Whether you’re new to hiking with your baby or toddler, or you’re looking for a new trail to explore, the Hike it Baby community is a valuable resource for finding family hiking trails around the country. In this article, we share three beautiful hikes in New York State to explore with babies and young children.
Hiking with young children (under 5 years old) is different from hiking with school-age children. These three hikes in New York state offer families of young children beautiful trails to explore while considering the unique ways young children hike, wander, doddle and explore. In addition, these trails are open year-round, which is important in the Northeast where you’re guaranteed to see quite a bit of snow in the winter!
While there are thousands of trails to explore in New York, our local Hike it Baby branches recommend these three hikes that are close to metro areas, accessible by all-terrain strollers and beautiful to explore with young children.
Saratoga Spa State Park (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Located just minutes from the bustling downtown district of Saratoga Springs along with the famous Saratoga Racetrack, Saratoga Spa State Park offers something for every age, ability and interest. This National Historic Monument boasts numerous trails ranging in length from 0.5 mile to over 5 miles, including a 2-mile paved loop (Avenue of the Pines Loop) that can easily be accomplished with strollers and wheelchairs.
As the name suggests, this park was made famous for the numerous mineral springs that were first discovered by the Iroquois in the 14th century. These springs differ in mineral content and were (and still are) believed to help with various ailments, such as arthritis. Our favorite hike includes the Geyser and Ferndell trails, which pass at least eight of these mineral springs, some of which you can drink from.
Don’t let the chilly Upstate New York winter keep you away from this park, which offers snowshoe rentals for use on the trails along with an outdoor ice-skating rink where you can skate or catch the occasional hockey game. You can also check out the four-season environmental education center (the Creekside Classroom) where park staff offer enrichment programs year-round, including hikes, tours and snowshoe walks.
- You can easily take a whole day to explore this park! In addition to trails, the park offers other aesthetic and recreational resources, including the nationally-known Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort, the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, two swimming pool complexes, and two golf courses.
- There is a weekend Farmers’ Market all year-round within the park, located at the Lincoln Baths, where you can find fresh local produce and other goods.
- While there is a fee required to enter portions of the park during the summer months (unless you have a New York State Empire Pass), you can enter the Northern portion for free, which gives you access to a number of the trails and attractions, including the Automobile Museum, Lincoln Baths, and some of the “drinkable” springs.
Meadowbrook Nature Preserve (Queensbury, NY)
Located in the heart of the Town of Queensbury (less than 20 miles south of Lake George), Meadowbrook Nature Preserve will take you through three separate ecosystems in just 44 acres of land: a meadow, woods and wetlands. This lesser-known preserve has a little less than 2 miles of trails and offers a quiet walk in the woods with plenty of wildlife to spot along the way. It is perfect for a meandering toddler or a jogging stroller adventure and offers various interpretive signs along the way that teach about the plants, animals and habitats found within the preserve.
- There are no bathrooms within the preserve, so you may need to stop on the way there for a potty break.
- The preserve is open all year-round, with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing popular in the winter.
- The offshoot red trail leads to a dock that extends over the beautiful Halway Brook, where you can spot fish and other wetland creatures.
Moreau Lake State Park (Gansevoort, NY)
Located just 11 miles north of Saratoga Springs and 15 miles South of Lake George, Moreau Lake State Park offers over 4,500 acres of outdoor recreation for all ages and abilities. There are 16 trails ranging from one mile to over 6 miles in length. Along with hiking, this park offers camping, fishing, boating, a gorgeous beach, an informative nature center and picnic spots with grills available.
We recommend the Nature Trail, which starts at the beach and loops around the small section of the Lake (heading north from the beach around 1.5 miles) or you can go south to loop around the larger portion of the lake for a longer hike (around 2.5 miles). These can be done with an all-terrain stroller, and you may catch glimpses of a beaver lodge along with a myriad of wildlife year-round!
- This is a four-season park, with snowshoe rentals available and a Warming Hut open every day during the winter where you can warm up near a toasty fire. You can even ice fish here!
- There is a daily vehicle entrance fee charged during the summer months (June to August) and on weekends in May and September. The New York State Empire Pass is accepted here.
- There are various areas within the park that have paved roads and walkways, which can be traveled with a stroller or wheelchair.
Written and photos by Rebecca Hosley and Natalie Kendrach.
More Resources for Families with Young Children
New York offers an abundance of trails for families with young children. For more family hike ideas, see:
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with the local branch)
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers – New Book by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
- 3 Kid-friendly trails in Kansas for young children
- 3 Great hikes in New Jersey for young children
- 3 Beautiful hikes in Washington State for young children
What are your favorite hikes in New York for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!