As outdoor enthusiasts, wintertime in New York City can feel endless. But you don’t have to let the plummeting temperatures and snow squalls put a damper on getting your outdoor adventure fix.
There are tons of things to do within a short drive or train trip to get your blood pumping in the crisp winter air. Here are some great day trips to inspire you to get outside this season.
1. Snowshoeing at Fahnestock Winter Park
Fahnestock Winter Park is located just a couple of hours from the city in the Hudson Valley and features 18KM of groomed and mapped trails for snowshoers and skiers of all levels.
Part of the Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park’s 16,000 acres of land at an elevation of 1,100 feet, which helps with getting fresh powder throughout the season. The designated trails will take you by lakes, streams, granite outcroppings, and stone walls.
Explore designated trails that wind by lakes, streams, stone walls, and granite outcroppings. The two designated snowshoe trails are the Ojigwan, for beginners and intermediate folks.
If you’re looking for a challenge, though, the Appalachian Way trail is the most difficult, and you’ll need to brush up on your map-reading skills, as well as have the strength and stamina to maneuver your way through hard-packed ice and snow up and down hills.
There’s a warming lodge available to rest your weary legs and enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate by the fire. If you need equipment, there are rentals available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
If snowshoeing isn’t your thing, Fahnestock also features other winter activities like downhill skiing, sledding, and cross-country skiing. It’s easy to get to by car, but you can also take the Metro-North Trains up to Putnum County.
2. Cross-Country Skiing at Minnewaska State Park Preserve
If cross-country skiing is your thing, and you’re looking for something off the beaten path, Minnewaska State Park Preserve offers a variety of ungroomed trails for you to explore.
You should note that Minnewaska isn’t your typical state park – it’s a preserve – and doesn’t necessarily have all the amenities that you might find in a traditional skiing spot, like a warming lodge. But if you have your equipment and are looking for a challenge, this is the place to go!
Get your ski legs in order in the practice area, and start by taking a nice ride on the Beacon Hill trail, which features a gentle downhill most of the way, but has a steeper section. Once you’re getting the hang of it, pop over to the Upper Awosting out-and-back trail for 6 miles and 330 vertical feet of uphill again, where you’ll pass the Litchfield Ledge cliff with its ice flows.
For more advanced cross-country skiers, go out on the Upper Awosting Carriageway and come back on the Castle Point Carriageway. You should note there are a few places on this route that go very near to the edge of a cliff, or directly next to a protruding rock.
Make sure you’re confident . in your abilities and that you stay alert and in control if you take these on.
As part of the Shawangunk Trails — South, Minnewaska State Park Preserve offers beautiful vistas, some ungroomed trails, and the solitude of a winter wonderland just two-hours outside of Manhattan.
3. Hit the Slopes at Windham Mountain
With the Catskills just over two hours from metro NYC, Windham Mountain should be one of your outdoor destinations this winter! With 54 trails for a total of 285 skiable acres, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
Plus, they’ve recently installed RFID readers for the lift, so that you can get through the line faster, and a high-speed, six-passenger Doppelmayr chairlift will get you up the mountain quicker, so you can get more downhills in at every visit.
If you’ve always wanted to try out extreme sport tricks, Windham Mountain also has six terrain parks in a secure setting so you can practice your freestyling safely.
They also have a SkyTechSport Simulator, which uses cutting edge technology to make you feel like you’re skiing. Take on Olympic or World Cup Courses, or try your hand at the 100 turn challenge!
After you’ve had your fill on the slopes, sit back and relax in their world-class Base Area and have a drink at the Umbrella Bar before heading back to the city.
If you’re driving, it’s only 2 hours from the city, but you also have the option of booking a day trip with Urban Sherpa, which includes roundtrip transportation from both Times Square and Union Square, plus a lift ticket.
4. Ice Climb in the Catskills
Just 100 miles north of New York City, you’ll find an incredible ice climbing destination with over six different areas and featuring 25 different crags for a total of 600 climbs. Alpine Endeavors offers full-day private ice climbing with a certified guide for groups up to 4 in the Catskills Park.
If you’re dying to scale Denali or Mount Rainer, the professional guides are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association. They can train you and help you learn new skills so you can ice climb with confidence!
Alpine Endeavors provides all technical equipment including helmet, harness, boots rope and ice tools, so you’ll need to bring your gear and lunch for a full day of climbing!
In addition to ice climbing in the Catskills, Alpine Endeavors runs a variety of trips, including Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
They also provide training courses to become a certified guide, wilderness first-aid and CPR, and navigation skills, as well as a variety of technical skills classes so you can brush up on your techniques!
Alpine Endeavors is easily accessible just outside New York City by car, or you can take the bus to New Paltz and walk one block to Rock and Snow.
5. Learn to Snowkite on Long Island
If you’ve ever tried to kiteboard or wanted to learn, snowkiting is a great way to get some technique under your belt. Located just a 65-minute train ride from the city in Amityville, NY Kite Center operates lessons for the beginner snow kiter or those wanting to improve their skills.
Unlike regular kiteboarding, snowkiting is a lot easier to learn because you need less wind and can use any wide open, snow-covered area to do it. The folks at NY Kite Center will provide you with all the equipment you need.
You don’t need to bring your skis or snowboard, but it is cheaper if you do! Learn the skills, techniques, and you’ll be flying through the air in no time!
Soar over snow-covered beaches once, and you might give up downhills forever since you can get your thrills anywhere there’s open space and a little bit of wind!
Just because the temperatures have dipped and the days are shorter doesn’t mean that you need to wait until spring to get your outdoor fix. From skiing to snowkiting, ice climbing to cross-country, winter weather can be one of the best times to try out some of these fantastic activities.
There’s a world of adventure waiting for you just outside the city. So grab your parka and your gear, and get out there before it melts away!
top image: Ian Westcott, Flickr, CC 2.0