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First Day Hikes

Celebrate the New Year outdoors with friends and family!

Thank you to all those who attended a First Day Hike on January 1, 2020! Check out photos from the hikes on DEC's Flickr album and stay tuned for details on next year's events.

hikers gather to celebrate the New Year

Please click on the photo above to access DEC's Flickr page.

Long Island

New York City

Lower Hudson Valley/Catskills

Capital Region/Northern Catskills

Eastern Adirondacks

Western Adirondacks/Mohawk Valley

Central NY

Rochester/Western Finger Lakes

Western NY

Other hikes

Long Island

Ridge Conservation Area - 11:00 AM, second hike at 1:00 PM

Town of Ridge, Suffolk County

Meeting location: Ridge Conservation Area Check Station, Randall Pond Road (40.8967514°N, 72.8922272°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For more information and registration (required): Bill Fonda bill.fonda@dec.ny.gov or call (631) 444-0350. Participation is limited to 30 individuals, per hike.

Join Forest Ranger John Gagne for a 2.25-mile hike that 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 and be completely guided. Please dress appropriately for winter weather. Bathrooms are available. Sorry, no pets allowed.

New York City

Mount Loretto Unique Area - 10:00 AM

Staten Island, Richmond County

Meeting location: Main parking lot along Hylan Boulevard.

For information: Cliff Hagen ppow@siprotectors.com or call (718) 313-8591

Join with DEC and the Protectors of Pine Oak Woods for a fresh start to the New Year with some fresh air and a new commitment to enjoying time outdoors. Cliff Hagen, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, will lead the group on an easy two-mile hike around this beautiful property. Leashed pets are discouraged but allowed. Hike duration: 1.5 hours.

Lower Hudson Valley/Catskills

Frick Pond (snowshoe hike) - 2:00 PM

Town of Rockland, Sullivan County

Meeting location: Frick Pond Trailhead, Beech Mountain Road, Willowemoc Wild Forest, (41.9573491°N, 74.6912198°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For more information and registration (required): Lisa Lyons, morganoutdoors@hancock.net or call (845) 439-5507

Join Lisa to celebrate the New Year with fresh air and friendly folks. This scenic 2.2-mile loop trail is both inviting for beginners and pleasing to more experienced hikers. Our pathway will take us through a hemlock grotto with views across the pond, across a trail intersection named for Times Square, and along the edge of a woodland meadow with a drafty old outhouse just out of sight. Bring waterproof hiking boots, traction devices like microspikes or snowshoes (depending on trail conditions), and wear layers. Snowshoe and microspike rentals are available (at special rate) locally at Morgan Outdoors, 46 Main Street, Livingston Manor, NY. The event will be held unless there are hazardous driving conditions. No pets allowed.

Ashokan High Point - 8:00 AM

Town of Olive, Ulster County

Meeting location: Meet at the Catskills Visitor Center at 5096 NY-28, Mt Tremper, NY 12457 (41.935026, -74.328983) Google Maps (leaves DEC website) from the Catskills Visitor Center we will head to the Kanape Brook parking area (41.935026, -74.328983)3.

For more information and registration (required by 12/30): Wendell George wendell@catskillmountainclub.org or call (845) 586-6273. Provide your contact information for the morning of the hike. Please be sure to notify the leader ASAP if you will need to cancel your registration. Limited to 12 participants.

Ashokan High Point (3086') is a prominent mountain in the eastern Catskills overlooking the Ashokan Reservoir and the Burroughs Range. Elevation gain is about 2000'. Led by Wendell George of Catskill Mountain Club and Olivia Bernard of Catskills Visitor Center this is a moderate to difficult hike of 7.6 miles that will take about 7 hours. Bring lunch, snacks, and something to drink. Wear warm, moisture wicking clothing that is easy to layer, good hiking boots, snowshoes and microspikes. Hiking poles are recommended. Hike will be cancelled if weather causes hazardous road conditions. No pets are allowed

