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Go Snowmobiling on Ten thousand Miles of New York Trails

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2022-01-31 21:12:00

 Winter in Upstate New York may be cold, but with the plunging temperatures comes an opportunity you can’t find any other time of year—the chance to explore the state on a snowmobile. New York State is home to its own statewide snowmobile trail system, which links more than 10,000 miles of trails crisscrossing the state from one end to the other, so wherever you’re located, you aren’t too far from the chance to hop aboard a sled and go exploring

It’s impossible to talk about snowmobiling trails in Upstate New York without acknowledging the best-known spots: the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau. The Adirondacks are a beloved winter destination for people from all over New York and beyond, especially the central Adirondack town of Old Forge, which is nicknamed the snowmobile capital of the Northeast—at title it has definitely earned. Old Forge gets roughly 14 feet of snowfall per season on average, and the local trails are well-maintained, with dedicated groomers that keep up the trails in top shape (as long as Mother Nature cooperates). With trails that cross lakes and scale mountains, the views are hard to beat, and the towns of Old Forge and nearby Inlet are filled with places to eat, drink and be merry after being out in the cold all day, plus lots of options for lodging, so you can make the trip as long as you please.

The Tug Hill Plateau, located north of the Central New York region and east of Lake Ontario, is one of the snowiest places in the country. Because of its proximity to Lake Ontario, the Tug Hill area sees even more lake effect snow than Old Forge does, and is just as popular a destination for snowmobile enthusiasts as its Adirondack neighbor. With a mixture of rolling farmlands and wooded areas, Tug Hill is more spread out than Old Forge, but also has dedicated trail groomers and plenty of places to stop for food and drinks, as well as lodging for overnight trips.

What you may not know is that while the Adirondacks and Tug Hill get a lot of press for their excellent snowmobiling conditions, they are far from the only spots throughout the state to fire up the sled. In fact, much of New York State’s official 10,500-mile Statewide Snowmobile System can be found outside of those two areas. From the Catskills and Hudson Valley to the Capital Region, Central New York, Western New York, the Finger Lakes, the Thousand Islands and down to the Chautauqua-Allegany region, there is no shortage of snowmobiling opportunity to choose from, regardless or where you are located or where you want to plan a trip to.

Snowmobile trails can be found at many of the 180 state parks overseen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, as well as on lots of public forest and DEC land and areas along the Erie Canal that are overseen by the New York State Canal Corporation; and there are many private land owners that allow snowmobiling on their property as well (of course, be sure to double check that that’s the case if you plan to visit private property!), and trails are maintained by snowmobile clubs and municipalities throughout the state.

Maps of the official snowmobile system are available through the New York State Snowmobile Association,  which also offers a host of resources, safety tips, and other handy and important information. Also, before heading out, make sure to familiarize yourself with New York State’s regulations on snowmobiling and make sure you are prepared with important trail condition updates and ready to ride safely. Then it’s just a matter of deciding where to go first!


View from snowmobile seat photo credit David Kosmayer
Snowmobiles photo credit Timo Newton Syms
Snowmobiles at sunset photo credit Susie Reilly Russo
Two snowmobiles parked photo credit Jamie Chapeton

posted at: 2022-01-31 21:12:00, last updated: 2022-02-01 07:07:37

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