Trip Info & Fees
Become a Member
Reserve for a Trip
Hiking Near NYC
Cross Country Skiing
Why Join a Hiking Club?
Books by Charlie Cook
CONTACT US BY PHONE
Wild Earth Adventures
P.O. Box 88
Suffern, NY 10901
11/1 (Sat) BLACK ROCK CLIFFS & PONDS - Black Rock Forest (New York). MODERATE HIKE
11/2 (Sun) LAKE MINNEWASKA - Minnewaska State Park (New York). EASY HIKE
11/8 (Sat) HIDDEN LAKE - Fahnestock State Park (New York). EASY HIKE
11/9 (Sun) HUBBARD-PERKINS CONSERVATION AREA - Fahnestock State Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE
11/15 (Sat) HOUSATONIC RAPIDS (Connecticut). EASY-MODERATE HIKE
11/16 (Sun) BREAKNECK RIDGE / SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN - Hudson Highlands State Park (New York). MODERATE-STRENUOUS HIKE
11/22 (Sat) MYSTERY POINT PRESERVE (New York). EASY HIKE
11/23 (Sun) SUNFISH POND - Worthington State Forest (New Jersey). MODERATE HIKE
11/30 (Sun) TERRACE POND - Wawayanda State Park (New Jersey). EASY-MODERATE HIKE
Complete Trip Schedule
Our thanks to the members who have graciously allowed us to display their beautiful trip photographs on these pages:
Denise Karin Johnsson
Luiz A. Perez
Welcome to Wild Earth Adventures!
We offer guided hiking and walking trips year-round -- as well as
wilderness camping, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing
trips -- visiting some of the wildest and most beautiful parks and
natural areas in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other
northeastern states. Along with hiking near NYC and visiting many
easily-accessible locations, and hiking frequently on famous trails
like the Appalachian Trail, our huge repertory of locations and often
unique hiking trip itineraries include a number of little-known areas
that are well-off-the-beaten-path. On our hikes, walks, and other
excursions we explore many of the region’s most spectacular mountain
ranges, enjoying (and letting ourselves be inspired by) lovely scenery
that includes splendid mountain vistas, pristine lakes, rushing
streams, wild rivers, and roaring waterfalls.
On most Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year we offer one-day hiking trips -- in NY, NJ, CT, PA and MA. Day hikes make up the vast majority of the approximately 90 trips we offer each year, and they range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Along with day trips, from May through October our schedule also features wilderness camping and backpacking trips, from 3 to 8 days, an average of once a month -- peaceful and memorable wilderness vacations (with a good measure of adventure available as well) that include extensive hiking options -- and which take us to some truly spectacular wilderness areas in New York (and some years, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine). Plus we offer one-day cross country skiing and snowshoeing trips during the winter months when there’s enough snow for these activities.
Wild Earth Adventures is not only a business but also a long-standing (34-year-old) hiking club, currently with around 300 members, many of whom join us regularly (and enthusiastically) -- as often as weekly or biweekly -- on our day hikes and in other activities including backpacking, wilderness camping, and cross country skiing. We get a great (congenial, fun & interesting) group of people on the trips, both members and non-members. While you don’t have to be a member to participate, fees are lower and additional discounts are available to members. For more about memberships and fees, and how to join our hiking club and group, go to “Become a Member” and “Trip Information.”
Transportation from NYC is available on all of our outings for those who live in the New York City metropolitan area or who choose to meet us in NYC. Participants who live elsewhere -- and our trips attract substantial numbers of people from upstate New York, northern New Jersey, western & central Connecticut, eastern Pennsylvania, and other nearby states -- drive directly and meet us at our destinations. (We were headquartered in New York City until 1990, and since then have been been located in Rockland County and Putnam County. We're currently based in Suffern, New York, about 30 miles northwest of NYC). Beginners are welcome on the trips, as are experienced hikers and other outdoor/nature-enthusiasts, including wilderness campers, backpackers, cross country skiers, and snowshoers. Instruction and additional assistance are always available for those who need it.