Meads Meadow Trail Loops: First hike at 9:00 AM, second hike at 12:00 PM

Town of Woodstock, Ulster County

Meeting location: Meads Meadow Trailhead on Macdaniel Road. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): Ian Dunn (845) 256-3083 or Ian.dunn@dec.ny.gov

This First Day Hike, led by DEC Forester Ian Dunn, offers two start times and will begin at the newly established Meads Meadow Trailhead on Macdaniel Road in Woodstock, NY. Hikes will begin at 9:00 am and 12:00 noon and should take approximately 2 hours each. Attendees are welcome to attend one or both hikes. This easy 2-mile hike will traverse the new blue marked Meads Meadow Trail, the yellow marked Overloop Trail, and the red marked Overlook Spur Trail Extension. Please come prepared for the cold, wear proper hiking boots, and bring water and snacks. You have the option of a 9:00 AM start time or a 12:00 PM start time. Please indicate in your reply which hike you plan on attending. Leashed pets are allowed.

Ashokan Rail Trail - 10:00 AM

West Hurley, Ulster County

Meeting location: West Hurley Trailhead, 1285 NY-28, West Hurley. The Trailhead entrance is 5.3 miles west of the NYS Thruway Exit 19 Traffic Circle and approximately 1,500 feet west of the Stewart's Shop (by Zena Road)

For information and registration (required): Maxanne Resnick (914) 466-9263 or maxanne.wlc@gmail.com. Hike is limited to 15 pre-registered participants.

Start the year by visiting the beautiful Ashokan Rail Trail, walking to it's Glenford Dike and taking in expansive views of the Ashokan Reservoir. This easy round trip of hike of 1.5-2 miles is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors. This hike will be cancelled if it is raining or if there is more than 3" of snow on the ground. Under 14 must be accompanied by a parent. No pets are allowed.

Capital Region/Northern Catskills

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center - 9:00 AM

Delmar, Albany County

Meeting location: Inside the visitor center at 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054. Google Maps (leaves DEC website). Meet inside the visitor center. From there we'll break up into field parties based on length of walk and level of difficulty. The visitor center will remain be open until 12PM for those who wish to observe birds at the feeders.

For information: Call (518) 475-0291

Join local bird experts for Five Rivers' 39th Annual New Year's Day Bird Count. 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. Bring binoculars if you have them. Dress warmly. If severe weather is forecasted, call on Tuesday, December 31 to confirm the event will be held. Pets are not permitted at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.

Devil's Path to Cod Fish Point - 10:00 AM

Town of Hunter, Greene County

Meeting location: Prediger Road Parking Lot, Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): Call (914) 482-5771

This hike is offered by Catskill Country Walks and is approximately 5.5 miles round trip. Explore the relationship of the Devil to the Catskills: Devil's Path, Devil's Lean-to, and the Devil's Kitchen. We will also visit some bluestone quarries and learn about Catskill geology, bluestone quarrying, and how Cod Fish Point got its name. This is a moderate level hike and leashed pets are allowed. Bring water, lunch, and dress for the weather.

Eastern Adirondacks

SUNY ESF Newcomb Adirondack Interpretive Center (2-mile hike) - 10:00 AM

Town of Newcomb, Essex County

Meeting location: Adirondack Interpretive Center, 5922 State Route 28N, Newcomb, NY 12852. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): Call (518) 582-2000

Join an Adirondack Interpretive Center Naturalist for a hike or snowshoe, approximately 2 miles, where we will explore the many unique adaptations that allow mammals to survive the often cold and harsh Adirondack Winters. The walk will be on light-moderate terrain and will take approximately 1.5 hours. Snowshoe equipment is available. Hot chocolate will be available at the Interpretive Center after the hike.

SUNY ESF Newcomb Adirondack Interpretive Center (4-mile hike) - 10:00 AM

Town of Newcomb, Essex County

Meeting location: Adirondack Interpretive Center, 5922 State Route 28N, Newcomb, NY 12852. Google Maps (leaves DEC website). Once all participants have arrived, there will be a short drive to the Goodnow Mountain Trailhead.

