A fact that cannot be denied: New York knows how to do winter. When the cold descends on the East Coast, hiking boots often get shelved for the season and swapped for ski boots. If you’re missing your beloved trails, though, sometimes the ski resorts just can’t scratch that itch. Snowshoeing to the rescue. New York has an abundance of places to enjoy the activity, within a day commute of the city but fully removed from the chaos.
So grab your backpack, your favorite trail snacks, your beanie, and gloves, and hit these epic spots. Whether you want to snowshoe for long distances, scale mountains, or take it easy on a leisurely trail, this list of places to go snowshoeing throughout New York State has you covered.
Saratoga Spa State Park
Calm, scenic, and sprawling, Saratoga Spa State Park is a prime location for snowshoeing in Hudson Valley. If you don’t have your own snowshoeing gear, the park offers full-day snowshoe rentals seven days a week (though hours do vary slightly from weekdays to weekends). There’s over 12 miles of trails to explore here, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you might even have some cool bird and wildlife sightings. The 1.7-mile South Loop and 1.5-mile North Loop are a good challenge that, when done together, take you through the park’s golf course, past the tree nursery, and back to the parking lot. Opt for one or the other for a shorter outing. You’ll pass a number of mineral springs on the Peerless Loop (0.7 miles) and Geyser Picnic Loop (one mile).
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Enjoy the waterfalls and ice caves that line the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge at Minnewaska State Park Preserve, among the Hudson’s Valley’s most expansive protected areas. Sam’s Point Preserve is a great trail to head out on. It’s a bit of a challenge, but you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views. If you’re looking for a guided hike, and a chance to check out some waterfalls, the park provides “Waterfall Snowshoe Outings” that you can sign up for — and, if you need, you can rent gear through the park for these events for $5. The trek up to Awosting Falls is 2.5 miles, making for a lengthy roundtrip, but the views are spectacular, whether or not you take the guided tour. The Millbrook Mountain Trail is five miles roundtrip, but you can go as far as you like and turn back. It circles Lake Minnewaska before ascending the surrounding ridge.
No snowshoe trip to Hudson Valley would be complete without a stop at Mohonk Preserve. While you can’t rent snowshoes at the preserve, there are plenty of nearby places to rent gear before you hit the trails. Also, it’s important to note that there are specific trails for snowshoeing so as not to create unsafe terrain for skiers, i.e. creating “foot potholes” on groomed trails. Choose from either Sand Farm Trail (a little over three miles, loop) or West Trapp Trail (over nine miles, loop) — both have incredible scenery and on crisp, clear days great mountain views.
In and around the Adirondacks
Table Top Mountain
If you’re a peak-bagger, snowshoes mean summit season doesn’t have to come to a close come winter. Table Top Mountain is New York’s 19th-highest peak. Though 19th place isn’t the best of bragging rights, the trail leading up the peak is among the most challenging and rewarding in the state. Even in the best of conditions, this 10-mile, out-and-back trek is tough, however, so keep that in mind when setting out in the snow. There’s some serious elevation gain (over 2,000 feet), so for this hike, poles might be a wise choice. Challenge aside, it’s sure to be one of the most idyllic locations, especially when blanketed in winter white.
For a more family-friendly peak-bagging experience, Bald Mountain has a short and sweet (about two miles out and back) snowshoeing trail that’s enjoyable for all skill levels, and bonus: your pup can join, too. This trail has under 500 feet of elevation gain, making it much more manageable for youngsters or newbies. The views are stunning, and you can also check out the Rondaxe Fire Tower, which can be climbed for even more spectacular views.
Montezuma Audubon Center
Wildlife abounds at the Montezuma Audubon Center outside of Savannah, making it an exciting place to spend time exploring in any season. In particular, the center provides a sanctuary for an abundance of birds, which is why they are hosting a bird-friendly snowshoeing event this February. Guests will enjoy a bird-friendly chocolate tasting and, according to Montezuma Audubon Center, “discover how these sweet treats are created while protecting important habitats where warblers and other neotropical migrants spend the winter months.”
On Long Island
Bethpage State Park + Bethpage Bikeway
With free off-season parking in the park and easy access to Bethpage Bikeway from a number of nearby towns, either Bethpage State Park or the bikeway is a good choice for snowshoeing. The park itself has plenty of wide-open space to explore while the bikeway offers an easy-to-follow trail leading to a few picturesque preserves. Rolling hills add a nice challenge to either. The bikeway itself spans over 13 miles, but you’ll want to hop on near the town of Bethpage.
Robert Moses State Park
New Yorkers are beach people by nature — it is the East Coast, after all — so it should be no surprise that a beach-adjacent snowshoeing location would make this list. Check out the infamous Robert Moses Lighthouse at the namesake state park, and, if you’re up for putting in some long-distance trekking (it’s a little over three miles one way), head to Fire Island’s Kismet Beach.
Blydenburgh County Park
Blydenburgh is a great space for snowshoeing through a wooded winter wonderland. This loop trail (a little over six miles roundtrip) is easy to follow as it goes entirely around the park’s Stump Pond. The terrain is mostly flat, and it’s a great trail for families to enjoy together. There’s a dog park here, too, that your four-legged family members will surely enjoy.
Cold Spring Harbor (Nassau Suffolk Greenbelt Trail)
The Nassau Suffolk Greenbelt Trail has 20 miles to traverse in any season. If you’re looking for a challenge, though, try out the Cold Spring Harbor section. It’s an out-and-back trail of a little over four miles that’s definitely more intermediate than beginner thanks to some steep sections. While poles are not required for snowshoeing, they’re recommended for this trail as the steep areas and snow can make for slippery steps.
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