Take a Winter Hike on One Of New York’s Best Trails
It's that time of the year where cabin fever sets in. It's been cold around here for a minute, and for the most part we have all been holed up in our living rooms for the last couple of months. But this week brought a couple of warmer days our way, which were perfect for taking a hike. Next time the weather is right, and you are looking to get out and about, be sure to check out the best trail in New York State, that just so happens to be right in our back yard.
If you have lived in Western New York for any amount of time, you are already well aware that if you are into outdoor activities, there are tons of options for you. But what you may not know, is that the best hiking option in the state of New York is located in just minutes from downtown Buffalo.
Devil’s Hole State Park, located on the banks of the Lower Niagara River, was named the best hike in New York State. Country Living magazine ranked the best hike in all 50 states, and Devil’s Hole got the nod for the state of New York.
Now, I have been to Devil’s Hole numerous times, as it’s a short 15-minute drive from my house, and let me tell you, it truly is amazing. If you want to go the easy route, you can take in the length of the trail from Devil’s Hole to Whirlpool State Park along the upper rim. The trail is fairly flat, 6.2 miles from end to end, and offers dynamic views of the river and power vista below.
If you are up for more of a challenge, take the stairs at either end of the trail down to the river’s edge. This trail is 1.25 miles long and gets you within feet of the class 5 rapids, and the Jet Boats that go by during the summer months. Personally, I recommend going down the stairs closer to the whirlpool and coming up on the side by the power vista. If you’re not used to some form of moderate exercise, the stairs will prove to be a challenge. My brother said to me when we were halfway up the stairs to get back to the upper rim, “Why did you bring me here?!?!” I don’t think he moved off my couch for two days.
There is one more option, which is the most difficult trail in the park, but worth it in the end. At the bottom of the stairs closest to the whirlpool, take a left on to trail #5, The Whirlpool Trail. This one is a one-way trail, that is 1.3 miles long, and is very rocky, with narrow sections, and can prove to be a challenge. But the payoff is awesome, as it puts you at sea level with the might Niagara River’s whirlpool.
Some things that you should know before you go thanks to Parks.NY.gov
“Whirlpool Stairs are closed through June 2022 as they are being reconstructed. There is a detour, which will take hikers out to Trail 1 and back, around a small section of the rim trail at the head of the stars. The lower trail remains open and accessible via the Devil's Hole Trail “
“A maximum of two pets are allowed in day-use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive. Pets are to be supervised at all times and either be crated or on a leash not more than 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff. Pets are not permitted in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools, and spray-grounds or guarded beaches (this does not apply to service animals).
Like I said earlier, I have gone to Devil's Hole countless times, and keep going back. If you haven't checked it out, put it on your list of places to go. Check out some of my amazing pictures below.