For information and registration (required): (518) 582-2000

Join AIC naturalists and snowshoe the 4-mile round-trip trail up Goodnow Mountain. The hike will explore the natural and cultural history of Goodnow Mountain. The Goodnow Mountain trail ascends approximately 800 feet over 2 miles and features gorgeous views into the high peaks from a 60ft fire tower on the summit. Hike will take approximately 3.5 hours. This is a moderate level hike and plan to be outdoors for 3 hours. No pets allowed but service animals welcome. Snowshoe equipment is available and hot chocolate will be available at the Interpretive Center after the hike.

Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President, returns to Newcomb to join the First Day Hike at SUNY-ESF's Newcomb Campus. President Roosevelt was vocal proponent for leading a vigorous life, and followed that vigorous life on his many visits to the Adirondacks. TR reprisor Joe Wiegand is excited to continue TR's legacy and vigorous life by joining ESF's First Day Hike up Goodnow Mountain.

Prospect Mountain - 10:00 AM

Town of Lake George, Warren County

Meeting location: Trailhead on Smith Street, Village of Lake George (43.4254°N, 73.7197°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration: Ben Thomas, benjamin.thomas@dec.ny.gov or call (518) 623-1268

DEC staff will provide a guided hike up Prospect Mountain. The hike is 1.5-miles (3 miles round trip) and climbs 1,630-feet from the trailhead to the 2,030-foot summit. Take in the spectacular 360-degree, 100-mile view of Lake George, the Southern Adirondacks Mountains, the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Adirondack High Peaks of New York, and on a clear day, the Laurentian Mountains of Canada. This is a moderate hike not recommended for young children. All hikers must have appropriate clothing and footwear. Snow shoes or crampons are required. Weather conditions may make this trail extremely icy and require additional traction. Bring water, snacks, or anything else you may need for a hike. Pets allowed, however, there is a considerably long pedestrian walkway over I-87 at the beginning of this hike. The metal grate walkway may be unpleasant for a dog's paws.

Paul Smith's Visitor Center - 1:00PM to 3:00PM

Town of Paul Smiths, Franklin County

Meeting location: Front desk at the Visitor Center: 8023 State Route 30, Paul Smith's, New York 12970. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (recommended): Call (518) 327-6241

Join us for a 2-mile walk on the VIC trails to learn about how wildlife survives our cold Adirondack winters! Snowshoe rentals if needed; $5 for the first 3 pairs, $3 for every additional pair per group. Event is weather permitting and will not run if the temperature is below 0°; please call ahead the day of the event for cancelations. Bring snowshoes if you have them. Dress to be outside for two hours. Dogs must be on a leash.

Western Adirondacks/Mohawk Valley

Mt. Arab Fire Tower - 10:00 AM- POSTPONED to January 25, due to weather conditions.

Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest, St. Lawrence County

Meeting location: Mt. Arab Parking Area and Trailhead (44.213689°N, 74.596110°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): 315-265-3090

Join DEC Forester Henry Dedrick on this moderate 2-mile round trip hike. The 1-mile long trail begins on the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement and ascends over 700 feet to the summit of Mt. Arab. On the summit you will find the Mt. Arab Fire Tower and observer's cabin, which are located within Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest. The tower provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscape including various lakes, forests, and mountains. Leashed pets are allowed. Must have appropriate clothing and footwear. Snowshoes or crampons may be useful. Bring water, snacks, or anything else you may need for a hike. Hot chocolate will be provided.

Utica Marsh - 11:00 AM - CANCELLED due to weather conditions

City of Utica, Oneida County

Meeting location: Wildlife Management Area Parking Lot which is located on Harbor Lock Road, right off Genesee Street. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information: Brian Moore, 315-796-2849

Come out and break in the New Year with a nature walk/hike out to the historic Utica Marsh. We will start out on the Erie Canal Trail which then will lead us to DEC land to the Utica Marsh. Our destination is the Utica Marsh observatory tower which gives you a bird's eye view of the marsh. This out and back hike is 2.2 miles round trip and will take about 1.5 - 2 hours. Please note that temperatures will most likely be below freezing, so dress appropriately. Wear a winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and waterproof boots so you'll be comfortable. Hike leader will provide water. Pack a snack if needed. Leashed dogs are allowed.

