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Where to Take a First Day Hike in the Hudson Valley

Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville is just one of the NYS parks offering New Year’s hikes. Photo by Joe Golden, courtesy of Friends of Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Start the new year on the right foot — literally — with a picturesque January 1 hike at one of these local New York State parks.

No New Year’s Eve partying for you? That’s great. You’ll stay safe and feel rejuvenated for New Year’s Day. One great way to spend January 1 is on a First Day Hike at a New York State Park, where most include guided tours, and the activities vary from brisk walks to bird watching. Call or visit websites or social media accounts to reserve a spot and for more information.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Yorktown Heights
10:30 a.m.

A brisk walk with plenty of bridges, this hike is a manageable two miles. No reservations are required.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site

1–3 p.m.

Self-guided landscape tours can be picked up from the holiday shop in the glass porch of the main house. Admission is free. For more info, call 914.232.5651 or go to www.johnjayhomestead.org.

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

9 & 10 a.m.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers two glorious first-day hikes. The 9 a.m. stroll along the Hudson River also crosses the beautiful landscapes of Rockwood Hall. Larry Trachtenberg of the Saw Mill River Audubon Society guides the walk, pointing out bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, and other wildlife along the way. At 10 a.m., the four-mile hike offers views of an icy lake along carriage trails. When you attend, you enter a raffle for a NYS Parks t-shirt. Preserve Manager Peter Iskenderian leads this excursion. Reserve tickets via Eventbrite at www.RockefellerStateParkPreserve.org/events.

Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park at Croton Reservoir and Dam

12 p.m. (Jan 1 and Jan 2)

This easy, breezy, two-mile loop around the Old Croton Aqueduct is not short on views. Register for the first or second day hike online (for free), and join the guided walk to learn more about the history of this iconic Westchester landmark.

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve at Little Stony Point

Cold Spring
11 a.m.–2 p.m. (hikes start at 11:15 a.m.)

Celebrate the arrival of 2022 at the majestic Hudson Highlands. Pre-register online for free coffee and hot cocoa, snacks, music, and the choice of two naturalist-led hikes. Opt for the short and sweet Little Stony Point trail, or hike to the Cornish Estate for a bit of local history.

First day hike at Olana

Photo by Olivia Waldron/The Olana Partnership

Olana State Historic Site

10–11 a.m. and 1–2 p.m.

Discover the beauty of Frederic Church’s masterpiece on New Year’s Day. Attendees must register in advance at www.olana.org/programs-events.

Taconic State Park – Copake Falls Area

Copake Falls
1 p.m.

There’s nothing like a brisk waterfall hike on New Year’s Day. Head out to Bash Bish Falls and join a guided 3.5-mile hike. Pets are invited too! The trail also highlights the historic Copake Ironworks. Please call 518.329.3993 for inquires and to register.

Related: 21 Under-the-Radar Outdoor Gems to Find in the Hudson Valley