Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 22, 2016

State Parks Press Office:
Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Invites New Yorkers to Celebrate the New Year Outdoors

Annual First Day Hike on January 1, 2017 encourages families and friends to spend the holiday enjoying nature

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) invites New Yorkers to celebrate the New Year by exploring the outdoors at one of the 50 sponsored hikes being held at state parks and historic sites across the Empire State. The guided hikes are part of the sixth annual First Day Hikes program taking place throughout the nation on January 1, 2017.

"The start of the new year is the perfect time to leave the hectic holiday pace behind and embrace the outdoors with a walk or hike in New York's breathtaking scenic settings," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "First Day Hikes are a family-friendly tradition that offers a fresh seasonal perspective of our state's natural treasures and the vast opportunities open year-round at State Parks."

Fifty hikes are being hosted, nine more than the previous year, at 44 New York state parks and historic sites with some facilities offering multiple hikes for different age groups, skill level and destinations within the park. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location.

"First Day Hikes offer families the opportunity to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature on guided outdoor adventures," National Association of State Park Directors President Domenic Bravo said. "There are shorter options for families with young children, to longer treks for adventure seekers. State parks offer stunning views, unique cultural and historical experiences, and wintering wildlife for everyone to enjoy."

This year's programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a walking history tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, gorge walks, canal artifacts, nature detectives and more. New entries for 2017 include the Jones Beach boardwalk, Gilbert Lake's wilderness trail, Green Lakes' hike around the lakes, Seneca Lake and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, exploring Grafton's lakes and following along the Old Croton Aqueduct.

If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many hikes will be offering refreshments. The list of hikes can be found below. Additional details about the hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, and registration requirements are available at

Western New York

Allegany State Park- Red House, self-guided anytime 10am-2pm; 716.354.9101 x.236

DeVeaux Woods State Park, Niagara Falls; 11am-12:30pm; 716.282.5154

Evangola State Park, Irving; 10am-12pm; 716.549.1050

Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 2pm-3pm; 716.282.5154

Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, York; 10am; 585.493.3614

Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 11am-1pm; 716.549.1050

Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1pm; (two hikes - one for families with young children); 585.493.3600

Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1-3pm; 716.282.5154


Finger Lakes & Central New York

Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park, Westford; 10:30am; 607.638.5421

Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 10am; 607.535.4511

Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 1:00pm; 607.648.5251

Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 11am; 315.415.8377

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

Gilbert Lake State Park, Laurens; 10am & 1pm; 607.432.2114

Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 12pm; 315.637.6111

Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva; 1pm; 315.789.2331

Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 1pm; 607.387.7041

Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 10am; 607.732.6287


North Country & Greater Capital District

Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 1pm; 518.279.1155

Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11am; 518.827.8690

Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 10am; 518.793.0511

Peebles Island State Park, Waterford; 10am; 518-732-0187

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

Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 11am; 315.646.2321

Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 11am; 518.584.2000

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

Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 1pm; 315.482.2479


Mid-Hudson Valley

FDR State Park, Yorktown; 11am; 914.245.4434 x8

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 1pm; 914.232.5651 x 105

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter's Kill, Kerhonkson; 9:30am & 1:30pm; 845.255.0752

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam's Point, Cragsmoor; 9:30am & 2pm; 845.647.7989

Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 11am; 518.828.0135 x303

Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, Dobbs Ferry; 12pm; 914.862.4207

Rockland Lake State Park, Valley Cottage; 10am; 212.464.7109

Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 9am; 845.351.5907

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

Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park; Poughkeepsie; 2pm; 914-489-3301


NYC & Long Island

Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 10am; 516.249.3560

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Lloyd Neck; 12:30pm; 631.423.1770

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

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

Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 10am; 516.785.1600 & 1:30pm 516.780.3295

Montauk Point State Park, Montauk; 2pm; 631.668.5000 x201

Nissequogue State Park, Kings Park; 10:15am; 516.721.0223

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 65 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter