Map of New York State's Parks and Protected Areas
This interactive map shows the Locations, Names, Areas, and Details of National Parks, State Parks, National Forests, Tribal, and other Public Lands of New York. It also shows major cities and rivers for context. For more detail, zoom in. For more information, hover over the map, or scroll down.
|Lake or River
|National Park Service
|U.S. Forest Service
|Fish and Wildlife Service
|Bureau of Land Management
|Department of Defense
|U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New York's Geography
Along the eastern border of New York are the New England states Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The Atlantic Ocean and New Jersey lie to the southeast. On the southern border lies Pennsylvania.
From Long Island's Atlantic shores and Manhattan's skyscrapers, through the mountains, lakes, and rivers of upstate New York to the plains in the Great Lakes region, we can see the state is full of contrast.
During a portion of the last Ice Age, most New York was covered by glaciers, with the exceptions of Staten Island, southern Long Island, and the southwestern corner of the state.
The moving ice sheets rounded the Adirondack Mountains. They dug out many deep valleys and created the Hudson River. They also left behind the drumlins or deposits visible on New York's Finger Lakes when they receded. You can see them on the map above.
New York has around 8,000 lakes and 9 major river systems, including the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, which played essential roles in the state's history.
Other major rivers include the Mohawk and Genesse. New York's major lakes include Erie, Champlain, Ontario, and Geroge.
The East River connects Long Island to New York Bay, separating Manhattan and Long Island.
The eastern portion of New York is dominated by the Great Appalachian Valley, while the northern part includes Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. The western portion of the valley consists of the Adirondack Mountains.
The Adirondack Region, located on the northern side of the state, contains some of the oldest rocks in the country. Some of them are about 1 billion years old! Source: http://www.nygeo.org/index.htm.
New York features two major shorelines, around 130 miles (210 km) bordering the Atlantic Ocean and about 370 miles (600 km) on Lake Erie and Ontario. Then, there's the western shore of Lake Champlain that stretches along the northeast corner of the state.
New York's Climate
There are considerable differences in climate between New York City and upstate New York. Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester will experience different temperature ranges and environments in general.
In New York City, average July temperatures can range from 77℉ (25℃) to 64℉ (18℃) at Indian Lake in the Adirondacks. January averages between 33℉ (0.5℃) on Long Island to 14℉ (-10℃) at the reservoir in the Adirondacks.
The Catskills receive the most precipitation, ranging from 32 to 45 inches (810 to 1,150 mm) a year. While the Erie-Ontario Lowlands get the least amount of rainfall.
New York's Wildlife
Over three-fifths of the state is comprised of forested woodland. Over 150 types of trees, including the yellow poplar and sweet gum, call New York home.
Northern hardwoods like sugar maples, beeches, ash, basswood, and cherry are found throughout the state. White pine and hemlock are a couple of the state's conifer trees.
Deer mice, snowshoe hares, eastern cottontails, woodchucks, muskrats, raccoons, and gray squirrels are some of the small mammals native to New York.
The state is a host to countless migratory birds. Eastern meadowlarks, cardinals, cedar waxwings, bluejays, red-tailed hawks, mallard ducks, owls, and ruffed grouses are some of the incredible birds in the area.
Best Natural Parks of New York
Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River is the red strip on New York's southern border. The Delaware Scenic and Recreational Rivers are shared by New York and Pennsylvania.
The Delaware River provides excellent fishing opportunities. Many anglers agree that it's one of the best rivers to fish in the northeastern U.S.
Kayak, float, canoe, or swim in the cool water. Hiking, biking, and boating are other popular activities in this recreational area.
Unfortunately, it's a day-use park, so there aren't any lodging or camping accommodations. However, there are numerous privately owned facilities near the park.
The river valley has hardwood forests, low levels of pollution, and a great variety of plants and animals that make this park a special place for visitors.
Architecture and history fans enjoy visiting the oldest existing wire suspension bridge in the U.S., the Roebling Bridge or Delaware Aqueduct. Roebling Bridge was completed in 1848. It sits 535 feet above the Delaware River; Upper Delaware.
Fire Island National Seashore
This National Seashore is the red strip south of Long Island.
