There are many popular hiking trails in New York State and popular trails are popular for a reason, but New York also has lots of hidden treasures just waiting to be explored. These are places that you won't see all over Instagram, and you won't have trouble finding a place to park when you arrive.
Trails Less Traveled
Clarence Beavers Trail (Kings Park Unique Area)
There are two trail loops that lead hikers through oak brush and early successional habitat. The longest hike is the 1.1 mile blue loop trail, and there is also a 0.3 mile accessible yellow trail.
Ridge Interpretive Trail (Ridge Conservation Area)
Three trails on the property vary in length and can lead you through a number of habitats including pond, woodland, field and marsh. As you walk along the red and blue trails, you will find numbered wooden posts with text about Long Island's unique ecosystems.
More than 1,700 feet of winding trails run through the Natural Resource Area. The primary trail route begins near Bayswater Park and runs northward towards Healy Avenue. The trails are somewhat primitive in nature.
This area features five trails which traverse the property passing through forests and around wetlands, one of which is wheelchair accessible.
St. Francis Woodlands provides visitors with three trails, all less than a half mile long-for exploring its forested hills and upland swamp habitats. This property is part of the Staten Island Greenbelt, one of the largest urban nature preserves in the United States.
Vernooy Kill Falls (Sundown Wild Forest)
This snowmobile-equestrian-multiple use trail starts at the trailhead on Upper Cherrytown Road in the Town of Rochester, passes over the Vernooy Kill and Balsam Swamp to Greenville and returns via Spencer/Trails End Road in an 11.2-mile loop. The most popular destination is the Upper Falls of the Vernooy Kill, where the water drops about 60 feet in a series of small pools and falls.
Silver Lake Mountain (Taylor Pond Wild Forest)
The summit of Silver Lake Mountain (2,347 feet) can be reached via the 0.9 mile trail that ascends 900 feet from the trailhead on Silver Lake Road. The summit offers views of Silver Lake, Taylor Pond, and Whiteface Mountain.
Floodwood Mountain (Saranac Lakes Wild Forest)
The Saranac Lakes Wild Forest contains more than 80 miles of hiking trails. A nice hike off of the beaten path is the Floodwood Mountain trail, which is 1.6 miles long and ascends 600 feet to the summit of Floodwood Mountain (2,304 feet).
Sawyer Mountain (Blue Ridge Wilderness)
The majority of the Blue Ridge Wilderness is remote and without trails. The Sawyer Mountain Trail is one of the few designated trails on the property. The trail runs 1.1 miles and ascends 600 feet from the trailhead on State Route 28 to an overlook near the summit of the mountain.
Red Horse Trail (Five Pond and Pepperbox Wilderness)
The Red Horse Trail extends 5.3 miles from a trailhead on the shore of Big Burnt Lake (on the north side of Stillwater Reservoir in the Independence River Wild Forest) over to Clear Lake. Trout Pond Lean-to and Salmon Lake Lean-to are located along the trail and provide two nice spots to camp out for the night or stop for a snack break. This trailhead is accessible from the water only.
Bear Lake, Ledge Mountain (Black River Wild Forest)
The Bear Lake Trail (blue and yellow trail markers) extends a total of 5.1 miles from the trailhead on Wolf Lake Landing Road to the Big Woodhull-Sand Lake Falls Trail (blue markers, 3.2 miles) and from Bear Lake to Bloodsucker Pond and Big Woodhull Lake (yellow markers, 1.9 miles).
The Ledge Mountain Overlook Trail (aka Vista Trail) extends 1.1 miles and ascends 310 feet from the trailhead on State Route 8 to the top of a ridge with a scenic overlook of the West Canada Creek Valley. The access road to the trailhead parking area and first part of the trail cross private land. Stay on the road and the trail, do not trespass on private property.
Hawkins Pond Trails (Hawkins Pond State Forest)
Hawkins Pond State Forest features about four miles of nature trails that lead hikers through woods and fields and around the scenic pond. The trails are used for cross-country skiing all winter.
Muller Hill Historical Site (Muller Hill State Forest)
A 0.25-mile accessible trail leads to the Muller Hill Historic Site where the mansion of Louis Muller was located, along with a wildlife viewing area on Muller Pond. In 1907, almost 100 years after construction, the mansion was consumed by fire and burned to the ground. Not much remains of the home today. An interpretive site is planned for the forest to acknowledge the cultural and natural history.
McCarthy Hill State Forest features several miles of trails. The loops are used for cross-country skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. One section of the trail is actually a portion of the Crystal Hills Branch Trail off of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot traffic only).
A short loop trail gives access to Huckleberry Bog. Huckleberry Bog is a wetland which supports highbush blueberry and a variety of other heath type plants. An interpretive brochure is available on-site. Also located on the property is a portion of the Bristol Hills Branch Trail off of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot traffic only).
There are no designated recreation trails on the property, but the gated DEC road (a.k.a. "Long View Trail"), old skid roads, deer paths, and old farm lanes are available for exploring. This parcel also features open fields which are somewhat unique on state forest properties.
Westside Overland Trail (Brokenstraw State Forest)
1.4 miles of trail within the State Forest navigates the various woodlots and access trails. Only biking, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed on the trail - no motor vehicles or horses.
Hidden Falls Trail (Allen Lake State Forest)
This 1.5-mile long hiking trail leads to a secluded waterfall in the southwestern portion of Allen Lake State Forest. Listen for the falling water - you can hike down the slope to get a better look at the waterfall, which lies in a narrow, vertical gorge near the State Forest boundary.