Trip Schedule

Trip Info & Fees

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Reserve for a Trip

Hiking Destinations

Hiking Near NYC

Hiking Essentials

Walking and Hiking

Wilderness Camping and Backpacking Trips

Snowshoeing Trips

Cross Country Skiing

Why Join a Hiking Club?

Books by Charlie Cook

Useful Links


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Wild Earth Adventures
P.O. Box 88
Suffern, NY 10901

August Trips

8/8 (Sat) CATSKILL ESCARPMENT - Catskill Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE

8/9 (Sun) NEVERSINK RIVER - Catskill Park (New York). EASY HIKE

8/15 (Sat) ISLAND POND - Harriman State Park (New York). EASY HIKE

8/16 (Sun) ACRA POINT / BATAVIA KILL CREEK - Catskill Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE



8/29 (Sat) DUNNFIELD CREEK - Worthington State Forest (New Jersey). EASY HIKE

8/30 (Sun) HASECO LAKE - Minnewaska State Park (New York). MODERATE HIKE

Complete Trip Schedule

Our thanks to the members who have graciously allowed us to display their beautiful trip photographs on these pages:

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 (35-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 2100 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). 2015 is our 35th 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.

Hiking & Nature News: A Weekly Journal/Blog

August 26, 2015: Sunscreen Safety

“…Unfortunately, the truth about sunscreen might shadow your sunshine pleasures this year. We’re told that sunscreen will protect us from sunburn, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Yet, research now suggests that sunscreen might not do any of these things very well: instead, many of the most popular sunscreen brands might actually increase our chances of getting some cancers.

If you are shopping at most big box retailers, you can pretty much be guaranteed your sunscreen is toxic muck. By toxic muck, I mean that leading independent researchers suggest the sunscreen is likely to increase your chances of cancer rather than diminish it. In a recent wander through several big retail websites, I didn’t find a single sunscreen that was recommended as safe and effective by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG is a group of independent researchers that research the truth behind many skincare products, including sunscreen…

The FDA says it is “not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer,” according to a recent Huffington Post article. It gets worse. A 2007 meta-analysis of 17 (out of 18 known) studies on the subject concluded that: “there was no statistically significant effect of use of sunscreens on risk of melanoma.” The study further found that in latitudes greater than 40 degrees (New York and north…) the use of sunscreen might actually “contribute to the risk of melanoma.” (Malignant melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers accounting for about 4% of skin cancers but 75% of skin cancer-related deaths.)

EWG reviewed 500 popular sunscreens and recommended only 39 of them as safe for consumers. The worst offenders were often the market leaders: None of the 39 rated safe even received a perfect score. Even worse, they found that many brands made inaccurate and misleading claims such as “water-proof,” “broad-spectrum protection,” and even “chemical-free.” Other words to be wary of: “for babies,” “natural,” and any SPF over 50. Many sunscreens, including those marketed specifically to children and babies, had known carcinogens, neurotoxins, ingredients known to become unstable and reactive when exposed to sunlight, and chemicals linked with endocrine disorders (gender-bending effects), and birth defects. Some of the worst offenders include the more popular brands (Neutrogena, No-Ad, Coppertone, Banana Boat) and their packages were littered with the above-mentioned meaningless statements.”

-- Manda Aufochs Gillespie (“The Green Mama”), “Is Your Sunscreen Increasing Your Risk of Cancer?,” Parade Magazine, June 20, 2013

        *        *        *        *        *

I’ve addressed the subject of sunscreens in Updates the past two summers, and it seems like a good time to review the subject during this season, the time of year when I see some hikers coating their skin with generous doses of sunscreen.

For those of you haven’t heard it before, I’m sorry to bring you some not-so-great news about sunscreens, which are supposed to protect us but may do the opposite. I hope you won’t let such news hinder your enjoyment of the Great Outdoors.

I haven’t used a sunscreen for over 20 years. I stopped after reading an alarming 1993 article by medical journalist Michael Castleman in Mother Jones magazine -- which was based on science, not conjecture -- about the dangers of sunscreens.

