Friday, March 24

Governor Hochul Invites New Yorkers to Celebrate Start of 2023 Outdoors with First Day Hikes


Governor Kathy Hochul has encouraged New Yorkers to spend time in the outdoors this holiday season and celebrate the New Year at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, canal trails, and public lands across the Empire State on January 1, 2023. The First Day Hikes program is offering 100 varied hike options for people across the state to enjoy.

“There’s no better way to kick off the New Year than with family and friends among the winter beauty of our public parklands and state lands,” Governor Hochul said.  “With so many First Day Hikes to choose from around the Empire State, New Yorkers can take a break from the hectic pace of the holidays and find the perfect setting to welcome a bright, optimistic new year.”

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Canal Corporation are partnering to host the many walks and hikes being held throughout the state as part of the 12th Annual First Day Hikes program.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “First Day Hikes are a family-friendly tradition that offers a fresh seasonal perspective of our state’s natural treasures in winter and all there is to do year-round at State Parks. I encourage New Yorkers to embrace the outdoors this New Year’s Day with a fun trek in New York’s breathtaking scenic settings.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Participating in any of these popular First Day Hikes is a great way to start the New Year and experience New York’s outdoor destinations. DEC is proud to partner with State Parks to help New Yorkers of all ages and abilities participate in this growing annual tradition, which brings friends and families together to enjoy our natural resources and the great outdoors.”

The walks and hikes are family-friendly, and typically range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions.  More than 90 hikes are being offered at state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve and canal trails and environmental education centers.  New for 2023, the statewide celebrations are introducing additional hikes along the Genesee Valley Greenway, the New York State Birding Trail, and four new hikes as part of the On the Canals program, including walks along the Empire State Trail.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “As we celebrate the arrival of a new year, the Canal Corporation is delighted to collaborate with Governor Hochul and our state partners on the 12th annual First Day Hikes program by offering four unique, guided hikes and snow treks, as part of On the Canals, along the New York State Canal system and Empire State Trail. It is a joy to continue sharing free opportunities for families and travelers to learn about and experience the canal waterways and adjacent trails in all their glory, season after season, and we applaud the Governor’s vision to get more New Yorkers outside to explore our state’s public spaces.”

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “The First Day Hikes program provides an invigorating way to start the new year and helps introduce more people to New York’s unparalleled state parks, state canal system and other protected lands, providing ideas and inspiration for travel later in the year. I LOVE NY encourages residents and visitors alike to come be a part of it and explore all the wonder that awaits them in some of the best outdoor recreation areas in the country right here in the Empire State.”

A list of  New York State First Day Hikes, location details, format, pre-registration requirements and additional information can be found online for Parks,  DEC,  and Canals. Interested participants are encouraged to check the details of their preferred host site and pre-register where required.

Starting in Massachusetts in 1992, First Day Hikes are now a national event taking place in all 50 states. Other ideas for New Yorkers to celebrate 2023 in the outdoors include finding a local park or trail, or exploring local neighborhoods.

List of First Day Hikes by region:

New York City and Long Island

  • Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 516.249.0701
  • Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, Staten Island; 718-605-3970 ext. 201
  • Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 631.581.1005 (2 hikes)
  • Hallock Preserve, Riverhead; 631.315.5475
  • Hempstead Lake State Park, West Hempstead; 516.766.1029
  • Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh; 516.785.1600
  • Montauk Point State Park, Montauk; 631.668.5000
  • Mt. Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island; 718.313.8591
  • Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 631.444.0350
  • Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn; 212.866.3100
  • Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 631.269.4333

