When people think of New York, the first thing that most likely comes to mind is New York City, along with images of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and an illuminated Times Square plaza. While New York City is quite majestic, there is so much more to New York state than just the city.

Some of the most picturesque natural landscapes in the Northeastern United States are located just a few hours away from the city that never sleeps. New York is home to both the Adirondack Mountain range as well as the Catskills, with some of the best hiking locations in this part of the country. 

As those of us that live in the area know, sometimes the best way to escape from the bustling lifestyle of the city is to get out in nature and appreciate its beauty. Whether you’re a New Yorker or just passing through, there is truly no better way to escape the demands of everyday life and to disconnect from technology than with some fresh air, mother nature, and beautiful views. Hiking is a great way to enjoy all of these things and more! Studies have shown that: 

  • Hiking helps us clear our minds and reduce stress.
  • Spending time in nature makes us happier in general.
  • Hiking improves our sleep quality. This is because we are not exposing ourselves to new age stimuli – such as cell phones and computers – while we’re hiking. You also burn more energy than normal when hiking.
  • People who regularly spend time outdoors have improved memory and recollection.
  • Hiking allows you to reconnect with yourself as well as the natural environment, appreciating it a little bit more too. 

Below we’ve listed our four favorite hiking spots that the Empire State has to offer. Keep reading to learn more. 

1. Breakneck Ridge 

Located just over 60 miles north of the city (about an hour and a half by car, two hours by train), this is one of the most rewarding hikes for seasoned hikers. Albeit only a 3.2-mile loop, it is quite a steep and challenging trail so we would not recommend it for novice hikers or people who are hiking with small children. However, if you hike regularly, you won’t want to skip over this trail. Breakneck Ridge offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River and Sugarloaf Mountain, making it more enjoyable.

2. Gorge and Indian Trails, Watkins Glen State Park 

Considered one of the most popular parks in the Finger Lakes region, conquering it during off-peak hours to avoid crowds is recommended. This also ensures that you’ll be able to maintain social distance guidelines from fellow hikers. The wide stone pathway along this trail has been carved into the rock, which makes it easy for walking and is ideal for those of us who might be new to hiking or who are hiking with kids. The Gorge and Indian Trails will lead you through caves, across bridges, over waterfalls, and will offer you plenty of lovely views to admire in its 2.4-mile loop.

3. Bonticou Crag Trail 

The Bonticou Crag Trail is a moderate 2.3-mile excursion that can be enjoyed year-round by new and seasoned hikers alike. Situated only two hours north of the city, this trail will guide you through open fields (with wildflowers during certain times of the year) and plenty of woods before you reach the Bonticou Crag – where you can bask in greenish-blue views of the rolling hills below.

4. Pine Meadow Trail 

Only located 46 miles from the city, the 10-mile Pine Meadow Trail is perfect for experienced hikers who want to complete the full hike in a day. Novice hikers may want to turn around after a few miles, so be sure not to overwork yourself. Either way, about two and a half miles into the trail, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views on the shore of Pine Meadow Lake. This hike is sure to be enjoyed by everyone and includes gorgeous views the entire way.

Whether you’re a New York State resident looking for adventure close to home or you’re just passing through the area, all of these trails have something enjoyable and unique to offer. Since spending time outdoors has a wide range of proven health benefits from boosting your immune system to enhancing creativity, hiking is a great way for you to reap the rewards of mother nature.

There are plenty of ways for you to squeeze in “nature time” into your busy schedule. Kiwi Energy wants you to live your best and most sustainable life, so be sure to stay tuned to our blog for tips on other green-living ideas.