The city of New York is perhaps one of the most impressive metropolitan areas in the world. With a population in the millions, it is bound to have some issues, but with skyscrapers, historicals sites and vibrant streets, it also has a certain kind of beauty.
And that’s the sight that you picture when you think about New York, but it’s not all that the state has to offer. Upstate New York has beauty of its own, and it’s the complete opposite kind than what you can expect in the city.
The state has sprawling forests, high mountain peaks, gushing waterfalls and an abundance of lakes and rivers. Like much of the Northern states in America, New York is a paradise for campers and hikers.
If you want to have a selection of awesome hikes to choose from, then there’s no better place for you than New York. There’s a wide variety, and there’s something for everyone. Every specific outdoor taste is catered to and there are options for beginners and experienced hikers alike.
Here’s 7 stunning hikes in New York which you can check out:
1. Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail
This is a great trail to start this list off with because it’s a great trail to try if you’re just getting started in hiking. It’s only about a mile and a half long and so most people can get it done in an hour or less.
Perfect for those who don’t feel like exerting themselves too much and a good choice if you want to bring along a child or an older person. And what the trail lacks in length, it makes up for in beautiful sights.
The trail wouldn’t be out of place in Middle-Earth. It’s like being in a fantasy land and getting to see rock formations, stone steps and a number of waterfalls, the most impressive of which is the massive fall at Cavern Cascade.
2. Breakneck Ridge
From one extreme to another, Breakneck Ridge is a fitting name for this trail. At 3.2 miles, It’s not the longest one in the state, but it’s very steep and you would want to be sure footed and determined if you are going to take it on.
I would strongly suggest being very prepared ahead of time for this one. Be sure to get yourself covered with every essential on the camping checklist. Having the right clothes, bringing along some water and directional instruments and a first aid kid is also very important because of how risky this trail can get.
If you do think you’re ready for it, then you’re in for a treat. There are many sights to look forward to including the Storm King Mountain peak, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and Bannerman’s Castle.
3. Buttermilk Falls Gorge Trail
When you visit this gorge, you’ll see where the name ‘Buttermilk Falls’ comes from. The falls travel down a steep, rocky incline which results in a natural frothy appearance not unlike buttermilk.
That’s one of the sights on this trail which includes various other falls, some rock formations, pools and some very lush woodland. It’s only a 2-mile trail, but it’s a tough one, especially with the slippery rocks you need to navigate.
It’s worth it though, and if you come in the summer you can even enjoy a swim in the pool at the base of the falls.
4. Saranac Six
The Saranac Six is an incredible hike, but I should probably preface this by saying that the full trail should not be attempted by an inexperienced hiker. Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks is surrounded by six mountain peaks, and boasts a 31-mile long hike.
If you just want to get an awesome view of the lake, you can do the smaller 2-mile hike up the Baker Mountain, but to earn the honor of calling yourself a 6er, and the right to ring the bell in the Saranac village, then you can scale all six peaks in a single day.
A challenging and exhausting trek for all but the most seasoned-hikers, but an unquestionably rewarding one too, which will afford you untold amounts of amazing views from each of the peaks.
5. Pine Meadow Trail
Located in Harriman state park in the Rockland County of New York, this is a 10-mile trail which is also suited to experienced hikers that enjoy a longer trail, but is also popular as a camping route.
If you decide to take it on in a single day, you won’t be disappointed. The trail guides you through some very pleasant and peaceful forest areas and it all culminates at the eponymous Pine Meadow Lake itself.
This is the perfect place to stop and take in an amazing view of a sprawling lake surrounded by beautiful woodland.
6. Devil’s Hole
Not exactly an appealing name for a trail, but much like the Breakneck Ridge mentioned above, Devil’s Hole gets its name from both the treacherous terrain and the unfortunate historical relevance of the area.
Bloody battles aside, it’s a lesser-known trail which has gotten quite popular in the last few years and is considered among the best hikes in the state. Located not far from Niagara Falls, the trail offers you views of waterfalls and whitewater rapids.
It’s not an easy trail, and part of it involves a pretty steep climb down a long set of old steps, so you do need to be agile and wary for this one.
7. Old Croton Aqueduct Trail
While the other trails on this list have guided you to some beautiful, natural wonders, the highlight of this one is actually the New Croton Dam. The original version with the aqueduct was built all the way back in the 1800s to improve the water supply to New York City and it was rebuilt in 1908.
It’s a very impressive piece of construction which is worth seeing, and the rest of the trail gives you some nice views of varied terrain too. The full route is 26 miles, but you can take a shorter, 10-mile trek if hiking to the aqueduct is sufficient for you.
This is barely scratching the surface when it comes to the beautiful trails in New York state, but it’s a list that has a lot of variety in terms of sights and also the difficulty of the hikes themselves.
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