Offering a myriad of landscapes, including ocean coastline, mountain ranges, forests, and wetlands, the state of New York has hundreds of hiking trails to choose from and it's hard to know where to start. To help you choose a few of the best, we've highlighted five great hiking trails in the Empire State based on recommendations from Trails.com and Hikespeak.com.
Trail to Cascade & Porter Mountains
The 6.2-mile trail to Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain, two of the High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains, is a popular hike for the panoramic scenes and opportunities to see native wildlife. The large, bald summit of Cascade Mountain offers wonderful 360-degree views of the surrounding areas but prepare for windy weather as a trade-off.
North County National Scenic Trail
The 2.5-mile hiking trail to the Hang Glider Launch Site leads up Jones Hill to a scenic overlook of the Labrador Hollow Unique Area. This out-and-back trail can be extended to include a short hike to Tinker Falls Creek to the bottom of a beautiful 50-foot waterfall.
Bear Mountain Loop
On the 9.7-mile Bear Mountain Loop, you'll be treated to views of West and Bear Mountains, Perkins Tower, and the lower Hudson River area as you pass through dense woodlands. The Bear Mountain Loop is a rigorous all-day hike that many treat as an overnight trek, and if you have the time to plan for a seasonal trip you'll see postcard-worthy scenes of fall foliage or dogwood blooms.
Loop to Green & Round Lakes
You'll hike just over 3 miles on the loop circling Green Lake and Round Lake, two glacially-carved meromictic lakes in central New York well-known for their crisp aquamarine color. This hiking trail is surrounded by evergreen forest and is easy, level, and lets you follow it in either direction.
Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail
The 20-mile Nassau-Suffolk Trail, part of the Long Island Greenbelt, is a moderately challenging out-and-back that offers hikers a diverse selection of landscapes to explore, including wetlands, woodlands, and steep hills. Starting in Cold Spring Harbor, the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail takes you on a straight path through the wilderness of Long Island to Massapequa Preserve watershed, a great place to see migrating birds.