Terrain By State: New York
The Appalachian Trail through New York is much less secluded than nearby Trail areas, but is more wooded and removed from civilization than one might expect considering its proximity to the large population centers.
The section through Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park, where in 1923 the very first new section of the Appalachian Trail was completed, gets a lot of visitors. As the Trail passes through the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, it drops to its lowest elevation point—124 feet.
Elevation changes are generally moderate and vary from relatively flat and gentle to short, steep rocky pitches. Natural water sources are scarce and sometimes polluted.
Difficulty Ratings for A.T. Sections
Because the A.T. spans a great variety of terrain, ranging from relatively flat and easy, to extremely difficult, the following scale was created as a general guide:
1 = Flat and smooth
2 = Flat terrain but uneven treadway, or slight elevation change
3 = Moderate elevation change, but well graded trail, or flat trail with very rough treadway
4 = Strenuous climbs, but of moderate duration, or short but steep climbs
5 = Lengthy graded climbs, alternating with easier sections
6 = Extended climbs that may last hours or shorter climbs with difficult footing
7 = Includes rock scrambling that is relatively easy and of short duration
8 = Includes rock scrambling that is somewhat challenging
9 = Rock scrambling that is difficult and extended
10 = Use of hands required for extended periods of climbing, footing precarious, and leaping may be required — not recommended for those with fear of heights and not in good physical condition. Shorter hikers may be at a disadvantage