Hiking in Binghamton is the perfect fall activity: You can look at the changing leaves, get some exercise and spend some quality time with your friends. You don’t have to be an expert naturalist to get started — you don’t even have to go off campus. Follow Pipe Dream’s guide to hiking and check out our local trail recommendations for everyone from beginners to experts.
— Wear the proper gear: It’s important to wear sturdy sneakers or boots to protect your feet, with long socks and long pants to protect your legs from thorny plants and ticks that may carry Lyme disease. A long-sleeved shirt or a wide hat to protect yourself from the sun is vital, as are sunscreen and bug spray.
— Go when the weather is right and dress accordingly: If it just rained, there will be more bugs in the air and the ground will be muddy and slippery, but if it’s super hot, you’ll get tired sooner. Be sure to check the forecast as you plan your hike and your attire.
— Have a map of the trail: Whether you print out a paper copy or have Google Maps downloaded on your phone for access offline, you should always have a map. You never know what could happen and you don’t want to get lost.
— Go in groups of three or more: As long as everyone is careful, it is unlikely that anyone will get hurt, but just in case someone is injured, one person will be able to go get help while the other stays with the injured person.
— Don’t count on having cellphone service: The cellphone service around the hiking areas in Binghamton is generally strong, but depending on your cell carrier and where you are specifically, there may be patchy spots. Always let a friend or family member know where you’re going so if they don’t hear from you after a certain time, they know you may need help.
— Carry a first-aid kit: You should always carry basic items like bandages, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, pain-relief pills, gauze, waterproof medical tape, tissues, feminine products, hand sanitizer, sunscreen and insect repellent with you.
— Bring enough water: Do your research before you go, and know how long the hike should take, the altitude of the climb, the temperature and the humidity levels, so you can adjust the amount of water you bring accordingly.
Nature Preserve, Binghamton University
The Nature Preserve on campus encompasses over 900 acres of land for recreation and research. There are 12 different trails, two of which are designated for cross-country skiing and are only available for use during the winter, plus a scenic pond, which makes regular appearances on the University’s Instagram account. With flat trails like the Marsh Trail that are great for easy walks and more challenging options like the Saddle Trail, the Nature Preserve makes it easy to vary your hikes as you get more comfortable with the terrain.
IBM Glen, Robinson Hill Road, Johnson City, New York 13790
This trail, formerly part of the IBM Country Club, is a favorite of the BU Outdoors Club president, Nicole Song, a junior majoring in biology.
“[It] is a quick, easy trail that’s pretty cool and super close to us,” Song said.
Aqua-Terra Wilderness Area, Maxian Road, Binghamton, New York 13903
This former ski area is located outside of the city in the town of Binghamton. There are still relics of its former life like chairlifts and light poles, which you can glimpse from the main path up to the top of the hill. The trail at Aqua-Terra requires crossing a marshy area before you reach the bottom of the marked trail, so especially in the fall, it is important to wear long pants and high socks to protect yourself from Lyme disease-carrying ticks.
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