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  • Hiking New York  by Rhonda and George Ostertag

    Hiking New York

    by Rhonda and George Ostertag (Falcon Guides)
    Hiking New York  by Rhonda and George Ostertag
    Despite bringing western expectations, and likely prejudices, to this project, we were dazzled by the hiking opportunities and offerings of the Empire State. There are not many places to warrant a 3,000-mile drive to the trailhead, but New York State just might be the exception. And over the years, we’ve done it multiple times and for months at a time. To get your heart pumping with some of the best hiking the Empire State has to offer, give this book a look. It will take you from the Adirondack lakes and peaks to the gulfs and falling waters of the Finger Lakes Region, from the heritage of the Erie Canal to the lore of the Catskills. The selected trails explore premier parks, forests, mountains, gorges, flatlands, swamps, beaches, and private reserves. You will travel past sparkling waterfalls and daunting cliffs, bag summits, and tag valley floors, but mostly you will get to know New York. Although some of this treasury is well known, great expanses remain little tapped.

    © 2018 Rhonda and George Ostertag/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

    Trails from the "Hiking New York" Guide Book
    50 Trail Guides

    The biggest park in the state system, this “wilderness playground” in southwestern New York brings together even- height ridges, V- shaped valleys, man- made lakes, second- growth forests, and block- fractured boulder realms. Two recreation areas, Red House and Quaker, make up the park. No single trail could showcase the full offering, but the Red House Headquarters—Eastwood Meadows Loop offers a good peek at what’s here and travels a stretch of trail common to three long- distance trails: North Country, Conservation, and Finger Lakes. Likely, you’ll want to add one or more of the optional trails because this is a great park worthy of your time.
    Salamanca, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.9
    This 2,175-mile national scenic trail from Maine to Georgia cuts across the southeast corner of New York State, rolling along ridges and dipping to roads. The New York leg spans 95 miles between the Connecticut and New Jersey state lines. It travels in low- elevation mixed forest, gathers views, passes historic stone walls, and applauds the changing of the seasons.
    Pawling, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 95.2
    At this 2,200-acre wildlife management and bird conservation area— more than half of it freshwater wetland—a former railroad grade rolls out an avenue to relaxation and nature discovery. Part of the greater Long Path, this rail- to- trail travels at the eastern edge of Bashakill Marsh, which is the largest freshwater marsh in southeastern New York. A premier bird-watching site, birders delight in spring- nesting warblers and waterfowl, brooding summer birds, and fall migrants. Both daylight and evening watches are possible. Six trailheads access the rail trail, readily allowing hopscotch or car- shuttle travel.
    Wurtsboro, NY - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 13.0
    In southeast Madison County, this loop in Beaver Creek State Forest travels the wooded and meadow outskirts of Beaver Creek Swamp. The well- marked circuit is part of the extensive 130-mile Brookfield Trail System serving foot, horse, and snowmobile travelers. Although the rolling trail rarely comes in contact with its centerpiece, Beaver Creek Swamp, the enfolding hemlock- hardwood forest, conifer plantations, spring and summer wildflowers, and wildlife endorse travel. Only horseflies can jar the otherwise tranquil spell.
    Waterville, NY - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 9.5
    At this 650-acre Onondaga County Park, northwest of Syracuse, 9 miles of superbly groomed nature trails and boardwalks explore lake, marsh, meadow, and woods habitats. Thirty thousand spring- migrating Canada geese and 10,000 fall migrants swell the resident bird and animal populations. The trails serve all levels of ability, and repeat tours bring new appreciation—just ask the park’s “100 milers” who regularly walk the eight trails. The Lake Loop, featured here, is the shining core. The site’s interpretive panels, benches, observation platforms, blind, and high- powered binoculars enhance discovery.
    Baldwinsville, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.0
    Above the east shore of Blue Mountain Lake, this quick, steep summit ascent reaches a fire tower, retired from duty but open for public viewing, and a cherished 360-degree Central Adirondack view. Besides the sweeping vistas, the trail offers an attractive fir-spruce forest and the historic summit benchmark placed by Verplanck Colvin. Colvin, an important early surveyor, helped open the Adirondacks to the public.
    Blue Mountain Lake, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.0
    On the east side of the Hudson River in Hudson Highlands State Park, this trail makes a rugged ascent from near river- level to roll along a knobby ridge to a restored and re- opened fire tower. From the highland ridge and the tower, you take in views of the Hudson River, the Shawangunks, and the Catskill Mountains. A mixed forest embellished with mountain laurel and spring and summer wildflowers shapes much of the hike.
    Beacon, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.6
    Buttermilk Falls caps a dramatic 500-foot free fall on Buttermilk Creek that occurs over a distance of 0.75 mile. Cascades, rapids, bedrock slides, emerald pools, platy cliffs, and a 40-foot rock spire help write the canyon drama. The upper glen holds a more soothing woods- water union. Easy interlocking park trails explore the Buttermilk Creek gorge, its upstream glen, and Treman Lake.
    Buttermilk Falls State Park, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
    Within the private Adirondack Mountain Reserve (or Ausable Club, as it is also known), this rolling hiker-trail loop travels the east and west shores of the pristine East Branch Ausable River. Side trips lead to the elevated vantages at Gothics Window and Indian Head and to showery Rainbow Falls. Old-growth hemlocks and tranquil woods shape a soothing backdrop.
    Lake Placid, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.6
