Where to Take a First Day Hike in Westchester

Start the new year off on the right foot in Westchester with a first day hike courtesy of New York State Parks.

While most of us will be taking it easy on January 1 after a long night of ushering in the new year, there are plenty of residents who would prefer to celebrate with some exercise. Thanks to our local state parks, there are a handful of guided tours, historic strolls, and dog-friendly hikes to help you get a jump on your new year’s resolutions. Be sure to bundle up and put on your walking shoes!

Rockwood Hall

Pleasantville, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Kick off 2024 with a 1.5-mile walk within the beautiful landscape of Rockwood Hall. The hike will be guided by Larry Trachtenberg of the Sawmill River Audubon Society. Keep your eyes open for bald eagles and red-tailed hawks as they glide over the preserve. Be sure to dress warmly, since this walk is along the river, and bring your binoculars if you have them! Pets are not allowed on this walk, and registration is free but required.

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FDR State Park

Yorktown Heights, 10 a.m.

Head over to Yorktown Heights’ FDR State Park for a guided hike with Terry Ducey and Walt and Jane Daniels. The trio will be sure to fill your morning with local facts and fun to start the year off right. Dress in warm layers for this easy, two-mile hike that requires no pre-registration. Meet at the north end of the pool parking lot.

Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park

Croton-on-Hudson, 1 p.m.

Dive into the rich history of the Old Croton Aqueduct and the features of the Croton Dam on this two-mile, two-hour loop hike. Hikers will meet near the restrooms at the rear (south end) of the parking lot at Croton Gorge Park and make their way atop the Dam. Pre-registration is required, but the hike is free.

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John Jay Homestead

Katonah, 1-3 p.m.

Welcome in the new year with a self-guided historic landscape tour of John Jay Homestead. Hikers will meet at the main parking lot for an easy, one-mile hike. Bring your furry friends because pets are welcome on this hike. For some background, John Jay began to inherit his land in 1785 just three years after his father died. Learn more about the venue’s Westchester history on your hike! Pre-registration is not required, but the homestead asks that you check the website after 10 a.m. for weather-related cancelations.

Related: Your Official Winter Sporting Guide for Westchester County

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