Our founder and director is Charles Cook -- a New York
State Licensed Guide, the author of five popular
outdoor books, and a well-known New York hiking and
wilderness expert who has led more than 2000 trips
over the years and hiked an estimated 60,000+ miles
(back in the 1970s he was one of the first 100 people
to hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail end-to-end
from Georgia to Maine in a single trip). Our trips have been praised in New York magazine, the
NY Daily News, and USA Today, and one of our trips
was the subject of an article in the New York
Times Magazine (2/4/07). 2014 is our 34th year!
If you’re interested in hiking near
NYC or elsewhere in New York and nearby states (whether you live in
New York City, New York’s Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or elsewhere), and want to explore some
of the region’s most scenic natural areas, under the
expert guidance of “hiking guru” Charlie Cook -- and
share a memorable time with a diverse, interesting,
and often delightful group of people (who comprise the
membership of our hiking club, and from whom we
receive a steady stream of gratifyingly positive
feedback) -- consider joining and reserving for some
trips today. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you
have any questions about our hiking trips and other
outings, or about memberships and how to join, or to
get on our e-mail list to receive regular trip
Updates. Many thanks, and we hope to see you soon!
Please email us with your questions or telephone us at (845)357-3380.
The days are slowly but perceptibly shortening once again, spells of hot and humid weather are becoming increasingly unlikely as we wend our way into autumn, and summer's superabundant sunshine will become a somewhat scarcer commodity during the coming months. But along with later sunrises, earlier sunsets, and cooler temperatures, those of us who love nature-based activities like hiking have other treats awaiting us -- not the least of which is fall foliage, which usually arrives to brilliantly transform the mountain forests of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other northeastern states in late September at higher elevations, continues throughout the month of October, and often extends into November in the lowlands.
Many of us have seasonal preferences. Some (but far from all of us, to be sure) revel in summer heat, and others (a minority around here) favor the snow-season. Complaints about temperatures and weather are part of the daily discourse for many people in this part of the country. But who has a problem with autumn? At no time of year are the forests more brightly colorful, rarely is the air crisper, cleaner, or more delicious, and never are conditions for hiking more invigorating, exhilarating, and euphoric. For some of us, fall is also a time to begin new projects, start new classes, explore new directions, and fill up our calendars with social and cultural events. But don't let this season slip by without savoring autumn's glories in the wild!
Wild Earth Adventures was founded by Charlie Cook on
July 10, 1980, and we’ve been offering hiking and
walking trips, wilderness camping trips, backpacking
trips, cross country ski trips, and other guided trips
and tours almost continuously ever since. A sizable
number of our members as well as non-members join us
regularly on outings, but we also hear from many
others who say they wish they could find more time for
outdoor activities and enjoying nature in general --
which isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish when
you’re leading a busy life. How are your priorities
lining up these days? Can you imagine how devoting
more of your weekends to exploring
the splendid mountain scenery of the Northeast might
enrich your life? You'll find much more about our
hikes and other trips here.
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Why join a hiking club?
Hiking and wilderness activities clubs provide a great way to connect with others who enjoy hiking and communing with nature (or who are interested in getting involved in hiking for the first time). Most hiking clubs offer a schedule of guided hikes in a variety of natural locations on trails that you might not always find on your own. Granted there’s a breed of experienced hiker who is independent-minded and adventurous, who enjoys discovering and exploring natural areas alone or with a friend. But hiking clubs meet the needs of many of us who have limited free time and may not be inclined to venture out by ourselves (because of safety considerations, and/or a preference for sharing with others the pleasures and fun of a nature-based activity like hiking).
