New Yorkers can greet 2020 with a choice of 85 guided hikes at state parks and public lands, including the state’s historic sites.
Now in its ninth year, the annual First Day Hikes program includes a variety of events, from 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, and more.
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.