Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 16, 2019

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

Celebrate Outdoors with First Day Hikes at State Parks, Historic Sites, Wildlife Areas and Public Lands on New Year’s Day

9th Annual Event Encourages Families and Friends to Spend Jan. 1 Holiday Enjoying Nature

New Yorkers can greet 2020 with a choice of 85 guided hikes at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails and public lands sponsored by the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Now in its ninth year, the annual First Day Hikes program includes a variety of events, from seal watches along an Atlantic Ocean bay and a bird count in the Capital Region, to 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.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The First Day Hikes have become a tradition for many New Yorkers, and are a wonderful, healthy way to enjoy the scenic beauty of our State Parks and historic sites. There are more family-friendly events than ever for people of varying abilities to choose from across the state."

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "With the addition of two new DEC hikes this year, the popular annual First Day Hike program continues to grow and reach even more New Yorkers and visitors. Together with State Parks, DEC is proud to host these annual events and encourage New Yorkers to take this day to connect with nature and experience some of our state's most scenic outdoor destinations."

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "A perfect New Year's resolution is to discover new areas of New York State, and the First Day hikes program provides a great opportunity for visitors and residents alike to find what they love while experiencing the natural beauty of the state's different regions."

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 and

Western New York

Allegany State Park- Red House; 11am and 1pm; (two hikes) 716.354.9101 x.232

DeVeaux Woods State Park, Niagara Falls; 10am; 716.282.5154

Evangola State Park, Irving; 9am; 716.549.1050

Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 2pm; 716.282.5154

Genesee Valley Greenway, Hinsdale; 9am; 585.493.3614

Genesee Valley Greenway, Bull Street, Cuba; 1pm; 585.493.3614

Genesee Valley Greenway Snowmobile Ride, Avon; 11am; 585.964.3614

Hamlin Beach State Park, Hamlin; 1pm; 585.964.2462

Jersey Hill State Forest/Karr Valley Creek State Forest, Allegany County; 10:30 am; 585.415.1521

Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 10am; 716.549.1050

Letchworth State Park, Castile; 9am; 10am; 11am; 12:30pm; 1pm; (five hikes); 585.493.3680

Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 2pm; 716.282.5154

Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center, Depew; 11am; 716.683.5959

Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, Holcomb Pond, Cattaraugus; 9am; 716.379.6412

Finger Lakes & Central New York

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; (two hikes) 607.648.5251

Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 11am; 315.415.8377

Delta Lake State Park, Rome; 10am; 315.337.4670

Finger Lakes Trail Conference, Virgil; 10am;

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

Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 10am; 607.547.8662

Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 10am; 315.637.6111

Hemlock-Canadice State Forest, Canadice; 10am; 585.374.8366

Herkimer Home State Historic Site, Herkimer; 1pm; 315.823.0398

Montezuma Audubon Center, Savannah; 10am; 315.365.3588

Rogers Environmental Education Center, Sherburne; 10am; 607.674.4733

Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva; 10am; 315.789.2331

Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 1pm; 607.387.7041 ext. 131

Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 10am; 607.732.6287

North Country/Adirondacks

Crown Point State Historic Site, Crown Point; 1pm; 518.597.4666

Arab Fire Tower, Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest, St. Lawrence County; 10am; 315-265-3090 (POSTPONED-Jan.25)

Paul Smiths Visitor Center, Paul Smith; 1pm; 518. 327.6241

Point Au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh; 11am; 518.563.6444

Prospect Mountain, Lake George; 10am; 518.623.1268

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

Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 1:30pm; 315.646.2321

SUNY ESF Newcomb Adirondack Interpretive Center, Newcomb; 10am (two hikes); 518.582.2000

Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 1pm (two hikes); 315.482.2479

Greater Capital District

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar; 9am; 518.475.0291

Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 1pm; 518.279.1155 x2

Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11am; 518.827.6111

Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 10am; 518.793.0511

Peebles Island State Park, Waterford; 10am; 518.268.2188

Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 10am; 518.584.2000 x16

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

Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 11am; 518.872.1237

Hudson Valley/Catskills

Ashokan High Point, Olive; 8am; 845.586.6273

Ashokan Rail Trail, West Hurley; 10am; 914.466.9263

Devil's Path to Cod Fish Point, Hunter; 10am; 914.482.5771

FDR State Park, Yorktown; 10:30am; 914.245.4434

Frick Pond Trail (snowshoe hike), Rockland; 2pm; 845.439.5507

Little Stony Point/Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring (two hikes); 11am; 845.224.7207

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

Meads Meadow Trail Loops, Woodstock; 9am and 12pm (two hikes); 845.256.3083

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter's Kill, Kerhonkson; 1pm; 845.255.0752

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam's Point, Cragsmoor; 1pm; 845.647.7989

Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 11am; 518.751.0344

Old Croton Aqueduct, Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt; 12pm; 646.303.1448

Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 9am; 914.666.6503

Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 10am; 845.351.5907

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; 516.780.3295

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Lloyd Neck; 10am; 631.423.1770

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

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

Hallock State Park Preserve, Wading River; 12pm; 631.315.5475

Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 1:30pm; 516.780.3295

Montauk Point State, Montauk; 12pm; 631.668.5000

Mount Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island; 10am; 718.313.8591

Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 11am and 1 pm; (two hikes) 631.444.0350

Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn; 10am; 212.866.3100

Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 10am; 631.269.4333

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 74 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.

Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active, outdoor recreation; connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors; protect natural resources; and boost local economies. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative here: