Adopt A Trail

Claim Your Trail

If a trail in northern New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, or the Catskills has delivered you to a memorable view at some point in the past century, a volunteer working with the Trail Conference has served you well. It’s a volunteer’s job to regularly check that trail to make sure it’s clear and safe to hike. The trail system simply does not function without the 1,300 dedicated women and men who put the time and effort in to maintain it.

Volunteers like to get their hands dirty. They know thousands of hikers and people who enjoy being outdoors rely on their work. That’s why they work with the Trail Conference to maintain more than 2,100 miles of trails across two states.

Sign up to volunteer to maintain a section of trail.

The Trail Conference accounts for every single mile and it has since the first volunteers built the very first section of the Appalachian Trail, extending west from the Hudson River at Bear Mountain, nearly a century ago.

Volunteers who join the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference to this beautiful trail system are joining the oldest volunteer trail maintenance program of its kind in the country.

What does a volunteer do to maintain the trail?

  • Each volunteer is assigned a section of trail. Each section is roughly as long as can be reasonably maintained by a volunteer putting in 6 to 8 hours worth of work.

  • Volunteers spend two days each year checking their section(s) of trail. They clear debris, check blazes, and generally ensure their section is accessible.

  • Volunteers then make notes and send brief trail reports to volunteer coordinators working at the Trail Conference headquarters in Mahwah, NJ.

  • Reports include notes about blow-downs, where trees or large branches have fallen across the trail, wash-outs, or any other maintenance work that requires a special trained crew. The Trail Conference coordinates with these crews to get the work done.

See our Volunteer Opportunities to find trails across the region that need adoption.

Don't see something right away? Let us know what you're interested in and we will match you with an opportunity.