The 7 Best Backpacking Spots in New York State

The 7 Best Backpacking Spots in New York State

The 7 Best Backpacking Spots in New York State


Although many people flock to New York to see the city, one might be surprised when they discover what else is outside of Manhattan- and it’s not just Queens or Brooklyn. Despite the fact the most well-known part of this state is definitely the Big Apple, some people might find it hard to believe that New York is filled with some of the best backpacking spots this side of North America. For those New Yorkers who are looking to get out of the city and to the ‘out-of-towners’ or foreigners who come to see what the Empire State is all about, make backpacking New York part of your next backcountry itinerary.

Backpacking Harriman Bear Mountain State Park, backpacking new york

Backpacking New York | Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park

If there was ever an area meant for backpacking New York, it was Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park. Here is where the Appalachian Trail in New York begins, and the scenery is a gold-mine for lovers of the backcountry. The amount of trails are endless. The peaks provide unbelievable views, and you can spend weeks hiking here and never end up in the same spot. Come for fishing, a picnic, casual walking, bird-watching, or bring your backpack and plan on staying a while to explore the vast grounds.

Backpacking Minnewaska State Park and Sam’s Point Preserve, backpacking new york

Minnewaska State Park and Sam’s Point Preserve

Minnewaska is in Southeastern New York, located along the ridges of the Shawangunk Mountain in Ulster, New York. With waterfalls, lakes, forests, nerve-wracking cliffs and ledges, it is the ultimate spot for rock-climbers, backpackers, and adrenaline junkies. The views from Sam’s Point are one of a kind. In addition to admiring the thriving ecosystems, you can explore waterfalls, Lake Maratanza, winding footpaths, and old ice cave crevices.

Backpacking Adirondack Region and Lake George, backpacking new york

Adirondack Region and Lake George

New York State is famous for the Adirondack Region, as well as the hot spot for white water rafting on the East Coast, Lake George. This region covers nearly a third of New York State, and the amount of activities here are endless. There are hundreds of camping sites and absolutely beautiful grounds for hiking and mountaineering that draw backpackers from all over. When backpacking New York, make this one of your first stops.

Backpacking Taconic State Park, backpacking new york

Taconic State Park

Taconic State Park is a great destination for backpackers because of the many trails that vary based on the level of the terrain. The popular sites that draw people here are Copake Falls and Rudd Pond, where you can hike along some of nature’s most precious features. The campsites here are meant for those who want a true camping experience, and this little gem keeps wow-ing visitors despite the fact it is the oldest state park in the region.

Backpacking the Catskill Mountains, backpacking new york

Catskill Mountains

One place where city-folk have been escaping to for the summers for decades is none other than the Catskill Mountains. There are four marvelous regions of the Catskills expanding over 600,000 acres, and all are waiting for dedicated backpackers. The Catskills are also known for countless options for backpacking, camping, climbing, horseback riding, winter sports, or a long vacation.

Backpacking Hudson Highlands State Park, backpacking new york

Hudson Highlands State Park

Lying along the eastern side of the Hudson, Hudson Highlands has rich history peeking through the cracks of amazing landscapes. There are great hiking trails that range in difficulty, including one that is called ‘The Breakneck Bypass Trail’; if that’s any indication. The trails are all cleanly marked and many provide panoramic views of the Hudson.

Backpacking Letchworth State Park, backpacking new york

Letchworth State Park

Voted Best State Park in the Nation by USA Today, Letchworth is known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the East’. Here, there are 66 miles of hiking trails that are completely surrounded by gorgeous waterfalls and lush forests. The Genesee River runs through this park which is open throughout the year for endless outdoor activities. The best way to see the park is on foot, but many come to see it by hot air balloon.

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.