Visitors will find an incredible mix of history and coastal life. The park is exciting and relaxing all at the same time.
The park has beautiful high dunes, historical landmarks, wildlife, and ancient maritime forests provide the setting.
Fire Island has been a place of diverse plants and animals. It has also been home to humans for thousands of years.
The island beaches provide solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the average city life.
Visitors enjoy the typical outdoor recreational activities like hiking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, and wildlife observation.
Sailors Haven/Sunken Forest, Watch Hill, William Floyd Estate, Talisman, and Wilderness are NPS sites located on the barrier island and are absolute gems worth checking out while you're in the area; Fire Island.
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is the lime strip south of Rochester.
This is the "Grand Canyon of the East", one of the most scenic areas in the eastern part of the United States.
The Genesee River flows through the gorge and over three major waterfalls. Some cliffs are as high as 600 feet (182 meters).
Visitors love the nature and history of the area. Hikers have over 60 miles of trails to explore. The multi-use trails are available for biking and horseback riding.
Performing arts programs, summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, guided walks, tours, kayaking, and a swimming pool are some of the amenities offered. There is even the chance to fly in a hot air balloon.
If you think the fun stops when winter hits, think again. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snow tubing are among some popular winter activities at the park; Letchworth.
Finger Lakes National Forest
This national forest is the green area west of Ithaca. It is on a ridge between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, and it covers over 16,000 acres.
This is New York's only National Forest.
Hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and other outdoor activity occur at the park. Finger Lakes has over 30 miles of interconnecting trails to explore forests, shrublands, gorges, and grasslands.
The 12-mile Interloken Trail is a part of the Finger Lakes Trail Association. The tracks are multi-use for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing.
Five acres of the forest are managed for growing blueberries for picking. Apples, raspberries, and other fruits grow abundantly throughout the forest.
Some animals visible in the forest include grasshopper sparrow, yellow warbler, wild turkey, deer, bobcats, beavers, and red foxes; Finger Lakes.
Throughout the Finger Lakes National Forest, backcountry camping is free. The park also features three developed campgrounds, but there is a fee for those.
Blueberry Patch Campground is for tents or self-contained RVs; Potomac Group Campground accommodates groups of 10 to 40 people. Backbone Horse Campgrounds are for horseback riders with their horses.
Saratoga National Historical Park
Saratoga is the red speck in eastern N.Y.
This is where the American War for Independence took place in 1777 and where American troops defeated the British invasion.
It was the first time in history that a British Army surrendered. Nearly a third of all battles during the American Revolution took place in the state of New York.
Take a bicycle tour of this historical park, climb the Saratoga Monument, explore Victory Woods, and hike the Wilson Trail during your visit. The opportunity for outdoor activity is abundant.
Saratoga National Historical Park is a day-use-only space, so there are no lodging or dining facilities. However, the museum carries bottled water and some small snacks. Saratoga is rich with history, and it's clear once you visit; Saratoga.
Gateway National Recreation Area
Gateway's recreation area is the red area on western Long Island. It stretches 27,000 acres from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to Breezy Point in New York City.
The park's outdoor activities include biking, hiking, boating, fishing, camping, swimming, and opportunities for outdoor sporting activities. There is even an archery range in Floyd Bennet Field, but you have to bring your own equipment and gear.
Gateway offers guided tours, but they will vary depending on which side of the park you're in. The park is shared by two states, but there are exciting things to see and do on both sides; Gateway.
Niagara Falls State Park
Niagra Falls is the lime speck in western N.Y. Niagra Falls is one of the most prominent and visited falls in the states. It's one of the major scenic attractions visited each year.
The Niagara River forms the waterfalls, which drain Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. They have a vertical drop that can reach 160ft (50m). The larger Horseshoe Falls is about 2,590 ft (790m) wide, while the American Falls is 1,050 ft (320m) wide.
The park is open every day for visitors to admire the breathtaking scenery. It features exciting attractions, interactive exhibits, miles of trails for hiking, and delicious dining options.
