New York State’s 8 Best Hikes for Wildlife Watching
- New York
Are you ready to discover another side of New York State?
You will be wowed by the amazing wildlife and varied hiking trails you’ll find all across the state.
Letchworth State Park: The Grand Canyon of the East
Lush forests, 180-meter cliffs, roaring waterfalls, 100-plus kilometers of hiking trails ... this is Letchworth State Park, voted Best State Park in the USA in a 2015 USA Today Readers’ Choice poll. Abundant birdwatching includes such species as bald eagles, hawks and great blue herons.
Water tumbles over a cliff surrounded by lush scenery at Letchworth State Park.
Montezuma Wetlands Complex: Four Seasons of Wildlife
A significant stop on the Atlantic Flyway (a migratory bird route along the eastern coast of the U.S.), Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a bird-watchers’ paradise. In all four seasons, you’ll see hundreds of birds and other wildlife as you hike the park’s 5 kilometers of trails.
Deer sighting at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Chittenango Falls State Park: Waterfall Attraction
Wind your way along nature trails to see Chittenango Falls’ main attraction: a picturesque, 50-meter waterfall. You’ll find a fascinating variety of flora and fauna including the Chittenango ovate amber snail, a snail species found nowhere else on Earth.
Chittenango Falls State Park is known for its namesake waterfalls, as well as its wildlife.
Jamestown Audubon Nature Center: Family-Friendly Nature
Three beginner-friendly trails, a nature center, an arboretum and a small collection of live animals make this nature center a fun family outing. Watch for wild animals such as hawks, deer and rabbits.
A boardwalk stretches across the marsh at Jamestown Audubon Nature Center
Saratoga Spa State Park: All-Day Fun
About 170 species of birds have been identified in Saratoga Spa State Park. Spend a day searching for them on the serene hiking trails, then enjoy the natural springs, swimming pools, picnic areas, year-round farmers’ market and automobile museum.
Walk between the trees at Saratoga Spa State Park
Catskill Forest Preserve: Outdoor-Enthusiasts’ Dream
With 98 mountain peaks over 900 meters of elevation, the undulating countryside at Catskill Forest Preserve offers outstanding seasonal views. The hiking trails vary from short, family-friendly walks all the way to the Long Path, a 575-kilometer trail from New York City to Albany, with a 160-kilometer stretch in the Catskills. Watch for black bears, deer and foxes, as well as bald eagles and songbirds perching in the trees.
Cascading stream at Catskill Forest Preserve
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge: Birds and More Birds
You don’t have to be an expert birder to appreciate the hundreds of bird species that spend time at this wildlife refuge, particularly during spring and fall (the main migratory seasons). Hike the many kilometers of secluded, lush trails to listen and watch for these feathered friends.
A small frog hides in the grass at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
The Wild Center: Accessible Nature
This museum features unique ways of interacting with wildlife, from the indoor otter tank and fish pond, to outdoor trails and the Wild Walk – an elevated walkway through the treetops. Accessible to people of all ages and abilities, the Walk is equipped with bird blinds and interactive exhibits making it a perfect activity for the whole family. There are also frequent programs, such as animal encounters and canoe trips led by certified naturalists.
Keep your eyes to the sky to spot cardinals and other birds at The Wild Center
Fly into New York State via John F. Kennedy International in New York City and Newark International in New Jersey. Use Long Island MacArthur, Stewart International, Albany International, Syracuse Hancock International, Greater Rochester International and Buffalo Niagara International airports for one-hour connections to destinations statewide. Amtrak rail, rental cars or a combination of any of the above will also take you around the state.