As You're New Here Week continues, we head outside. Jen has some suggestions to get you started hiking here.
One of my favorite things about living in the Capital Region is our close vicinity to so many outdoor recreation areas. With many state parks and areas like the Adirondacks and Catskills, there is a little something for everyone to enjoy.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Thacher State Park Hang Glider Trail, Albany County
Located about 15 minutes outside of Albany in Berne, Thacher State Park is one of my favorite local spots. There are many different trails in the park to choose from. And you can always walk the well-known Indian Ladder Trail, but on nice days it can get crowded.
An alternative: The lesser-known Hang Glider Trail is a great place for those seeking solitude. The trailhead is at a parking lot on Carrick Road on the north side of the park. There are great views from two lookout points along this trail. The trail itself is mostly flat with a few inclines and is generally easy. (trail map)
Hadley Mountain, Adirondacks
I can't make a hiking list without including the Adirondacks. These mountains are my favorite place to hike and there are many hikes to choose from for all levels and abilities.
The southern Adirondacks area near Lake George is only about an hour north of the Capital Region. Hadley Mountain was one of my first Adirondack hikes and it's a great hike for anyone, about 3.5 miles roundtrip. It offers great views from the summit and has a fire tower to climb. (trail info)
Plotter Kill Preserve, Schenectady County
With large waterfalls and various trails with different levels of difficulty, the Plotter Kill Preserve is a great place to hike if you want to stay close to home. The waterfalls are dramatic -- one is 60-feet high, and the others are 40 feet. And in the winter, when the falls often aren't running, the preserve is a pretty spot. (trail description)
One note about the Plotter Kill: It includes some steep slopes and ledges, so be sure to stay on the trails and exercise caution.
Grafton Lake State Park, Rensselaer County
Grafton Lakes State Park is my new favorite place to visit. Located about 30 minutes outside of Troy in Cropseyville, it offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, kayaking, and mountain biking. There is a great trail that runs around one of the lakes that is flat and offers some gorgeous views of the water. (trail map)
Overlook Mountain, Catskills
Just about an hour south of Albany, Overlook Mountain is a great hike. Ruins of an hold mountain hotel are located near the summit, which is always cool to see. The hike itself follows a wide fire road to the summit, but can get steep at times. The view at the top is worth it, though!
After the hike, check out the shops in the village of Woodstock, not far from the trail head. (trail information)
Five Rivers, Delmar
The Five Rivers Environmental Education Center is one of my favorite spots. I came here as a kid to walk the trails with my grandma. It is a great spot for hiking or trail running and offers a wide variety of great trails. Some even run along streams and near ponds. It is also great for snowshoeing in the winter. My favorite time to come is early evening and you might even spot a deer under one of the apple trees. (trail map)
As always when you go hiking, make sure you have a map of the area and good hiking shoes before you head out. And as they say, take only pictures and leave only footprints and enjoy all the outdoors have to offer.
More You're New Here:
+ Drawing: You're New Here Week local food and fun package
+ You're New Here: Kid-friendly destinations
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