Not everyone envisions snowmobiling in the state of New York, but there are many good trails to explore when you get outside of the city. Upstate is well known for winter-related activities, and other regions are great too.
I’m Chaz, a snowmobile enthusiast who has been riding trails for nearly 30 years. I’ve never actually ridden in New York, but I have a few friends who live there, and I had the chance to pick their brains on some top snowmobile locations.
This article will take a look at the best snowmobile trails in New York, alongside some of the top regions where these trails are located in the state.
Get away from the Big Apple and into the great outdoors!
Table of Contents
1. Tug Hill Plateau
The Tug Hill Plateau area’s trails get some of the most snow in the state, making for a long riding season with plenty of places to venture into and explore. These trails are found on the west side of the Adirondack Mountains, with plenty of public lands to ride on.
There are a few snowmobile clubs here that do an excellent job maintaining hundreds of miles of groomed trails. You can find easy and open trails as well as options that venture more into the backcountry.
With so many trails to explore, it can be easy to get lost or overwhelmed, so having a good trail map is recommended. A good GPS unit will help you navigate as well.
This area can get really crowded on the weekends, so it’s best to visit during the weekdays if you can. Overcrowded trails can slow you down and lead to rutted-out conditions when there isn’t enough fresh snow.
2. Lake George/Thurman Trail System
Lake George is another great place to snowmobile in New York. There are numerous extensive trail networks here, and most of them are very well maintained by local clubs.
The trails here run right through many of the towns, which means you can ride to grab a bite to eat or a drink after a long day in the snow. Or you can eat a big breakfast before venturing out in the forests and mountains that are found just outside.
The Thurman Trail System provides access to hundreds of miles of groomed trails and is highly recommended. You can cover a lot of ground on this network and see a wide variety of terrain, which are all easily accessible.
Prospect Mountain is another destination to visit and can either be the start or end of your trail riding day in Lake George.
3. Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is a smaller network of trails, but the scenery is unreal, and you can run laps here all day long. There are more than 25 miles of trails found throughout the park, with the longest being the 17-mile C3 trail.
The main park road transforms into another snowmobile trail. It’s not visited by many people other than snowmobilers during the winter, making for a serene and unique experience.
You’ll want to make sure to stop to take a photo or nice lunch break at one of the park gorge overlooks – some people call this the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The forests you ride through are old and wise as well.
Insurance and registration are required to ride on public lands in New York, so be sure to have proper documentation with you. You also need to offload and park in designated areas within the park.
Speculator is another area of the Empire State with a large network of trails you can access from town. This is the area where one of my friends grew up riding, and he highly recommends visiting here to any snowmobiler.
The region sits within the Hamilton Country trail system, which is extensive and one of the state’s largest. There around 600 miles of trails here, some groomed and some more backcountry focused.
Trail S78B is a local recommendation that will give you good mountain views and a decent climb up to an overlook. It’s a double-track trail that is easy to access and good for any ability level.
Regardless of what trail you choose around Speculator, you can find lots of frozen lakes, open forests, and mountain overlooks. It’s a great place to explore and a gem for snowmobilers to take advantage of.
5. Old Forge
Old Forge is close to Tug Hill, which means you can expect plenty of snow all winter long thanks to the lake effect that provides consistent moisture. This is a good spot to bring the whole family or a large group of riders.
There are around 500 miles of trails surrounding Old Forge, with groomed and more off-trail options. Many of them are easily accessible, and the towns nearby let you ride on the main streets during the winter.
This makes it another location where you can roll up to dinner or your hotel from your snowmobile. If you want to spend an entire vacation only traveling by snowmobile, this is a great spot to do it.
There are nearly 10,000 miles of trails within the entire New York State Snowmobile Trail System. The five areas mentioned here barely scratch the surface of this extensive network. If you live here, get out there and find your trail!
Here’s a link to an interactive map of all of the trails in New York.
Have you ever ridden a snowmobile in New York? What region or trail did you visit? Let us know in the comments below.About Chaz Wyland