Central NY

Bowman Lake State Park/McDonough State Forest - 11:00 AM

Oxford, Chenango County

Meeting location: Pavilion Parking Area below the nature center of Bowman Lake State Park.

For information: Andy Goeller, 607-674-4036 x 603 andrew.goeller@dec.ny.gov or Tom Brownell, 607-334-2718 thomas.brownell@parks.ny.gov

Join DEC and State Parks and be ready to experience mature timberlands, wetlands, and old cultural sites. The wood stove in Bowman lodge will be going. This hike will traverse both State Forest and State Parks property. The approximate 2.7-mile hiking trail has been re-routed to avoid the wet ground conditions encountered last year. We expect to avoid all wet ground this year, unless the weather conditions are unseasonably wet. Leashed pets are allowed. Please dress appropriately for weather. Restrooms and a warming hut are available at Bowman Lake State Park.

Rogers Environmental Education Center - 10:00 AM

Sherburne, Chenango County

Meeting location: Main parking lot (on Highway 80) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information: Rogers Center (607) 674-4733 (info@FriendsofRogers.org ) or email Bullthistle Hiking Club (bullthistler@gmail.com).

Celebrate the New Year by getting outside and exploring the woods and fields of the Rogers Center. This easy hike is 2.5 miles with options to drop out early. Children must be accompanied by an adult and be able to walk on their own (no strollers). Pets are not allowed. This hike may be in cold or snow and snowshoes will be provided if necessary. If weather is severe or the roads are dangerous, the hike will be postponed or cancelled.

Finger Lakes Trail Conference - 10:00 AM

Virgil, Cortland county

Meeting location: Intersection of Hauck Hill Road and Bleck Road, Virgil, NY (FLT map M19, parking GPS coordinates N42o 29.310' W76o 10.632') Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): Deb Niro (607) 227-7957, email dn13@cornell.edu at least 24 hours in advance so the hike leaders can contact you if the hike is cancelled due to inclement weather.

Join Deb and Laurie and Deb's dogs to hike the lovely Dabes Diversion - Kuzia Cutoff Loop on the scenic Finger Lakes Trail in Virgil, NY. This short hike, 3.3 miles through Kennedy State Forest, has old rock fences, large rock piles, a spectacular view to the south, and the Foxfire Lean-to. We will stop at the Lean-to for a snack and a rest break. This hike is one of the family-friendly Finger Lakes Trail/Wegmans Passport hikes. This is a dog-friendly hike. Wear good hiking shoes/boots, hat, gloves, and layers appropriate for the weather. Bring a day pack, water, and snacks. Depending on weather conditions the hike should take about 2 hours. It's a good idea to have dry socks and a change of clothes in your car for after the hike.

Rochester/Western Finger Lakes

Montezuma Audubon Center - 10:00 AM

Savannah, Wayne County

Meeting location: 2295 State Route 89, Savannah, NY 13146. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration: Call (315) 365-3588

Join us to ring in 2020 by strapping on some snowshoes and taking a leisurely 1-mile hike through snow-muffled forests, across restored grasslands, and around the frozen marshes to explore hearty winter birds and look for signs of active mammals. *Note: If conditions are not conducive for snowshoeing, we will still hike. After the hike, you're invited inside to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa. Fee: Free. If borrowing snowshoes (adult and child sizes are available), please pre-register. Leashed pets are allowed. This First Day Hike at the Montezuma Audubon Center will go on unless there are hazardous weather conditions. Updates will be posted to the Montezuma Audubon Center Facebook page. Pre-registration required if you wish to borrow a pair of snowshoes.

