Walking New York: Your Path To Better Health

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It’s no secret that walking, even in small amounts, can benefit your health. In New York state, we are lucky to have access to an abundance of beautiful, fun outdoor hiking trails that are varied enough to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, someone out for a casual stroll, and everyone in between.

Walking for health

I can do that! Where can I find good walking trails in NY?

If you’re an experienced, trained hiker, the 46 Adirondack High Peaks might be on your bucket list. Not up for scaling mountains? Several trails, from light to moderate intensity, are most likely only a short distance from your home. Check out the map below to see where you can go for a hiking experience that will be both fun and suitable for your fitness level. For more information about the trails in those areas, click on each point.

To further help with your planning, we’ve compiled the following list of local trails, based on level of difficulty.

light intensity walks= light intensity

light/moderate intensity walks= light/moderate intensity

high intensity walks= high intensity

moderate intensity walks= moderate intensity

varied intensity walks= varied intensity

light intensity walks Light Intensity Walks

Light

Owego Riverwalk – Tioga County, NY
A paved, flat walkway that overlooks the Susquehanna River and features historical information

Lippman Memorial Park – Wawarsing, NY
Nine miles of trails with both open and woodland areas

Harry Lang Cross-Country and Fitness Trails – Hamilton, NY
Professionally maintained trails located on the Colgate University campus

Highland Forest County Park – Liverpool, NY
40 miles of trails, half of which are groomed and track-set

Gilbert Lake State Park – Cooperstown, NY
12 miles of trails with clear signposts and easy-to-follow, gently rolling terrain

Natural Stone Bridge & Caves – Pottersville, NY
A 3/4-mile, mostly above-ground natural stone step nature trail

Sleeping Beauty Mountain Summit – Lake George, NY
Seven-mile, family- and dog-friendly hike over the Sleeping Beauty summit to Bumps Pond and back

Great Flats Nature Trail – Schenectady, NY
Good bird-watching spot with easy, walkable trails

Lock 7 Park – Schenectady, NY
The paved path that runs along the Mohawk River is a 40-mile multi-use trail with excellent views

Corning City Preserve – Albany, NY
This 15-acre landscaped waterfront and park in the heart of Albany features a paved, multi-use trail that runs along the Hudson River to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail

light/moderate intensity walks Light/Intermediate Intensity Walks

Light-Intermediate

Champlain Area Trails – Champlain Valley, NY
More than 35 miles of easy to moderate trails

Plotter Kill Natural Preserve – Schenectady, NY
Trails range from one to six miles and vary from easy to moderate intensity, with waterfall views throughout

Albany Pine Bush Preserve – Albany, NY
18 miles of marked multiple-use trails that are easy to moderate intensity; ground is generally flat or with gentle slopes

moderate intensity walks Moderate Intensity Walks

Moderate

Whitney Point Lake Trail – Dorchester County, NY
Two-mile paved trail; hiking trail located at end of seasonal dirt section of Keibel Road

Bluestone Wild Forest ­- Ulster County, NY
Three trail loops through upland oaks, hemlock forests, and abandoned bluestone quarries

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park – Carmel, NY
Nine miles of groomed hiking trails

Storm King State Park – Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY
Great views of the Catskills from several overlooks; a few steep, rocky areas

Stoney Pond State Forest – Nelson, NY
13-mile trail system through natural forests and plantations

Northville-Placid Trail – Adirondack Park, NY
The entire length of the trail spans 120 miles; individual trails vary in intensity

Schumann Preserve at Pilot Knob – Lake George, NY
Hike is moderately steep with a 620-foot ascent to a gazebo and scenic lookout

Ferris Lake Wild Forest – Southwestern Adirondacks, NY
Explore several wilderness trails on 147,454 acres

Lisha Kill Preserve – Latham, NY
Three marked trails, some with steep climbs and several wet areas

Coldbrook Preserve Trailhead – Northumberland, NY
Two miles of marked trails through wetlands and pines on 63 acres

Hand Hollow Conservation Area – New Lebanon, NY
Three miles of trails with woodlands, meadows, lake, ponds, streams, and wetlands

