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First Day Hikes

Winter time hikers

Celebrate the New Year outdoors with friends and family!

Join one of the dozens of sponsored hikes held each New Year's Day at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas and trails across the Empire State. Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers at many sites, lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions. We also have a listing of Great Winter hikes on our website, to showcase some other great spots. Stay tuned for the list of January 1, 2019 hikes. See below for the list of 2018 hikes.

Watch a video about winter hiking safety tips and check out these other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

DEC Region Location Address Hike description, length and level of difficulty Meeting time and location Partner and contact Other notes
1 Ridge Conservation Area: Breakfast in the Pine Barrens with DEC's Heather Amster 484 Randall Road, Ridge NY 11961 Ridge Interpretive Trail. A 2.25-mile hike will wind its way through the 184-acre Ridge Conservation Area. The hike features 14 interpretive posts describing forest, grassland and pond habitats. The interpretive trail hike will provide scenic viewing locations. Smart phone technology will allow users to access trail interpretive information with a quick swipe of the QR code at the trail's entry way kiosk and stations along the path. 9 a.m. DEC Ridge Check Station, 484 Randall Road, Ridge, N.Y. 11961 RSVP: Heather Amster Directions to Ridge Conservation Area: Rt. 495 (L.I.E.) exit 68, north on William Floyd Parkway (CR 46) to Rt. 25 west, 1/4 mile to right turn on Randall Road, entrance 300' on left side. Weather: The guided hike will be cancelled if snowfall or other weather events creates hazardous travel conditions. The self-guided trail is open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the event the hike is cancelled.
2 Mount Loretto Unique Area Staten Island, Richmond County 40.509370°N, 74.218136°W, 6540 Hylan Boulevard Enjoy a leisurely winter walk along the gentle slopes of the grassland trail. Visit the wildlife platform overlooking the freshwater ponds as well as the newly constructed Mount Loretto Pavilion overlooking the Raritan Bay. This one mile loop will offer good views of waterfowl, raptors and sparrows. Participants should meet in the Hylan Boulevard parking area at 10:00 am. The walk will last approximately one and a half hours. RSVP: Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Cliff Hagen 718-313-8591
3 Rochester Hollow 51 Matyas Rd, Big Indian, NY, 12480(just off State Route 28, in Shandaken Wild Forest. Catskill Forest Preserve) Colonel Rochester Trail at Rochester Hollow offers a nice slice of Catskills history with features including the former Rochester Estate, a monument dedicated to John Burroughs, and historic stone walls and pillars from times past. The hike also offers views of Belleayre Mountain, picturesque stream corridors, a mix of tree species, and an Adirondack style lean-to. The hike will include a short history talk. This easy/moderate hike is about 5 miles' round trip, and takes about 5 hours to complete. Meeting time is 10:00 am at the Rochester Hollow Parking Area located at the end of Matyas Road, 0.2 miles northeast of its intersection with NYS Route 28. (42.116493°N, 74.452440°W) **Snow shoes required for more than 6 inches of snow, snow shoes provided for those that do not have them. ** RSVP: Ian Dunn (845)-256-3083 Attendance will be capped at 15 people. Well behaved dogs are welcome but must be leashed.

Cancelled due to weather

Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center

79 Farmstead Lane Wappingers Falls, NY 12590 Bird and Wildlife Walk 10 AM - 12 PM 79 Farmstead Lane Wappingers Falls, NY 12590 Stony Kill Foundation Paul Adams and Tom Amisson.

Register by visiting, calling 845-831-3800 or via email at
Please note: No pets allowed
4 Five Rivers Environmental Education Center 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054 Join local bird experts for our 37th annual New Year's Day survey. Seventy-one different species have been found at Five Rivers on Albany's "First Morning," and the birds found over the decades of this long-term study show interesting range changes for many species. Binoculars are helpful but not necessary. Dress warmly. 9:00 -11:00 AM 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054 Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club and Friends of Five Rivers Coordinators: Five Rivers Environmental Education Center:

RSVP: Ray Perry 518-475-0291 (daytime) or Kitty Rusch 518-475-0291

Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club John Kent 518-424-2234
If severe weather is forecast, call the Center at 518-475-0291 on Saturday, December 30 to confirm if the event will be held. Program is accessible to all. Choose a walk that suits your desires and abilities, or sit inside and contribute to the count by observing birds at the feeders.

Please note: No pets allowed

Cancelled due to weather

Split Rock on Mary Smith Trail

start at the Mary Smith trailhead on Holliday/Berry Brook Rd. Hike to Split Rock along the FLT section is part of the Mary Smith Trail. This hike is relatively easy with only one steep section as we near the Split Rock overlook. Total length (roundtrip): 4.0 miles Approximate duration (hours): 3 Level of difficulty: Moderate 12:30 pm Pre-registration: at by Dec, 28, 2017

Rick Roberts
Phone: 607 746-9694

Cancelled due to weather

North South Lake Loop

Meet at the South Lake dam parking area, drive through the N/S Lake entrance and follow the road to the right down to the lake. Coordinates: 42.196240, -74.050677 Hike will start at South Lake dam parking area, and take the yellow trail around the lake to Alligator and Tyrannosaurs Rocks. The hike will continue to the Catskill Mountain House site providing some dramatic views of the valley. A family friendly hike the provides a lot of fun for all ages and abilities. If it is icy, please bring proper footwear and traction devices. 4 miles (roundtrip). 9:00am 3500 Club Heather Rowland If it is icy, please bring proper footwear and traction devices.

