DEC to Hold First Day Hikes in the Adirondacks

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced six “first day” hikes planned for Jan. 1, 2022, in DEC’s Region 5, which includes the Central and Eastern Adirondacks. Announced by Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this month (leaves DEC website), DEC encourages New Yorkers to connect with nature and enjoy safe, responsible recreation by getting outdoors on the first day of the New Year with DEC Region 5 staff and partners. The walks and hikes are family-friendly and range from 1.5 to five miles round trip.

“First Day Hikes are a fun, healthy way to welcome 2022,” said Joe Zalewski, DEC Region 5 Director. “Our regional staff are excited to lead a hike and to work with our partners at Paul Smith’s College, SUNY College of Environment Science and Forestry (ESF), Champlain Area Trails, and the Adirondack Mountain Club to provide exceptional outdoor experiences for this year’s First Day hikers.”

Hikers should come prepared for the elements with warm layered clothing, water, snacks, sunglasses, hats, gloves, and insulated, waterproof footwear. Depending on conditions, snowshoes and other traction devices may also be necessary. Participants should contact their trip leader or host for more information on required and recommended gear. Some hikes will be guided, while others invite users to enjoy a self-guided experience on a designated trail.

Each participant will receive a pair of Adventure NY-branded gloves and a New York State Parks bandana. Hikes may be cancelled if snowfall or other weather events create hazardous travel or outdoor recreation conditions. Registered participants will be notified if a hike is cancelled.
DEC Guided Hike Up Prospect Mountain

Jan. 1, 2022, 9 a.m.

Details: Hike 1.5-miles and climb 1,630 feet to the summit of Prospect Mountain to enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view. Parking at the trailhead is limited. If parking along Smith Street is full, find parking along nearby roads and walk to the trailhead. Dogs must be leashed. Please note that the pedestrian bridge over the Northway is metal grating and may be rough on dogs’ feet. The trail typically has snow and ice at steep angles. Hikers must bring appropriate footwear and traction devices such as microspikes or snowshoes with crampons. Wear and bring warm winter clothing and layers as well as water and food. Cameras are recommended.

Prospect Mountain: Trailhead on Smith Street, Village of Lake George (43.4254°N, 73.7197°W)

Registration Required: Registration is limited to 20 participants. For more information and to register, contact Ben Thomas at benjamin.thomas@dec.ny.gov (reference ‘First Day Hike’ in the subject line) or call (518) 623-1268.
Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) Guided Hike on Heron Marsh Trail

Jan. 1, 2022, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Details: Join VIC Director Scott van Laer and start the New Year with a spin around Heron Marsh (a 2.65-mile loop). You may catch glimpses of otters at play, birds checking back for the stash of seeds they carefully left behind last summer, or tracks from other critters who have been out and about. This event is free and snowshoes are required. Call in advance if you need to rent a pair of snowshoes.

Paul Smith VIC: 8023 NY-30, Paul Smiths, NY 12970.

Registration Required: Registration is limited to 20 participants. Visit Paul Smith’s website to register (link leaves DEC website).
Champlain Area Trails – Self-Guided Hike Up Cheney Mountain

Jan. 1, 2022, 10 a.m.

Details: Begin at the trailhead on Pelfershire Rd, approximately 1.6 miles west of Rt 22/9N. Walk across the field and enter the woods for a .75-mile uphill hike to the Cheney Mountain summit with three scenic overlooks. Enjoy interesting “perched” wetlands on the summit.

Contact: For more information, contact Emily Segada at Emily@champlainareatrails.com.
Champlain Area Trails – Self-Guided Hike on Little Ausable Trail

Jan. 1, 2022, 10 a.m.

Details: The Little Ausable River Trail, a 3.6-mile round-trip recreational path, begins at Heyworth/Mason Park in Peru and leads to the entrance of Sullivan Park. Enjoy this flat gravel and paved trail along Little Ausable River. Near Peru are interpretive signs about human and natural history in the area.

Contact: For more information, contact Emily Segada at Emily@champlainareatrails.com.
SUNY ESF Guided Hike Up Goodnow Mountain

Jan. 1, 2022, 9:30 a.m.

Details: Enjoy a first day hike or snowshoe on the four-mile round trip trail up Goodnow Mountain. The Goodnow Mountain trail ascends approximately 900 feet over two miles and features gorgeous views into the High Peaks from a 60ft Fire Tower on the summit. Hike will take approximately 3.5 hours. Please note that the fire tower cab is closed and off-limits, but visitors can still enjoy views from the fire tower stairs. Please arrive at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Coffee and pastries will be available before driving to the trailhead. Masks are required indoors at all times.

SUNY ESF’s AIC: 6312 State Route 28N, Newcomb, NY 12852

Registration Required: To register, email aic@esf.edu. For more information, contact Charlotte Demers at 518-582-2000 or cdemers@esd.edu.
Glens Falls-Saratoga Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club Guided Hike up Thomas Mountain

Jan. 1, 2022, 10 a.m.

Details: Help kick off the Adirondack Mountain Club’s 100th Anniversary! This will be an easy to moderate paced hike covering three miles round trip. Beginners are welcome. If the conditions call for it, please wear snowshoes. If you are interested in participating but don’t have snowshoes, please inquire with the trip leader as she has access to extra snowshoes. The hike will begin from the Valley Woods Road Trailhead in Bolton.

Registration Required: Group size limited to 13 participants. For more information and to register, contact Megan at megan@adk.org.

This year, DEC and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation are offering more than 75 First Day Hikes at parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across New York. For a list of DEC and partner guided hikes, visit DEC’s First Day Hikes webpage. For more information and a complete list of hikes, view the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation press release.