Adirondack Mountains High Peaks Region
Leave Mt. Marcy to the crowds by opting for a multiday loop that starts at Johns Brook Lodge, then ambles along photogenic Johns Brook via the Phelps Trail. When you hit the Range Trail headed toward Haystack Mountain, get ready for a rugged, butt-busting circuit of six (eight if you're ambitious) 4,000-foot peaks, complete with sharp ledges, plenty of exposure, and classic Adirondack views to Vermont, Canada, and the Catskill Mountains.
Contact: Adirondack Mountain Club, (800) 395-8080; http://www.adk.org.
If you crave ups and downs, hike the Long Path from Woodland Valley to Peekamoose Road. Five of the 15 highest peaks in the Catskills will test your stamina and your appetite for killer views. There's something for every taste, starting with Wittenberg Mountain's rock ledges and finishing with massive blowdowns on Peekamoose Mountain, with plenty of cool, quiet forest in between.
Contact: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, (914) 256-3000; http://www.dec.state.ny.us.
Harriman State Park
Harriman's open, rolling trails are ideal for family excursions, especially when autumn frosts highlight the spectacularly colorful hardwoods and scare away the city folk. Inveterate trail hounds can sample the park's craggy hollows, windswept highlands, placid lakes, and a spectacular Hudson River overlook on the 20-plus mile Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail any time of year.
Contact: Palisades Interstate Park Commission, (845) 786-2701;