Western New York

  • Allegany State Park – Quaker Area, Salamanca; 716.354.9101 x.232
  • Amherst State Park, Williamsville; 716.631.7132
  • Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island; 716.282.5154
  • Boutwell Hill State Forest, Charlotte; 716.363.2052
  • Brockport Welcome Center Canal Hike, Brockport;
  • Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area, North Collins; 718.851.7019
  • Evangola State Park, Irving; 716.549.1050
  • Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 716.282.5154 (2 hikes)
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Hinsdale; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Cuba; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Avon; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway; Piffard; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Nunda; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Rochester; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Scottsville; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, Fowlerville; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Greenway, York; 585.493.3614
  • Genesee Valley Park, Rochester; 585.520.9984
  • Golden Hill State Park, Barker; 716.282.5154
  • Hamlin Beach State Park, Hamlin; 585.964.2462
  • Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 716.549.1050
  • Letchworth State Park Humphrey Nature Center, Castile; 585.493.3680 (4 hikes)
  • Letchworth State Park Highbanks Picnic Shelter, Mt. Morris; 585.493.3680 (2 hikes)
  • Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 716.282.5154
  • Phillips Creek State Forest, Ward;
  • Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center, Depew; 716.683.5959
  • Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 716.282.5154
  • Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, Collins; 440.983.0023

Finger Lakes and Central New York

  • Bowman Lake State Park/McDonough State Forest, Oxford; 607.334.2718
  • Canalside Lock C/S-4, Waterloo; 315.659.9269
  • Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 607.481.0584
  • Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 607.648.5251
  • Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 315.415.8377
  • Delta Lake State Park, Rome; 315.337.4670
  • Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego; 315.343.4711
  • Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 607.547.8662
  • Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 315.637.611
  • Herkimer Home State Historic Site, Herkimer; 315.823.0398
  • Lesser Wilderness State Forest, Turin; 315.376.3521
  • Macedon Canal Park, Macedon; 585.269.8125
  • Montezuma Audubon Center, Savannah;
  • Newtown Battlefield State Park, Elmira; 607.732.6287
  • Rogers Environmental Education Center, Sherburne; 607.674.4733
  • Selkirk Shores State Park, Pulaski; 315.298.5737
  • Seneca Lake State Park, Geneva; 315.789.2331
  • Southville State Forest, Stockholm; 315.265.3090
  • Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 607.387.7041 ext. 131
  • Two Rivers State Park, Waverly; 607.732.6287

North Country/Adirondacks

  • Adirondack Interpretive Center, Newcomb; 518.582.2000
  • Hadley Mountain, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, Hadley;
  • Moxham Mountain, Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, Minerva; 518.338.8173
  • Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), Brighton; 518.327.6241
  • Point Au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh; 518.563.6444
  • Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway Day Use Area, Lake George; 518.623.1268
  • Robert G. Wehle State Park, Henderson; 315.938.5302
  • Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 315.646.2321
  • Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 315.482.2479

Greater Capital District

  • Champlain Canal Lock 5, Schuylerville; 518.583.3708
  • Five Rivers Environmental Education Area, Delmar; 518.475.0291 (3)
  • Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 518.279.1155 x2
  • Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 518.827.6111
  • Peebles Island State Park, Cohoes; (2 hikes)
  • Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 518.584.2000 x16
  • Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 518.872.0800

Hudson Valley/Catskills

  • Catskills Visitor Center, Shandaken; 845.688.3369
  • FDR State Park, Yorktown; 914.245.4434
  • Little Stony Point/Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring; 845.224.7207
  • John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 914.232.5651
  • Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter’s Kill, Kerhonkson; 845.255.0752
  • Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam’s Point, Cragsmoor; 845.647.7989
  • Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 518.751.0344
  • Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, Dobbs Ferry; 646.303.1448
  • Panther Mountain, Slide Mountain Wilderness, Shandaken;
  • Platte Clove Preserve, Hunter; 845.688.3369
  • Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 914.666.6503
  • Staatsburgh State Historic Site, Staatsburg; 845.874.0568
  • Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 845.351.5907
  • Taconic State Park – Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 518.329.3993
  • Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, Poughkeepsie; 845.834.2867
  • Willowemoc Wild Forest, Rockland; 845.693.4181

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 78 million people annually.  For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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