Some of the attractions include the Cave of the Winds, which includes an immersive media exhibit. Maid of the Mist Tours is a boat journey that you cannot miss. There is also the observation tower, a 230-foot overlook where you can view the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
The Niagra Falls Aquarium isn't far from the state park. According to the Niagra Falls State Park site, the Niagra Falls Illumination provides an incredible view of the falls at night using hundreds of colorful LED lights; Niagara Falls.
Robert Treman State Park
Robert Treman is the lime speck next to Ithaca.
Enfield Glen gorge is the highlight of Robert Treman State Park. The twisting trails follow the rocky gorge and cross 12 waterfalls, including Lucifer Falls.
Hikers can see a mile-and-a-half down into the wooded gorge as it meanders down to the lower section of the park. There are also nine miles of trails to explore.
The park offers tent and RV camping, as well as rental cabins. On hot summer days, swimming in the stream-fed pools beneath a waterfall is a blessing. However, swimming is only permitted in areas with lifeguards; Robert Treman.
Chimney Bluffs State Park
Chimney Bluffs is a lime speck west of Rochester on Lake Ontario.
Chimney Bluffs State Park, where the land and water collide. Come to the park to explore the massive earthen spires. Day-use services include nature trails, restrooms, and picnic pavilion areas.
Hunting and fishing are permitted in designated areas for those with the proper licenses and registrations.
Cold-weather fans come out to ride snowmobiles or go cross-country skiing during the winter; Chimney Bluffs.
Buttermilk Falls State Park
Buttermilk Falls is a green Speck next to Ithaca.
The park gets its name from the foaming cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek. The creek flows down the vertical valley-side toward Cayuga Lake.
The upper portion of Buttermilk Falls State Park features a small lake, picnic areas, playing fields, and various hiking trails.
The lower section of the park features a campground, playing fields, and a natural pool.
Beyond that space, visitors will find Larch Meadows, a wetland area where a nature trail winds through; Buttermil Falls.
Bear Mountain State Park
This park is the lime speck north of N.Y. city.
Bear Mountain State Park is nestled in the rocky mountains on the western bank of the Hudson River.
Bear Mountain features a large playing field, shady picnic groves, a swimming pool, and the Trailside Museums and Zoo. The river and lake are excellent for fishing.
The park has an outdoor ice skating rink from late October through March. Head to the top of Bear Mountian to explore the Perkins Memorial Tower.
Kids and adults love the Merry-Go-Round that features hand-painted scenes of the park and 42 hand-carved seats of animals native to the area; Bear Mountain.
Point au Roche State Park
Point au Roche is the lime speck in New York's northeastern corner, situated on the northwestern shore of Lake Champlain.
Visitors come for a mix of open and forested areas, plus the protected sandy beach and picnic spaces.
Boating, fishing, volleyball, and softball are some park visitors' favorites. Point au Roche features 60 designated mooring sites in the Deep Bay.
The park's Nature Center includes a variety of programs all year.
Nature, hiking, and biking trails wind through various habitats from the forest to the marshes and the shoreline; Point au Roche.
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Rockefeller State Park is the lime speck north of N.Y. city.
Rockefeller Park offers peaceful countryside walks of various lengths through hills and valleys.
The trails within the Preserve are crushed stone carriage roads laid out by John D. Rockefeller Sr. and his son during the early 20th century.
The 45 miles of trails are excellent for hiking, walking, jogging, and carriage riding. Combinations of the tracks lead through various landscapes and past natural and historical features, including Swan Lake and the Pocantico River.
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If you plan to visit one of these wooded parks or hike New York's trails, I suggest you get some of these items found on Amazon.
- Snowshoes: Ideal for walking comfortably through Maine's snowy trails. They have padded ratchet binding, heel lift, toe box, adjustable pivot bar, and durable back strap. They come with a set of trekking poles and a carrying bag available in different colors.
- Padded Camping Charis: Perfect for cold and temperate parks. This round chair has a cup holder and a carry-on bag.
- Sleeping Bag: Made for cold and windy nights. Portable, light, and fits two.
Resources for New York's Protected Areas Map
The shapefiles with New York's state boundary lines, lakes, major rivers, and cities were downloaded from Natural Earth Data.
The Parks and Public Lands shapefiles for New York were downloaded from USGS.
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