Hiking clubs, hiking groups, and other outdoor organizations are
widespread in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other northeastern
states (and the rest of the country). Since opportunities for hiking
near NYC are so extensive, the New York City metropolitan area alone
is home to dozens of hiking clubs. Some are small and don’t have
websites or advertise, and quite a few cater to or are associated with
particular groups (some clubs in NYC, upstate NY, NJ & CT are
affiliated with colleges, religious institutions, or ethnic
organizations). But the majority of hiking clubs welcome anyone who
wants to join and participate.
Most hiking clubs are run by volunteers, and their hikes are guided by volunteers. Some clubs and hiking groups are extremely casual and loosely-run, while others are well-organized and offer an extensive hike schedule. Wild Earth Adventures is different in a number of ways from other hiking clubs, outdoor organizations, and outdoor businesses (you can read much more about us on this website) -- including the fact that all of our huge repertory of hikes and wilderness trips are led by a single person, well-known hiking and wilderness author/expert/guide Charlie Cook.
However you found your way to our website, chances are you’re someone
who loves hiking or who would like to become a hiker, and you’re
probably looking for others to share it with. In our busy world it
isn’t always easy to find friends or companions to hike with. If you
become a member of Wild Earth Adventures you’ll be joining what people
frequently tell us is one of the best and most interesting hiking
clubs in this part of the country, with an endless array of hikes to
choose from on weekends year-round, and hundreds of fellow-members to
meet and share memorable times with -- hiking near NYC and throughout
the most scenic natural areas of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut,
and other northeastern states.
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Walking and Hiking
Beginners sometimes ask about the difference between
hiking and walking.
Hiking IS walking, of course. But it couldn’t be more
different from the everyday walking many of us do on
sidewalks or city streets, or in shopping malls, or
even along country roads.
As we use it around here, the word "hiking" usually
refers to walking at length in the natural world, far
from the noise, buildings, highways, and other signs
of civilization -- totally immersed in the beautiful
and unspoiled world of wild nature.
The hiking we do usually takes place on "unimproved"
trails that often lead over rough ground. Hiking
trails are frequently rocky and include exposed tree
roots. Walking on such trails requires a degree of
fitness and reasonably good balance (active people
usually have no problem with this).
Easy, soft-dirt hiking trails exist as well, and here
in the mountainous northeastern U.S. they’re mainly
found in valleys and low-elevation areas. We follow
such trails on many of our easy hikes. But in local
mountain ranges the majority of hiking trails are at
least intermittently rough and rocky.
While a hike can be short, most hiking, by definition,
involves walking a minimum of a few miles. On our easy
hikes, for example, the typical distance we walk
during the day is 5-6 hilly miles. On our strenuous
hikes, at the other extreme, we hike as much as 12-14
miles -- which often includes steep climbs, major
elevation changes, and especially rugged trails.
Almost anyone who enjoys walking is a good candidate
for hiking. If you know someone who says they don’t
like hiking, chances are they don’t like walking much
either. Or they may have had a bad experience, perhaps
being dragged too many miles by friends (anything can
be spoiled by overdoing it). Or they may be allowing
fears to color their choices (some people have been
falsely led to believe, in part by our media and the
movies, that the woods are full of dangers -- whereas
experienced hikers know that civilization is a riskier
The human body couldn’t be better designed for walking
or hiking, and this kind of physical activity couldn’t
come more naturally to us. Most people find hiking or
walking in nature to be a thoroughly pleasurable,
fulfilling, and even exhilarating experience, one
that’s capable of leaving us with a feeling of
contentment and well-being that can last for days.
If you’ve never hiked or spent much time walking in
the woods, foregoing the flatness of sidewalks for the
bumpiness of mountain trails may require a bit of
adjusting. But the rewards come quickly: you’re soon
immersed in wild and gorgeous mountain scenery of the
sort you’ll never see from a sidewalk. As long as
you’re sufficiently fit for the level of
walking/hiking you’ll be doing, and don’t mind being
stretched a little, and are up for a taste of
adventure, it’s hard for you to go wrong.
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Hiking trips can last as little as a few hours, or as
long as you want or can imagine -- days, weeks, or
(for the most adventurous among us) even months.