Ooms Conservation Area at Sutherland Pond – Chatham, NY
Three miles of trails; includes benches and gazebo, fishing at Sutherland Pond

High Falls Conservation Area – Philmont/Claverack, NY
Two miles of trails to tallest waterfall in Columbia County (150 feet)

John Boyd Thacher State Park – Voorheesville, NY
Trails range from 0.4 to 4.4 miles and have spectacular views

Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park – Westford, NY
Network of hiking trails and stream; facilities include picnic area and pavilion

E.N. Huyck Preserve – Rensselaerville, NY
12 miles of trails with 2,000 acres of forest, field, and wetlands, including the Rensselaerville Falls

high intensity walks High Intensity Walks

High

Schunnemunk Mountain State Park – Mountainville, NY
Excellent views; total ascent is 1,723 feet

Siamese Ponds – South-Central Adirondacks, NY
24 miles of wilderness includes three Forks Mountain primitive areas

High Peaks – Adirondack Park, NY
The 46 Adirondack High Peaks exceed 4,000 feet and feature Mount Marcy (highest) and Algonquin (second highest)

Devil’s Tombstone Campground – Hunter, NY
Campground is surrounded by several of the Catskills’ highest peaks and is ideal for experienced hikers

Sugarloaf Mountain – Tannersville, NY
6.69 miles (average 5.5 hours) round-trip; this hike is difficult and should only be attempted by experienced hikers

Dry Brook Ridge Wild Forest – Margaretville, NY
Includes rugged trails that range from 1.75 to 12.10 miles

varied intensity walks Varied Intensity Walks

Varied

Finger Lakes Trail System – Finger Lakes Region, NY
Trail system varies in intensity

How much walking is enough?

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established the following physical activity recommendations:

  • Two hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) and two or more days of muscle-strengthening activity to work major muscle groups; or
  • One hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (running or jogging) and two or more days of muscle-strengthening activity to work major muscle groups; or
  • Mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and two or more days of muscle-strengthening activity to work major muscle groups

If you meet these recommendations, you are estimated to be 30 to 40 percent less likely to experience a cardiovascular event. And, people who exercise are 65 percent more likely to avoid developing high blood pressure than those who are sedentary. Walking for fitness does not need to be especially rigorous to be beneficial. Even as few as 20 minutes a day can help improve your health.

Let your adventures begin! If you’ve hiked one of these trails, or if you’ve discovered one that’s not on the map, please share your experiences in the comments below. It’s your New York — let’s explore together!

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Sources:
National Institutes of Health
American Heart Association
University of Maryland
McGraw Hill Concepts of Physical Fitness & Concepts of Fitness and Wellness
GlobalFit

4 Responses to “Walking New York: Your Path To Better Health”

  1. Ted Harries

    I appreciated the listing of walking trail available in NY for maintenance of an active life style. I would not that you miss a large number of opportunities in the Hudson Valley, including the rail trails of Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties (http://www.wvrta.org/enjoying-the-trail/map/; http://www.dutchessrailtrail.com/; http://www.walkway.org/) the many trails of the Harriman Park, the NY Long Trail which runs from NYC to Albany, part of the Appalachian Trail, etc. Again I appreciate your efforts. TED

    Reply
    • Hi, Ted: Thanks for your comment. Since New York is fortunate to have so many wonderful walking and hiking trails, we couldn’t include every one on the list. I appreciate your sharing these great options for enjoying the outdoors! ~ Suzanne

      Reply
  2. Wally Elton

    If you update this, I hope you will consider adding Hudson Crossing Park Trails (www.hudsoncrossingpark.org) to the list. They are accessible by foot or bike from downtown Schuylerville, an area not covered by your current list.

    Reply
    • Hello, Wally. Thank you for sharing Hudson Crossing Park! Because we couldn’t include every location on our map, we are thrilled to have members share their favorites. I hope that you enjoy your hikes at Hudson Crossing, and perhaps you’ll find some new favorite spots this summer, too. ~ Suzanne

      Reply

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