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Celebrate Outdoors with First Day Hikes at State Parks, Historic Sites, Wildlife Areas and Public Lands on New Year’s Day

9th Annual Event Encourages Families and Friends to Spend Jan. 1 Holiday Enjoying Nature


New Yorkers can greet 2020 with a choice of 85 guided hikes at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails and public lands sponsored by the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).


Now in its ninth year, the annual First Day Hikes program includes a variety of events, from seal watches along an Atlantic Ocean bay and a bird count in the Capital Region, to hikes to fire towers in the Adirondacks/Catskills, along parts of the historic New York City drinking water system in the Hudson Valley, waterfalls in the Finger Lakes region and historic forts along the Great Lakes.


State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “The First Day Hikes have become a tradition for many New Yorkers, and are a wonderful, healthy way to enjoy the scenic beauty of our State Parks and historic sites. There are more family-friendly events than ever for people of varying abilities to choose from across the state.”


DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “With the addition of two new DEC hikes this year, the popular annual First Day Hike program continues to grow and reach even more New Yorkers and visitors. Together with State Parks, DEC is proud to host these annual events and encourage New Yorkers to take this day to connect with nature and experience some of our state’s most scenic outdoor destinations.”


New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “A perfect New Year’s resolution is to discover new areas of New York State, and the First Day hikes program provides a great opportunity for visitors and residents alike to find what they love while experiencing the natural beauty of the state’s different regions.”


Hikes are being offered at 55 state parks and historic sites, and at 23 DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers, with some sites offering more than one hike, which range in length from between one and five miles. Hikes will be guided by Parks staff, members of park’s Friends Groups, and other volunteers.


New this year is a First Day hike at Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn, which is the newest State Park, having opened in July 2019, a snowmobile ride along the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park in the western part of the state, and first-time events in the Catskills.


Last year, more than 7,500 people took part in First Day hikes across New York. If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many host sites will be offering refreshments and giveaways.


Starting in Massachusetts in 1992, First Day Hikes are now a national event taking place in all 50 states. Last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on the guided hikes. Numerous others hiked state park trails throughout the day.


State Parks has introduced a series of videos focused on increasing awareness of best practices for recreational trail users including walkers, hikers and bikers. This lighthearted video series educates visitors about responsible, low-impact recreation principles, such as those fostered by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The series is available here.


A list of New York State First Day hikes, location details, level of difficulty and length, terrain, pre-registration requirements and additional information can be found online at parks.ny.gov and dec.ny.gov.


Western New York


Allegany State Park- Red House; 11am and 1pm; (two hikes) 716.354.9101 x.232


DeVeaux Woods State Park, Niagara Falls; 10am; 716.282.5154


Evangola State Park, Irving; 9am; 716.549.1050


Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 2pm; 716.282.5154


Genesee Valley Greenway, Hinsdale; 9am; 585.493.3614


Genesee Valley Greenway, Bull Street, Cuba; 1pm; 585.493.3614


Genesee Valley Greenway Snowmobile Ride, Avon; 11am; 585.964.3614


Hamlin Beach State Park, Hamlin; 1pm; 585.964.2462


Jersey Hill State Forest/Karr Valley Creek State Forest, Allegany County; 10:30 am; 585.415.1521


Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 10am; 716.549.1050


Letchworth State Park, Castile; 9am; 10am; 11am; 12:30pm; 1pm; (five hikes); 585.493.3680


Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 2pm; 716.282.5154


Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center, Depew; 11am; 716.683.5959


Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, Holcomb Pond, Cattaraugus; 9am; 716.379.6412


Finger Lakes & Central New York


Bowman Lake State Park/McDonough State Forest, Oxford; 11am; 607.334.2718


Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 10am; 607.535.4511


Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 1pm; (two hikes) 607.648.5251


Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 11am; 315.415.8377


Delta Lake State Park, Rome; 10am; 315.337.4670


Finger Lakes Trail Conference, Virgil; 10am; [email protected]


Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego; 10am; 315.343.4711


Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 10am; 607.547.8662


Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 10am; 315.637.6111


Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, Canadice; 10am; 585.374.8366


Herkimer Home State Historic Site, Herkimer; 1pm; 315.823.0398


Montezuma Audubon Center, Savannah; 10am; 315.365.3588


Rogers Environmental Education Center, Sherburne; 10am; 607.674.4733


Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva; 10am; 315.789.2331


Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 1pm; 607.387.7041 ext. 131


Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 10am; 607.732.6287


Utica Marsh, Utica; 11am; 315.796.2849


North Country/Adirondacks


Crown Point State Historic Site, Crown Point; 1pm; 518.597.4666


Arab Fire Tower, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest, St. Lawrence County; 10am; 315-265-3090


Paul Smiths Visitor Center, Paul Smith; 1pm; 518. 327.6241


Point Au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh; 11am; 518.563.6444


Prospect Mountain, Lake George; 10am; 518.623.1268


Robert G. Wehle State Park, Henderson; 11am; 315.938.5302


Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 1:30pm; 315.646.2321


SUNY ESF Newcomb Adirondack Interpretive Center, Newcomb; 10am (two hikes); 518.582.2000


Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 1pm (two hikes); 315.482.2479


Greater Capital District


Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar; 9am; 518.475.0291


Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 1pm; 518.279.1155 x2


Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11am; 518.827.6111


Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 10am; 518.793.0511


Peebles Island State Park, Waterford; 10am; 518.268.2188


Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 10am; 518.584.2000 x16


Schodack Island State Park, Schodack Landing; 1pm; 518.732.0187


Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 11am; 518.872.1237


Hudson Valley/Catskills


Ashokan High Point, Olive; 8am; 845.586.6273


Ashokan Rail Trail, West Hurley; 10am; 914.466.9263


Devil’s Path to Cod Fish Point, Hunter; 10am; 914.482.5771


FDR State Park, Yorktown; 10:30am; 914.245.4434


Frick Pond Trail (snowshoe hike), Rockland; 2pm; 845.439.5507


Little Stony Point/Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring (two hikes); 11am; 845.224.7207


John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 1pm; 914.232.5651


Meads Meadow Trail Loops, Woodstock; 9am and 12pm (two hikes); 845.256.3083


Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter’s Kill, Kerhonkson; 1pm; 845.255.0752


Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam’s Point, Cragsmoor; 1pm; 845.647.7989


Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 11am; 518.751.0344


Old Croton Aqueduct, Dobbs Ferry; 12pm; 646.303.1448


Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 9am; 914.666.6503


Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 10am; 845.351.5907


Taconic State Park – Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 1pm; 518.329.3993


Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park, Poughkeepsie; 2pm; 845.834.2867


NYC & Long Island


Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 10am; 516.780.3295


Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Lloyd Neck; 10am; 631.423.1770


Clay Pit Ponds, Staten Island; 1pm; 718.605.3970 x201


Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 1:30pm; 631.581.1072


Hallock State Park Preserve, Wading River; 12pm; 631.315.5475


Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 1:30pm; 516.780.3295


Montauk Point State, Montauk; 12pm; 631.668.5000


Mount Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island; 10am; 718.313.8591


Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 11am and 1 pm; (two hikes) 631.444.0350


Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn; 10am; 212.866.3100


Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 10am; 631.269.4333


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 74 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.


Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active, outdoor recreation; connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors; protect natural resources; and boost local economies. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/adventureny.pdf

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