Limits are likely to be imposed by your level of
fitness, ambition, resources, and how much free time
you have available.
For some people, a hiking trip or hiking tour is an
outing with a maximum timespan of a day -- to be
followed by a relaxing evening at home. Millions of
hikers limit themselves to day hikes: one-day hiking
trips or hiking tours. And there’s no reason why "a
day in the wild" can’t define the extent of your
It’s also very possible, while sticking to day hikes,
to go hiking regularly and often. Some avid hikers hit
the trails as frequently as once or twice (or more)
For others, longer hiking trips or extended hiking
tours beckon. More than a few enthusiasts find that at
some point, a single day no longer suffices. The idea
of multiple days of hiking, camping, and wilderness
exploration becomes irresistible.
Overnight hiking trips that involve carrying
everything in a full-size backpack so you’re
completely self-sufficient -- and camping out at
night, and typically hiking to other campsites along a
trail -- are usually called backpacking trips.
Overnight hiking trips that involve setting up a base
camp in a wilderness area -- from which you can take
day hikes -- are often called wilderness camping
And multi-day trips where hiking is your primary
activity during the day, but you’re not camping out --
but rather staying in cabins, at lodges, country inns,
bed and breakfasts, or other accommodations -- are commonly referred to as hiking vacations.
In a sense, though, ALL hiking trips are hiking
vacations -- since even a day hike is, in effect, a
mini-vacation from the fray of everyday life. And like
any vacation, a successful hiking trip is likely to
leave you feeling refreshed, restored, and renewed.
In the early years of Wild Earth Adventures (the
1980s) we regularly offered hiking vacations utilizing
indoor accommodations, but since that time we’ve
chosen to specialize in wilderness camping and
backpacking trips for our overnight offerings.
You’ll find our complete schedule of wilderness
camping and backpacking trips and day hikes here.
We’ll soon be adding a wilderness camping and
backpacking page with extensive details about what
such trips involve, including necessary gear.
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There are many winter pleasures available to those of us who love the outdoors, especially during times when there's snow on the ground. For more than a few of us, snowshoeing is a favorite way to have a wonderful time enjoying the winter woods, following beautiful snow-covered trails through hilly or mountainous terrain.
While it may not be as sexy as skiing (since it doesn't involve high-speed thrills), snowshoeing is safer and a terrific way to get a major workout, although it can also be done in easier, less intense ways. It's a tried-and-true (several-thousand-years-old) means of getting around in the snow on foot. And more than a little fun!
What are the benefits of snowshoeing? Aside from the exhilarating exercise, it gets us out into the fresh mountain air during a season when many of us spend far too much time indoors. Sagging winter spirits are likely to soar when we explore nature in snowshoes, whether in sunshine, on cloudy days, or when it's snowing.
Like hiking, snowshoeing totally immerses us in the natural world, an especially easy place to shed stress -- where it's peacefully quiet and there's endless beauty to inspire us around every bend of the snow-covered trails. Along with the splendid scenery of mountain forests, we sometimes see wildlife and winter bird-life.
Anyone who can hike is capable of snowshoeing -- there's little to learn. All you have to do is strap/buckle/snap your snowshoes onto your hiking boots and you're ready to go. The only requirement is substantial snow on the ground, preferably a foot or more, which does periodically accumulate in the local mountain areas.
Since snow can never be predicted well in advance, we don't put snowshoeing trips on our schedule until sufficient snow materializes. As you'll see on the Trip Schedule page, we schedule hikes every weekend during the winter months -- but when enough snow arrives, some hikes are replaced by snowshoeing trips.
Everyone who is on our e-mail list is kept informed of schedule changes, and receives a notice whenever one or more snowshoeing trips are scheduled (changes aren't always posted right away on the website). If you'd like to get on our list, send your e-mail address by clicking the "email us" link on the left hand column.