The message of that original article is reflected in the one excerpted above from a popular magazine, Parade (it was surprising to see such an article in a high-circulation publication, since most mainstream media avoid criticism of corporate products that are advertised in the media -- and even more so when the viewpoint conflicts with the conventional advice of doctors and dermatologists).

In recent years other articles have appeared on this subject which suggest that the public has been sold a bill of goods regarding the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens. If you haven’t read such an article, you may not be aware of the risks.

Unfortunately, the science is complicated and impossible to summarize briefly. Which is why we sometimes have to rely on journalists. Many people, of course, choose to believe assurances of the companies that manufacture such products that they are safe. But some scientists say otherwise. Who would you trust more?

Some of us have had contact with dermatologists or doctors who believe strongly in the importance and efficacy of sunscreens, of course, and most of our media repeat such beliefs. Attitudes change slowly, and it takes years for new research to become widely publicized, especially when it contradicts previously-held beliefs.

Obviously, the less we expose ourselves to potentially carcinogenic substances, the better. Those of us who care about what we put in and on our bodies naturally want to totally avoid any products that could increase our risk of getting cancer.

How have I been able to manage spending so much time outdoors without using sunscreens? (I know that some others of you reading this also avoid sunscreens).

As I often mention at this time of year, the good news for hikers is that in the northeastern US, there’s LOTS of protective shade available in mountain forests.

Only on open mountaintops, on rocky cliffs, or at lake shores are we often totally exposed to the sun, and usually there are shady trees nearby to retreat to.

I do recommend carrying a sun hat, and often wear mine when I’m in the open sun. And I always have a long sleeved shirt and long pants in case I need to cover up.

Also, overcast days and cloudy weather are common in the mountains, so there are many days when we don’t have to be concerned about getting too much direct sun.

And during the months when the leaves are down (late fall through mid-spring), meaning there’s much less shade in the woods, the sun’s rays are much less direct and therefore a lot less likely to damage our skin, even with extended exposure.

Finally, as I’ve written about previously, there’s now plenty of evidence that for optimal health, we actually benefit greatly from receiving “unprotected” doses of sun (while being careful to avoid excessive exposure and burning). It turns out that sunlight gives a boost to our immune system and fortifies our health in other ways.

Some well-known cancer experts agree that the research on this is now solid. Other “authorities” adamantly disagree. So the subject remains controversial. If you have time, read up on it. And try to ignore the fear-mongering that insists that everyone should completely cover-up with sunscreen and clothing whenever they go outside.

[Note: right before I addressed this subject in an Update last summer, The New York Times featured an "Ask Well" column by Deborah Blum (7/17/14) about titanium dioxide nanoparticles that are now used in many sunscreens -- which some scientists believe may be carcinogenic and/or may promote skin aging. This seems to be additional evidence that we should be extremely careful about ALL products we apply to our skin, given the potential risks that continue to exist].

-- Charlie Cook

Blog Archive
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Summer Calendar

(You'll Find Our Trip Schedule Here)

Photo by Charles McMellon

There's no denying that summer is here... Never are the days longer, the skies brighter, or the temperatures milder than they'll be for the next few months. The natural world is once again a lush, fragrant, radiant green realm, populated with an extraordinarily rich community of wildlife and birdlife. Rarely are the wilder places of the Northeast lovelier, more colorful, more alive and vibrant with natural activity, or more inspiring than they are right now. Are you ready for a hike? Ready to take a break from indoor pursuits and everyday stresses? To reconnect with nature and its healing energies? To have your senses filled to overflowing? To refresh and renew yourself? Join us for some regular doses of fresh air, healthy full-spectrum sunlight (and shade), invigorating exercise, and the excitement and exhilaration of wilderness exploration in a wide range of scenic and often spectacular mountain settings. Consider making plans right now to join us on some summer hiking (and/or wilderness camping or backpacking) trips.

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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Hiking Trips

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 hiking ambition.

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) each week.

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 trips.

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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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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 Website: Susan Dansker Design         © 1999-2015 Wild Earth Adventures.   Phone: (845)357-3380  All rights reserved.