Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 15, 2017

Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Invites New Yorkers to Celebrate the New Year Outdoors with First Day Hikes at State Parks, Historic Sites, Forests and Wildlife Areas on January 1, 2018

Annual event 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 exploring the outdoors at one of the 75 hikes being held at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas and trails across the Empire State. The guided hikes are being hosted by New York State Parks and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of the seventh annual First Day Hikes program taking place throughout the nation on January 1, 2018.

"First Day Hikes have become a popular outdoor tradition for families and friends; a healthy way to kick off the New Year amidst the stunning beauty of our state's most scenic natural backdrops, said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "This year's program includes an expanded variety of winter walks and hikes, and is the perfect reminder that New York's parks are open year-round, offering world-class recreation and enjoyment for people with varying interests and abilities."

Hikes are being offered at 14 DEC wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental educations centers and 59 state parks and historic sites with some facilities offering multiple hikes for different age groups, skill level and destinations within the park. Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers at many sites, will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Start the New Year off on the right foot by participating in the popular annual First Day Hike at one of New York's magnificent outdoor destinations. DEC is proud to partner with State Parks to help New Yorkers of all ages and abilities enjoy this growing tradition, which brings friends and families together in our State's great outdoors."

A sample of this year's programs feature a seal walk, walking history tour, snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, gorge walks, military musicology, canal towpath walk and more. New entries for 2018 include a bird survey, full-moon hike, mountain trails, views from a fire tower, and a walk through a maritime forest.

"America's State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation," National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director Lewis Ledford said. "Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state."

If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many host sites will be offering refreshments, giveaways and a drawing for a 2018 annual Empire Pass. A list of the following hikes, and details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at

Western New York

Allegany State Park- Red House, self-guided anytime 10am-2pm; 716.354.9101 x.232
DeVeaux Woods State Park, Niagara Falls; 10am; 716.282.5154
Evangola State Park, Irving; 10am; 716.549.1050
Genesee Valley Greenway, Canawaugus Park, Scottsville; 11am; (2 hikes from this location) 585.493.3614
Genesee Valley Greenway, Route 305 Parking, Belfast; 1pm; (2 hikes from this location) 585.493.3614
Genesee Valley Greenway, Route 408 Parking, Mt. Morris; 11am
Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 11am; 716.549.1050
Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1pm; (four hikes); 585.493.3600
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1:30pm; 716.282.5154
Reinstein Woods, Depew; 11am; 716.683.5959

Finger Lakes & Central New York

Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park, Westford; 10am; 607.638.5421
Bowman Lake State Park/McDonough State Forest, Oxford; 11am; 607.334.2718
Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 10am; 607.535.4511
Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 1pm; (2 hikes) 607.648.5251
Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 11am; 315.492.1590
Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego; 10am; 315.343.4711
Gilbert Lake State Park, Laurens; 10am; 607.432.2114
Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 11am; 315.637.6111
Montezuma Audubon Center, Savannah; 1pm; 315.365.2134
Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva; 9am; 315.789.2331
Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 1pm; (three hikes) 607.387.7041 ext. 131
Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 10am; 607.732.6287

North Country/Adirondacks

Hadley Mountain, Hadley, 9am; 518.623.1200
Poke-O-Moonshine, Keeseville; 10am; 518.897.1200
Robert G. Wehle State Park, Henderson; 10:30am; 315.938.5302
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 1:30pm; 315.646.2321
Stillwater Fire Tower, Webb; 10am; 315.785.2263
Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 1pm; 315.482.2479
Willie Wildlife Marsh, Johnstown; 9:30am; 518.863.4545

Greater Capital District

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar; 9-11am; 518.475.0291
Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 4pm; 518.279.1155
Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11am; 518.827.8690
Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 11am; 518.793.0511
Peebles Island State Park, Waterford; 10am; 518-732-0187
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 10am; 518.584.2000 ext. 116
Schodack Island State Park, Schodack Landing; 1pm; (2 hikes) 518.732.0187
Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 11am; 518.872.0800

Hudson Valley/Catskills

FDR State Park, Yorktown; 10:30am; 914.245.4434
Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring;11am;
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 1pm; 914.232.5651
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter's Kill, Kerhonkson; 1-4:30pm; 845.255.0752
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam's Point, Cragsmoor; 9:30am & 2pm; (two hikes) 845.647.7989
North South Lake, Hunter; 9am; 518.357.2068
Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 11am; 518.828.0135 x303
Old Croton Aqueduct, Cortlandt; 12pm; 914.522.5000
Rochester Hollow, Big Indian; 10am; 845.256.3083
Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 9am; 914.666.6503
Split Rock Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 12:30 pm; 607.746.9694
Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 11am; 845.351.5907
Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center, Wappingers Falls; 10am-12pm; 845.831.3800
Taconic State Park - Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 1pm; 518.329.3993
Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park; Poughkeepsie; 2pm; 845-834-2867

NYC & Long Island

Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 10am; 516.249.3560
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Lloyd Neck; 1pm; 631.581.1072
Clay Pit Ponds, Staten Island; 1pm; 718.605.3970 x201
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 1pm; 631.581.1072
Hallock State Park Preserve, Wading River; 12pm; 631.315.5475
Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 1:30-3pm; 516.780.3295
Montauk Point State, Montauk; 1:30pm; 631.668.5000 x201
Mount Loretto Unique Area; Staten Island; 10am; 718.313.8591
Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 9am; 631.444.0200
Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 1pm;631.581.1072

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 69 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.