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Skiing and Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing
Be sure to plan ahead and prepare for a safe and enjoyable winter adventure by reading up on our outdoor winter hiking safety tips.

Don't let snow keep you off New York State's thousands of trails this winter - grab a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes and enjoy your favorite trails all winter long! The solitude and all engulfing silence of the wilderness in winter await. Many trails are actually easier to traverse in winter as the rocks, roots, and mud are covered over with nothing but smooth, deep snow. You can go to areas otherwise not accessible in summer due to wet conditions and take short cuts across frozen lakes. You may be surprised that a day of exercise and exploring nature in winter could be so much fun!

Watch a clip about winter hiking safety tips and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.
snoeshowers near a lake

Where to Go

All trails on DEC lands are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. The lists below are samples of great cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities on both DEC lands and State Park properties. To explore other DEC lands across the state, visit our places to go page.

Lower Hudson Valley - Region 3

Capital Region/ Northern Catskills - Region 4

Eastern Adirondacks/ Lake Champlain - Region 5

Western Adirondacks/ Upper Mohawk Valley/ Eastern Lake Ontario - Region 6

Central New York - Region 7

Rochester/ Western Finger Lakes - Region 8

Western New York - Region 9

kids snoe shoeing

Protect Yourself

Plan ahead and prepare for a safe and enjoyable adventure by reading up on our outdoor winter hiking safety tips. Winter weather conditions can change quickly and to the extreme. The colder temperatures provide you with a smaller margin for error should something go awry. Proper planning and communicating your trip itinerary to others is a must.

Skiing Etiquette

Trail Safety

  1. Stay on the trails. Trails are laid out for skiers' safety and convenience. Leaving the trail may cause skiers to encounter unknown terrain hazards and become lost.
  2. When passing on a flat area, a faster skier should indicate their desire to pass by calling "track." The slower skier should yield by stepping out of the track to the right, where possible.
  3. Try not to pass on a downhill. Save it for the flat where the slower skier can maneuver more easily.
  4. A skier moving downhill has the right-of-way, since they are moving faster and may have less control. Do not descend a hill until the trail is clear.
  5. If the trail is one-way, be sure to ski in the proper direction. If a trail has two sets of tracks, ski the set of tracks on the right-hand side.
  6. Move off the trail as quickly as possible after a fall. This will prevent possible collisions and allow other skiers to pass. Fill in sitzmarks before proceeding.
  7. Do not ski alone. Long tours, especially, should not be tempted alone. Hypothermia is a very real and serious hazard when the temperature is below 15°F.

Respect for Trail Conditions

  1. Fill in holes. A hole in a downhill track can be hazardous to other skiers. Once these freeze, they are difficult to fill in.
  2. Do not walk in tracks. If necessary, walk to the side of the trail.
  3. Dogs are best left at home, as their pawmarks can create hazards in a track. Dogs themselves can be a hazard by getting in the way of other skiers and chasing wildlife.

Additional Information

More about Skiing and Snowshoeing:

  • Avalanche Safety - Avalanches in the Adirondacks, when, where and how they form and how to be prepared for and avoid them