We offer two levels of difficulty, "easy" and "moderate" trips. Those rated easy are suitable for beginners and anyone who's looking for an outing that's not too physically demanding, although there's still ample exercise involved. Moderate trips are for people who are in good-to-great shape and want a fairly major workout.
Typically on an easy trip we hike in our snowshoes a total of 3-4 miles at a somewhat leisurely pace, over gently hilly terrain, with rest breaks. On a moderate trip we usually do at least 6-7 miles or more through sometimes steeper terrain with lots of ups and downs. Distances may be adjusted based on snow conditions. Hiking a certain distance in snowshoes is always a bit harder than regular walking or hiking -- it's often like hiking 50% more distance when the ground is bare.
Snowshoes are available for rental or purchase at many local outdoor supply stores, especially those that sell hiking gear. Rental fees are very reasonable, and some stores will allow you to keep the snowshoes for several days or more when you pay the basic rental price. E-mail us for recommendations of the best stores.
Will you be joining us on some snowshoeing trips this winter? While there's no guarantee that we'll get lots of snow, most winters there's enough for snowshoeing on at least several weekends, and occasionally we can snowshoe many weeks in a row. Consider planning to share some memorable times with us in the snow!
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Wilderness Camping and Backpacking Trips
Not everyone is interested in camping in the wild, but many of us love overnight trips that involve hiking and camping in beautiful or spectacular wilderness areas.
To the general public, camping often means car camping at campgrounds, where you’re sharing a bit of the outdoors with dozens or even hundreds of other people.
Wilderness camping, in contrast, usually means tenting in a truly wild and often remote area where you might see a few people in a day, and sometimes not a soul.
Wilderness camping trips offer almost unlimited peace, quiet, and solitude -- among the scarcest of all commodities in today’s noisy, hectic, and stressful world.
Camping in the wild can also offer great fun and camaraderie when shared with a group. We can really BE with others and enjoy their company, interruption-free. But it’s also possible to enjoy as much alone time as we want away from the group.
A wilderness camping trip, by definition, is likely to entail a measure of adventure. We can never predict exactly what we’ll experience. Are there risks? No more than at home, many of us believe, if you go with a responsible, safety-minded group.
A backpacking trip involves carrying everything you need in a full-size backpack and camping out for one or several nights. Backpacking can either mean hiking each day to a new campsite, or setting up a base camp for the duration of the trip.
On all Wild Earth Adventures overnight trips we use backpacks to carry our gear and food into the wilderness areas where we’ll be camping, usually for 3-4 nights. On most trips we offer optional day hikes each day from our base camp.
Each year we also offer a week-long backpacking trip that involves hiking through a large wilderness area and camping at a different spot each night. Most trips are in New York’s 6,000,000-acre Adirondack Park, which has more wilderness than any other park in the East.
Feedback from most participants on our overnight trips tends to be strongly positive (it’s common to see words like “wonderful” and “memorable” used), and occasionally someone says they found a trip to be a truly life-changing experience.
People usually return home in high spirits, feeling much more relaxed and contented than when they departed. Whether you’re experienced or not, does the idea of camping in the wild appeal to you? Will you be joining us on one or more trips this season?
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Would You Like To Be On Our E-mail List?
We send out weekly e-mail Updates that feature hiking news and commentary, photos from recent trips, announcements about any schedule changes, and short selections of nature writing and poetry. Many of our members and others tell us they like or love receiving them. To get on our list, e-mail us at WildEarthAdventures@gmail.com (and be assured that we will never sell, rent, or give your e-mail address to anyone).
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Visit Our Facebook Page
If you're on Facebook,
visit our Wild Earth Adventures Facebook page here, where you'll find photos
from recent hikes, comments, and recommendations from members and others. If you
like what we do, please consider clicking "Like" at the top. For several years
we had a Facebook group page with around 1400 members, but Facebook discontinued
many of the best features of group pages and started discouraging their use for
large groups, so we recently took down that page and replaced it with a new
"regular" Facebook page.
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