Description - At the inspiration of U.S. Forest Service planner, Benton MacKaye, the Appalachian Trail Conference began establishing the footpath which today spans from Springer, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. MacKaye's 1921 idea began to formulate officially in 1925 and over 40 years later in 1968 Congress passed the National Trails System Act. Countless guides, maps and Internet websites are dedicated to experiences, suggestions and guidelines for hiking the scenic multi-state route. Approximately 88 miles travel through New York.
- Hikers traveling New York's segment of the approximate 2,150-mile Appalachian Trail will find moderate elevation changes ranging from relatively flat and gentle terrain to short, steep rocky pitches. Many rock outcroppings provide scenic vistas of valleys and villages, sprawling lakes and small ponds. The A.T. enters New York several miles southeast of Warwick along the Bellvale Mountain Range west of Greenwood Lake in the Hudson Highlands. It spans a distance of a little more than 88 miles in New York traveling in a northeast direction. The wooded path traverses Indian Park, past Mt. Peter Ski Area and northward to Dutch Hollow. It weaves westward over Trout Brook to reach the highest point along New York's A.T. route, Prospect Mountain which rises a mere 1,433 feet above sea level. Skirting Mombasha Lake, the path travels over Buchanan Mountain before encountering Interstate 87. Dipping below Island Pond, the A.T. heads northbound onto the ridges of Surebridge Mountain, Fingerbread Mountain and Stockbridge Mountain. Scenic vistas of Lake Toranti are enjoyed from several points. The trail encounters Letterrock Mountain and Black Mountain before crossing Palisades Interstate Parkway. Heading north along the low ridges of West Mountain, the trail heads into the very scenic recreation haven of Harriman State Park - Bear Mountain. Traveling over the US 6 Hudson River Bridge, the trail passes along Anthony's Nose which is a steep climb to a vista overlooking Bear Mountain Bridge and the Hudson River. Continuing northeast, the trail travels over US 9 at a low elevation of approximately 300 feet. The A.T. weaves around numerous ponds before it reaches the Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park that falls along the shores of Canopus Lake. Traveling through a deciduous forest, it eventually enters the Depot Hill Multi-use Area. From this popular hunting ground, the trail heads north past Prison Reservoir then turns eastbound passing wetlands adjacent to Hurd Corners. At this juncture, the trail makes a turn north offering views of Quaker Lake and Duell Hollow before leaving New York and entering Connecticut.
Recreation - Hiking and scenic viewing are the two main recreations enjoyed on this multistate National Scenic Trail. The points of interest along New York's 88 mile stretch include Indian Park, Mt. Peter Ski Area, Prospect Mountain which is the highest point of the A.T. in New York ( 1,433 feet), Surebridge Mountain, Lake Tiorati, Bear Mountain - Harriman State Park, Fahnestock State Park, Depot Hill Multi-use Area and Quaker Lake.
Climate - New York experiences four distinct seasons, with spring and fall being the most pleasant times to travel through the region. Humidity in the southeastern areas of the state can make summer travel uncomfortable, although many festivals and special events occur during that season. Summer highs in the lower elevations of New York usually don't surpass 90 degrees F. Thunderstorms occur a few times a week and can bring needed relief from the heat.
During the fall and spring humidity levels drop with temperatures and make for pleasantly mild traveling weather. Fall brings brilliant color changes in the leaves and spring bring blooming flowers to all regions of the state.
Winter travel can be hazardous as the western portion of the state receives extreme amounts of snow. Debilitating ice storms hit the southeastern portion of the state as often as snow. Although the major highways are usually clear soon after snow, in time to reach the ski resorts in northern New York.
The over 2,150 mile Appalachian Trail which travels from Springer, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine enters New York several miles southeast of Warwick along the Bellvale Mountain Range west of Greenwood Lake. The A.T. exits New York several miles north of Pawling in Dutchess County.