Cancelled due to weather


The trailhead is just 5 miles south of Exit 33 of the Northway (I-87). Trailhead Coordinates: 44.4019°N, 73.5029°W The Observer's Trail in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest ascends 1.9 miles and 1,280 feet from the trailhead off State Route 9 to the 2,162-foot summit with 360 degree views and a fire tower. Views from the summit include the Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and much of the northeastern Adirondacks. 10 AM at the Observer's Trailhead Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine

RSVP: Tom Martin,
Limited to 25 hikers Bring food and water. Hikers should check weather and be prepared for conditions. Microspikes and snowshoes may be required. Additional information will be provided when hiker signs up

Cancelled due to weather

Hadley Mountain

Trailhead is on the Tower Road in the town of Hadley, Saratoga County Trailhead Coordinates: 43.3737°N 73.9507°W(Decimal degrees using NAD83 or WGS84 datum) Trail is 1.4 miles in length and 1,500 feet change in elevation from the parking lot to summit. The trail is steep and wet in places which makes the trail difficult to traverse when conditions are wet or icy. The summit of Hadley Mountain has a historic fire tower and is open with spectacular views in every direction. 9:00 AM at the Hadley Mt. Trailhead Hadley Mt. Firetower Committee

RSVP: Ben Thomas, Forester
Limited to 25 hikers. Bring food and water. Hikers should check weather and be prepared for conditions. Microspikes and snowshoes may be required. Additional information will be provided when hiker signs up.

Cancelled due

Willie Wildlife Marsh

Trailhead is on the Willie Road in the Town of Johnstown, Clinton County Trailhead Coordinates: 43.0830°N 74.4425°W (Decimal degrees using NAD83 or WGS84 datum) The 1.5-mile Willie Wildlife Marsh Interpretive Trail loops through forest and marsh habitats and includes three boardwalks totaling 600' over open water. The boardwalks and the viewing areas along them provide scenic views of the marsh and the forests that fringe them. This mostly level trail is suitable for users of all ages and abilities and includes a 0.4 mile designed to meet ADA requirements. 9:30 AM at the Willie Wildlife Marsh Trailhead Parking Area RSVP: Jonathan DeSantis, Forester Limited to 30 hikers. Hikers should check weather and be prepared for conditions. Microspikes or snowshoes may be required. If there is snow on the trail, people with mobility impairments may not be able to use the trail. Additional information will be provided when hiker signs up.

Rescheduled due to weather

Stillwater Fire Tower

Town of Webb, Herkimer County Stillwater Fire Tower Trail ascends 1.2 miles and 550 feet from the trailhead on Big Moose Road to the summit of Stillwater Mountain (2,264 feet). The summit provides views of Stillwater Reservoir and the surrounding area. People will be able to climb the Fire Tower. The trail is considered moderate. 10:00 am small parking area on the Stillwater Road, in Herkimer County.

RSVP: Region 6 DEC


Directions from Lowville: Take County Route 26(Number Four road) to Number Four. Turn right onto Stillwater Road. Follow Stillwater Road approximately 7.7 miles. Turn right onto Big Moose Road. Trailhead is about 2-miles from intersection.

Directions from Eagle Bay: Take County Route 1 west to Big Moose Station (~7.6 Mi.) and continue on County Route 1 for approximately 8 miles to trailhead.

7 Kopac Trail McDonough State Forest 2.5-mile loop on relatively level ground. Options are available for shorter hikes 11 am in the pavilion parking area below the nature center of Bowman Lake State Park RSVP: Tom Brownell, NYSPRHP

Andrew Goeller, NYSDEC
8 Montezuma Wetlands Complex Montezuma Audubon Center Montezuma Hot Cocoa and Snow - January 1, 2018. Join us as we celebrate the first day of the New Year with a snowshoe hike! Weather permitting, we'll hike through snow muffled forests, across grasslands and out to the usually inaccessible Crusoe Lake shoreline to explore hearty winter birds and signs of active mammals! After the hike, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa in the Montezuma Audubon Center. 1:00 pm at the Audubon Center, 2295 St. Rt. 89, Savannah, Wayne County Friends of Montezuma Wetlands Complex, Mont. Audubon Center, and NYSDEC.

RSVP: Jim Eckler, (315) 365-2134,
Snowshoes are available from MAC for small fee.
9 Reinstein Woods 93 Honorine Drive Depew, NY 14043 Ring in the New Year with a walk to look for the first birds of the year! Bring binoculars if you have them. 11:00 a.m. Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve 93 Honorine Drive, Depew Friends of Reinstein Woods, volunteer Barb Ciesla, and Terry Boyle

Pre-registration required; call (716) 683-5959.
Please note: no pets allowed.

In case of extreme weather, we will call registered people to cancel the hike.