Sunday, December 31, 2023

Champlain Area Trails Invites All to Start 2024 with A Hike

A young hiker stands by a trail marker

Champlain Valley, New York – Champlain Area Trails (CATS), an accredited land trust, is inviting everyone in the North Country to participate in the annual First Day Hikes on January 1, 2024. This event is a nationwide initiative to encourage people to exercise, connect with nature, and enjoy the outdoors on the first day of the year.


CATS will offer self-guided hikes on scenic trails in the Champlain Valley, including popular CATS trails like Cheney Mountain in Moriah, the Wildway Passage Nature Preserve in Westport, the Wildway Overlook Trail in Essex, the Long Pond Trail in Willsboro, Penfield Pond Trail in Crown Point, and other trails noted on CATS website’s events page.


Chris Maron, Executive Director of CATS, said, “First Day Hikes have become a wonderful tradition to start the New Year in an active, healthy way while enjoying the peace and beauty of nature. We invite people of all ages and abilities to pick a trail that suits them, gather friends and family, and make it an annual tradition to hike on January 1. We’re especially pleased that in our short history, we’ve made over 50 new trails here in the valley for people to enjoy.”


CATS is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to make trails, save land, and connect people with nature in New York’s Champlain Valley, all promoting economic vitality in the Champlain Valley. It has made over 78 miles of trails, protected 983 acres of land, and hosted hundreds of educational and volunteer events.


The First Day Hikes are free, self-guided, and open to hikers of all ability levels. Participants are encouraged to share photos from their hikes on social media using the hashtag #ChamplainAreaTrails.


Start off 2024 with a self-guided hike on one of the below trails in the Champlain Valley: 

Moriah: Cheney Mountain 

Westport: Wildway Passage

Essex: Wildway Overlook Trail

Willsboro: Long Pond Trail  

New Russia: Mt. Gilligan Trail  

Lewis: West Valley Trail 

Chesterfield: Poke-o-moonshine 

Crown Point: Penfield Pond  

Ticonderoga: Cook Mountain 

Peru: Little Ausable River Trail 

Saranac: New Land Trust  

Plattsburgh: Point Au Roche Trails 


Cold-weather hiking can be a lot of fun if you are well-prepared.  Here are some tips to help you enjoy your hike:

– Dress in layers to regulate your body temperature.

– Wear a hat to keep your head warm and prevent heat loss.

– Keep your water bottle warm to prevent it from freezing.

– Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s glare reflecting off the snow.

– Be aware of shorter daylight hours and always carry a headlamp or flashlight.

– Bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized.


For more information, and the list of First Day Hikes and trail maps, please visit the CATS website at


About Champlain Area Trails: Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is an accredited land trust founded in 2009 to make trails, protect land, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality in the Champlain Valley. CATS has created 78 miles of trails, protected 983 acres, and hosted hundreds of hikes, outdoor education outings, and volunteer events, attracting thousands of visitors to New York’s Champlain Valley.


Photo at top: A young hiker stands by a trail marker. Photo provided by Amber Adamson of CATS.




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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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