Hemlock-Canadice State Forest - 10:00 AM

Town of Canadice, Ontario County

Meet up Location: Parking area off Purcell Hill Road, Town of Canadice, Ontario County. Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

For information and registration: (585) 374-8366

This is an easy, 1.8-mile hike along the shore of Canadice Lake. The trail is level and well-maintained and the lake views are lovely. More enthusiastic hikers can veer off on Rob's Trail that leads over the ridge and down to Hemlock Lake - this is a moderate to hard trail with several steep uphill and downhill sections. We'll take a roll call the day of the hike if anyone wants to walk Rob's Trail. We'll arrange for transport back for those who only want to walk one way. Dress appropriately for the weather, carry water and some energy food, and carry a walking pole if it helps. Leashed pets are allowed.

Western NY

Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center - 11:00 AM

Depew, Erie County

Meeting location: Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center building. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): (716) 683-5959

Ring in the New Year with a hike through Reinstein Woods' forest led by a DEC Forest Ranger, who will discuss how to prepare for any outdoor adventure. This will be an easy hike of 1-2 miles. Pets are not allowed.

Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, Holcomb Pond - 9:00 AM

Cattaraugus County

Meeting location: Holcomb Pond Parking Area off of Vail Road between Unger Road and Button Road. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): Call Chris Enser (716) 379-6412

Explore Zoar, Holcomb Pond Trail on this easy 2-mile hike. Holcomb Pond Trail is the only marked and maintained trail that runs two miles between Holcomb Pond parking lot and the Ross Pond parking lot. The trail drops down from the road steadily through a mixed hemlock/hardwood forest to the rim of the gorge and then follows along the rim before looping back up to the road. Leashed pets are allowed. Dress in warm clothing. If there is a lot of snow you may want to bring snow shoes.

Jersey Hill State Forest, Karr Valley Creek State Forest - 11 AM

Allegany County

Meeting location: Jersey Hill State Forest, Town of Birdsall at Fire Tower Forest Road, which is a very short spur to the maintained former fire tower site, north from Davison Road, just west of the Jersey Hill Road/Davison Road intersection. GPS coordinates (fire tower site): 42.35179N, 077.88442W. Google Maps (leaves DEC website).

For information and registration (required): Justin Thaine, DEC Forest Ranger, (585) 415-1521 (cell) justin.thaine@dec.ny.gov or email Theresa Draves, DEC Forester, (585) 466-3241 (office), Theresa.Draves@dec.ny.gov

Get off the beaten path and come take part in the First Day Hike on New Year's Day, on Jersey Hill State Forest in scenic Allegany County. Learn about the history of the (former) Jersey Hill fire tower, which was constructed at our meeting site in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hear about how it was used to detect forest fires, as well as the other works accomplished by this program in the area, the results of which continue to benefit us today. Join a DEC Forest Ranger and Forester as they lead a unique loop 4-mile moderate hike across parts of Jersey Hill and Karr Valley Creek State Forests. We will walk along these two contiguous parcels, which sit atop a major watershed divide of the eastern United States, during our route.

Hike will be approximately 1/3 trail; 1/3 (unplowed) forest roads; and 1/3 Ranger-guided off-trail travel to complete a loop. Please wear adequate boots, dress in layers, and be self-sufficient with water, snacks/lunch. Due to the cross-country portions of the hike, skis are discouraged for the guided walk. Davison/George Road and Jersey Hill Road are town-plowed roads but are dirt. The event may be canceled in the event of severe weather (winter storm or extreme cold) or unexpected Forest Ranger emergency response needs. Leashed dogs are allowed.

Other hikes

Looking for even more hikes near you? Check out NYS Parks website. For hikes across the country see America's State Parks (leaves DEC website).

Norwich Greenway - 10:00 AM

Norwich, Chenango County

Meeting location: Greenway Park in the City of Norwich on River Street by Rexford Street (State Route 23).

For information: Don Windsor (607) 336-4628 or windsorda@yahoo.com

Join Bullthistle Hiking Club for an approximately 2-mile hike on the Norwich Greenway. Meet at 10 AM at Greenway Park in the City of Norwich on River Street by Rexford Street (State Route 23). Dogs must be on a leash. City Dog Park is nearby to use before or after the hike. Hike will leave promptly at 10:05 AM.