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Be prepared for your next hike by reviewing our HIKE SMART NY webpage before you hit the trail.
two people hiking in the woods.

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 view.

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.

Find your next adventure using DECinfo Locator - an interactive map full of hiking trails, parking areas, campsites, lean-tos, conservation easements, and other information to help plan a hike on state-managed lands.

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) Beginners may also be interested in Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW), a program designed to teach women outdoor skills. It provides women with information, encouragement, and hands-on instruction in outdoor skills such as fishing, shooting, archery, hunting, trapping, outdoor photography, map and compass, survival, camping, canoeing, and outdoor cooking. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops are designed primarily for women who have little or no experience with outdoor activities. These are three-day workshops that offer many different classes over the course of a weekend.

Information on hiking safety, rules, and etiquette.

Watch these clips about hiking safety and hiking essentials, and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

Where to Go Hiking

woman hiking in the woods wearing a backpack

Hiking trails can be found throughout the state. Here are 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.

Protect Yourself

  • 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 rules and regulations.
  • 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 Backcountry 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 10 essentials.
  • 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 1-833-NYS-RANGERS (1-833-697-7264) 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.

Respect Others

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, and never feed them.
  • Park in designated parking areas - do not block gates, entrances, exits or other vehicles.

Do Your Part to Protect New York's Lands and Waters

  • Know the rules of the area where you will be hiking.
  • Know the Principles of Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website)
  • Many DEC lands do not have trash cans. Don't litter - take your trash home with you.
  • 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 on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure and conditions for those planning to hike, bike, camp, paddle, boat, hunt, fish, horseback ride, snowshoe or snowmobile in the Adirondack backcountry.
  • Trails Less Traveled - There are many very popular hiking trails in New York State. But, what about the lesser-known hidden gems? Find trails less traveled in New York for a quiet hike away from the crowds.
  • Adirondack Day Hikes - These trails are rated as excellent family-friendly hikes in the spring, summer, and fall. Due to their lower elevation, they are great alternatives during transitions between seasons like mud season in the spring.
  • First Day Hikes - Find a hike near you to celebrate the New Year.
  • 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.
  • Lost in the Woods - Things that you should know to keep yourself safe when heading out to the woods.