From breathtaking mountain views to city skylines, lush forests to miles of coastline-New York has a diverse landscape and what better way to see it than by hiking. There are thousands of miles of trails across the state for hikers of all abilities, whether you want to hike the Appalachian Trail or take the family out for a short excursion to a scenic natural feature.
If you can walk, you can hike. And if you can't walk or have trouble walking, many trails are accessible to people with disabilities.
DEC maintains hiking trails on many areas of Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks as well as on State Forests, Wildlife Management Areas and Unique Areas. Most trails are marked with color coded disks affixed to trees. Trail guides and maps corresponding to these markers have been developed for many locations.
Trail register boxes are generally located near major access points and parking areas. Although most DEC-maintained trails are marked, hikers are encouraged to consult topographical maps or other guides when planning to venture into the backcountry.
Nervous about trying hiking for the first time? Consider hiring an outdoor guide. NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website)
Download DEC's free app to locate a fishing or watchable wildlife spot near you using
advanced GPS mapping features
Where to Go
Hiking trails can be found throughout the state, here are some links to some highlighted trails. To explore other hiking trails on DEC lands, see the Places to Go page.
Trails Supporter Patch
The Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.
- Important safety tips and guidelines for all outdoor recreational activities.
- Hiking trails can be rough and rugged - they are not maintained as park walkways - wear boots or shoes designed for hiking. Wearing sneakers, sandals, or other shoes on trails can be uncomfortable and may result in injuries.
- Know the weather forecast; plan and prepare based on current and forecasted conditions.
- Know and plan for the route and terrain that you plan to hike and the conditions you may encounter.
- Adirondack Trail Information provides general information, seasonal conditions, and specific notices on closures and other situations involving trails, roads, foot bridges, parking lots, lean-tos, campsites and more.
- Pack a day pack with the following gear:
- Map and compass
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Food and water
- Extra clothing
- First aid kit
- Keep together when hiking in groups - always have at least the person in front of you and the person behind you within your sight and all of the group within hearing distance.
- Sign in and out of all trail registers that you encounter - for groups only one person should sign in.
- Call the DEC Central Dispatch at 518-408-5852, or in the Adirondacks 518-891-0235, to report a lost, injured or stricken hiker or other backcountry emergency.
- Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you are new to hiking. Find a DEC licensed guide.
Be respectful and courteous towards your fellow adventurers by following trail etiquette:
- Be courteous of all other users regardless of their sport, speed or skill level.
- Hike in single file, especially when approaching other hikers.
- Stay to the right and pass on the left when safe and appropriate.
- Allow faster hikers to pass by.
- When coming up from behind politely make them aware of your presence and desire to pass.
- On narrow trails, yield to oncoming hikers. Hikers going downhill should yield to hikers going uphill.
- Hikers on foot bridges and bog bridging have the right of way, allow them to complete their crossing before stepping onto the bridge or other structure.
- Keep pets under control
- Enjoy and respect wildlife from a distance - do not disturb
- Park in designated parking areas - do not block gates, entrances, exits or other vehicles.
Protect the Lands & Waters
- Know the rules of the area where you will be hiking.
- Know the principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website)
- Don't litter - Carry out what you carry in.
- Do not remove or damage trail markers.
- Stay on trails - don't trample vegetation, especially sensitive high elevation plants.
- Walk through, not around, mud and puddles on trails to avoid further eroding and widening trails.
- Stay off steep, high elevation trails during the spring mud season.
- After a hike and before getting into your vehicle shake or brush off clothing and clean boot treads to avoid spreading seeds of invasive species.
More about Hiking:
- Adirondack Backcountry Information - Information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions for those planning to hike, bike, camp, paddle or horseback ride in the Adirondack backcountry.
- Catskill Backcountry Information - Access, outdoor recreation conditions, and other information for those planning to visit the Catskill backcountry
- Great Winter Hikes - Explore a great winter hike in locations across New York state.
- Great Autumn Hikes - Explore a great autumn hike in locations across New York state.
- Great Spring Hikes - Explore a great spring hike in locations across New York state.
- Great Summer Hikes - Explore a great summer hike in locations across New York state.
- Fire Towers - A listing of fire towers open to the public in New York State.
- Catskill Hikes - Popular hiking trails in the Catskills
- Hiking Safety - Tips for planning, packing, what to bring, wear and what to do in case of trouble for those venturing outdoors.
- Trails Supporter Patch - The public may support trail maintenance projects across the state by purchasing the $5 patch.