impact availability.
Starting in Massachusetts in 1992, First Day Hikes are now a national event taking place in all 50 states.
Other ideas to celebrate 2022 in the outdoors include finding a local park or trail. With the recent completion of the Empire State Trail, the longest multi-use state trail in the nation, residents along the 750-mile route have a wide variety of local trail segments to enjoy in all four seasons. Information about the trail is available on the website, empiretrail.ny.gov.
List of First Day Hikes by region (all hikes Saturday, Jan 1, except where noted):
Western New York
- Allegany State Park- Red House, 10am-2pm; 716.354.9101 x.232
- Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island; 9:30-11am; 716.282-5154
- Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 2-4pm; 716.282.5154
- Genesee Valley Greenway, Hinsdale; 9am; 585.493.3614
- Genesee Valley Greenway, Bull St., Cuba; 1pm; 585.493.3614
- Genesee Valley Greenway Hike/Snowmobile Ride, Avon, 11am; 585.964.3614
- Hamlin Beach State Park, Hamlin; 1pm; 585.964.2462
- Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 10am-12pm; 716.549.1050
- Letchworth State Park, Castile; Guided: 7am; 10am; 10:30am; 1pm (2); self-guided: all day; 585.493.3680
- Reinstein Woods, Depew; 10am; 716.683.5959
- Swift Hill State Forest, Town of Centerville; 11am; 585.415.1521
- Tilman Road Wildlife Management Area, Clarence, 12pm; 716.851.7019
Finger Lakes & Central New York
- Bowman Lake State Park/McDonough State Forest, Oxford; 11am; 607.334.2718
- Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 10am; 607.535.4511
- Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 1pm; (two hikes) 607.648.5251
- Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 11am; 315.415.8377
- Delta Lake State Park, Rome; 10am; 315.337.4670
- Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego; 8am-2pm; self-guided; 315.343.4711
- Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 10am-dusk; 607.547.8662
- Gilbert Lake State Park, Laurens; 9am-12pm; 607.432.2114
- Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 1pm; 315.637.6111
- Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, Canadice; 10am; 585.374.8366
- Herkimer Home State Historic Site, Herkimer; 1pm; 315.823.0398
- Rogers Environmental Education Center, Sherburne; 10am; [email protected]
- Rome Sand Plains Unique Area, Rome; 9am; 315.866.6330
- Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva; 10am; 315.789.2331
- Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 10am-4pm; 607.387.7041 ext. 131
- Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 10am-12pm; 607.732.6287
- Veterans Memorial Park in Schulyer (*Jan 3), 9:45am; https://www.eventbrite.com/e/1st-day-hike-in-schulyer-county-tickets-224189706447
Dec. 31 Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, Savannah; 9pm-12am; 315.365.3588
- Cheney Mountain, Champlain Area Trails; 10am; [email protected]
- Crown Point State Historic Site; 10am; 518-597-3666
- Little Ausable River Trail, Champlain Area Trails; 10am; [email protected]
- Paul Smith College Heron Marsh, 10am; 518.327.6241
- Point Au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh; 11am; 518.563.0369
- Prospect Mountain, Village of Lake George; 9am; [email protected]
- Robert G. Wehle State Park, Henderson; 10am; 315.938.5302
- Rome Sand Plains, Lauther and Hogsback Road, 9am; 315.866.6330
- Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 1-3pm; 315.646.2321
- SUNY ESF Newcomb Adir. Interpretive Center, Newcomb; 9:30am; [email protected]
- Thomas Mountain from Valley Woods Road Trailhead, Bolton; 10am; [email protected]
- Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 10am-2pm; 315.482.2479
- Winona State Forest, Lorraine; 10am; 315-376-3521
Greater Capital District
- Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar; 10:30am; 1pm; (two hikes) 518.475.0291
- Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 11am; 1pm; (two hikes) 518.279.1155
- Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11am; 518.827.6111
- Peebles Island State Park, Waterford; 10am; 1pm; (two hikes) 518.268.2188
- Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 10am; 518.584.2535
- Texas Schoolhouse State Forest, Town of Lisbon; 9:00am; 315-778-4107
- Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 10am; 518.872.1237 ext. 0
- Vroman's Nose, Middleburgh; 6:15am; 607.746.3645
- Ashokan Quarry Trail, Olivebridge; 10am; 516-647-7776
FDR State Park, Yorktown; 10:30am; 914.245.4434
- Little Stony Point/Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring; 11am-2pm; 845.224.7207
- John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 1-3pm; 914.232.5651
- Kelly Hollow Trail, Town of Middletown; 11:00 am; 845.586.3112
- Meads Meadow Loop Trailhead, Woodstock; 9am & 12pm (2 hikes); 845.256.3083 - Jan. 2
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter's Kill, Kerhonkson; 9:15am; 845.255.0752
- Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 10-11am; 1-2pm; (two hikes) 518.751.0344
- Old Croton Aqueduct, Dobbs Ferry; 12pm; 646.303.1448 (Jan. 1 & Jan 2)
- Overlook Mountain Fire Tower, Woodstock; 7:45am; 845.688.3369
- Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 10am-12pm; 914.631.1470
- Rockefeller Preserve Rockwood Hall; Pleasantville; 9am; 914.631.1470
- Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 10am; 845.351.5907
- Stonykill Farm Env Ed Center, Wappingers Falls; 11:00am; 845.831.3800
- Taconic State Park - Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 1pm; 518.329.3993
- Upper Esopus Fire Tower, Mt. Tremper; 9:30am-4pm; 845.688.3369
- Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park; Poughkeepsie; 2pm; 845.834.2867
NYC & Long Island
- Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 10am; 516.780.3295
- Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Lloyd Neck; 10am-12pm; 631.423.1770
- Clay Pit Ponds, Staten Island; 1pm; 718.605.3970 x201
- Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 10am-12pm; 631.581.1072
- Hallock State Park Preserve, Wading River; 12pm; 631.315.5475
- Hempstead Lake State Park, Hempstead; 10-11:30am; 516.766.1029
- Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 10am-3pm; 516.780.3295
- Montauk Point State, Montauk; 1pm; 631.668.5000
- Mount Loretto Unique Area; Staten Island; 10am; 718.313.8591
- Orient Beach State Park, Orient; 10am-12pm; 631.323.2440
- Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 11am; 1pm; (two hikes) 631.444.0350 - Jan. 2
- Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn; 12pm; 212.866.3100
- Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 10:30am; 631.269.4333
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
DEC manages nearly five million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves, 55 campgrounds and day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails, and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. Find recreation options by visiting Love Our NY Lands - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation or checking out DECinfo Locator - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Many sites and trails are accessible to people with disabilities. Plan your next outdoor adventure and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.