Where to Take a First Day Hike in the Hudson Valley

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 you can follow along guided tours, do a little bird watching, or simply stroll along well-trodden trails.

Whether you’re setting the intention to get out and about more in 2024 or you just love a good winter hike, these are prime options for an excursion.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park

Yorktown Heights


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No reservations are required for this brisk, two-mile hike. Located in the heart of Westchester County, it’s a great choice for hikers traveling from the Big Apple.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site


Dawn to dusk, take a self-guided landscape tour of this historic site in Westchester. While you won’t get the full John Jay experience—the Bedford House, visitor center, and Discovery Center are open May through October—the grounds alone are well worth a visit in all their winter glory.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve


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Rockefeller State Park Preserve offers a glorious first day hike. 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. Be sure to register in advance.

Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park at Croton Reservoir and Dam

Dobbs Ferry

This easy, breezy, two-mile loop around the Old Croton Aqueduct is certainly not short on views. Not only will you be spending time around nature, but you’ll get to see an iconic Westchester landmark for yourself. How better to start off your year than with a bit of nature and history? Register online for the hike, which begins at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve at Little Stony Point

Cold Spring

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Celebrate the arrival of 2024 at the majestic Hudson Highlands with a hike along the Hudson River in Cold Spring. Opt for the mile-long Little Stony Point trail, or hike three miles round-trip via the Cornish Estate trail for a little local history.

Olana State Historic Site


When better to discover the beauty of Frederic Edwin Church’s architectural masterpiece than on New Year’s Day? Attendees must register in advance online to partake in one of two first day hikes at Olana. Explore the property’s 250 acres of winter landscape and learn about the 19th-century artist Frederic Church on a guided hike at 1 p.m., or get up early with your pup for a 10 a.m. hike with man’s best friend.

Taconic State Park — Copake Falls Area

Copake Falls

There’s nothing like a brisk waterfall hike on New Year’s Day. Ring in the new year on this four-mile guided hike out to Bash Bish Falls, and warm up afterwards with a bonfire and hot chocolate at the park office. The event is rain, snow, or shine, and well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Related: Here’s What to Do in the Hudson Valley This Week

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