    Between Lockport and Rochester, the retired towpath of the Erie Canal, a national recreation trail, traces the past and provides an attractive, carefree avenue for hiking, cycling, jogging, and exercise walking. Working features of the historic canal, canalside museums, lowland forest, rural scenes, greenway parks, and the historic communities that emerged and burgeoned with the canal bring to life the era’s exciting story.
    Lockport, NY - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking,Snowshoeing,Trail Running - Trail Length: 55.0
    Fire Island, a barrier island, stretches 32 miles long and protects Long Island’s south shore from the punishing Atlantic. But, in its faceoff with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the island suffered a breach, altering the look of its welcome mat and trails. The island now holds two disparate sized sections of beach and back bay between Smith Point and Watch Hill. Its Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness remains the only federally designated wilderness in New York State. At 1,380 acres and an interrupted seven miles long, it is the smallest wilderness area managed by the National Park Service. Flowering beach plum and heather and wild rose accent the untouched dunes in spring. The toe of the seaward dune attracts nesting piping plovers and least terns April through August. A rich coastal landscape, wildlife, and Atlantic Ocean and Great South Bay views continue to invite.
    Shirley, NY - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
    This easy, although at times soggy, woodland loop in the Adirondack Lakes Region northeast of the hamlet of Tupper Lake strings together prized canoe waters. The trail travels through mature conifer-deciduous woods to stitch together a series of glacial ponds accentuated by rock-and pine-clad islands and floating mats of water lily blooms mid- July to August. Loons, ospreys, herons, frogs, and fish can animate the lakes.
    Tupper Lake, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.7
    Between Sherman and Panama, this long- distance linear trail strings 24 miles through a series of state forests in Chautauqua County, traversing agricultural easements in between. Changing forest, meadow and pond habitats, and rural and forest views flavor the way. Multiple trailheads allow you to vary the hike’s length. Established shelters allow for overnight stays and stargazing, suggesting you stretch out your Westside sojourn.
    Jamestown, NY - Backpacking,Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 19.2
    This clockwise loop into Five Ponds Wilderness in the Cranberry Lake Region traverses a diverse area of marsh, hardwood forests, conifers, and blowdown, visiting the Dead Creek Flow of Cranberry Lake, High Falls, and the Oswegatchie River drainage. The blowdown is the legacy from the great windstorm of 1995, but the new forest is rapidly returning and thicketlike in places. Wildflowers, wildlife, or a burst of fall color can embellish the journey.
    Star Lake, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 16.8
    On Long Island’s east end, this 1,755-acre state park brings together a superb lineup: walking dunes, “phantom forests,” a pristine mile of Atlantic beach, the cobbled shore of Napeague Bay, and Goff Point, where piping plovers, terns, and oyster- catchers nest. An interior region of pine barrens, dune heath, and maritime grassland completes the offering. The selected hiking loop travels the Napeague shoreline and makes an interior return via the Paumanok Path, Long Island’s premier long- distance trail linking the island pine barrens between Montauk Point and Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest.
    Montauk, NY - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking,Walking - Trail Length: 14.5
    West of Saugerties, this loop rewards with a classic Catskill setting, vistas, and challenge. Central to this hike are the 500-foot cliffs of Indian Head. Wildflowers, fall foliage, and wildlife sightings lend to the attraction. Above the 3,000-foot elevation, a rare spruce- fir complex claims part of the journey.
    Tannersville, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.9
    South of Watertown, three nature and hiking trails line up end- to- end for a single south rim tour, overlooking 5 miles of Inman Gulf. This Tug Hill State Forest area wins over visitors with its ancient river drainage, sheer shale walls, a waterfall, diverse forests, wildflowers, fall foliage, and wildlife.
    Adams Center, NY - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 5.5
    Northeast of Watkins Glen, the gentle ridges and open flats of New York State’s one and only national forest were once inhabited by Iroquois Indians and later partitioned into military parcels issued in payment to veterans of the Revolutionary War. Through a farmer’s relief act in the Great Depression, the lands returned to government hands and today serve recreational users. This linear multiuse national recreation trail (NRT) strings north to south through the national forest, exploring natural and planted forest stands, open meadows, shrubby transitional lands, and pond habitats. The diversity supports fish, birds, and mammals.
    Watkins Glen, NY - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 12.0
    Paul Smiths is one of two visitor interpretive centers (VICs) operated by the Adirondack Park Agency to serve travelers to New York State’s six- million- acre Adirondack Park; the other is at Newcomb. At Paul Smiths, nature trails and Jenkins Mountain encourage the lacing on of hiking boots. The Jenkins Mountain Hike extends the longest tour and explores forest, glade, and glacial drift before attaining a summit vista. If time is short or you wish to extend your visit, the nature trails introduce mixed forests, meadow openings, and a beaver pond.
    Saranac Lake, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.2
    This easy climb through rich mixed forest follows the outlet drainage to Jockeybush Lake, attractive, cold, and deep. Although the hike is short and the lake is small, the offering is big with its fishing, woods flora, and calm. This trail is ideal to cap off the day or to tuck into a busy travel schedule.
    Gloversville, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2

    State Log Book

    Jun 2019