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The state of New York has much more to offer than just the city. Learn about all the best places to go hang gliding in the state in this expert guide.
When you think about going hang gliding, you probably don't jump straight to New York as your #1 destination. But I don't think people give the state of New York nearly enough credit. Its beauty is often overlooked or ignored because of the cities and burrows that have made New York famous around the world. The state really does have much more to offer. Where can you go hang gliding here?
The best companies and launch sites for hang gliding in New York are Susquehanna Flight Park (Cooperstown Hang Gliding), Fly High Hang Gliding, Ashokan High Point, Harris Hill, Brace Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Finger Lakes Aerotow Park.
If you're looking for a thrilling new way to experience the beauty of New York, consider hang gliding. There are some amazing locations around the state that offer unparalleled views of the landscape below. In this piece, you’ll learn about some of the most amazing hang gliding spots in New York. Whether you're an experienced pilot or a beginner, there's a spot perfect for you!
As hang gliding enthusiasts ourselves that want to fly in the best locations on earth, we know exactly what you're looking for in a good company and/or launch site. So by combining our own experiences with input from other experts and enthusiasts that fly in New York, we can give you an accurate list of truly the top hang gliding spots. So get your pencil and paper ready to start planning your next trip!
Can You Go Hang Gliding in New York?
When you think about New York, you probably imagine the hustle and bustle of New York City. You can barely even drive a car or walk down the street in the Big Apple, much less go hang gliding. But what you might not know is that outside the city limits, the state of New York is actually gorgeous. There are all sorts of incredible landscapes, colors, and views to take in, and the weather is awesome for hang gliding much of the year.
So how about those views?
One of the main reasons to consider a hang gliding trip to New York is the beauty that the state truly has to offer. No matter where you go in New York, you're bound to find some incredible views. And from up in the air, those views are even more breathtaking. You'll be able to see rolling hills, green forests, glittering lakes, and so much more. In fact, one of the best things about hang gliding in New York is that you can tailor your trip to the places you really want to see.
What about the weather?
Sure, we all know that New York gets downright cold in the winter, and you certainly don't want to be hang gliding when it's freezing out and snow is falling. But for much of the year, the weather in New York is actually fantastic for hang gliding. The warmer half of the year offers moderate temperatures and beautiful blue skies, while fall brings crisp, cool air that's great for flying. And if you time your trip right, you'll be able to see the leaves changing color as summer turns to fall.
Where Should You Go Hang Gliding in New York State?
Now that we've answered some of the most common questions about hang gliding in New York, it's time to start planning your trip! Here are some of the best spots for you to consider. We'll start off by taking a look at a couple of the top-rated hang gliding companies in New York and then we'll turn our attention to the best launch sites that you should go hang gliding from.
Let's get started.
Susquehanna Flight Park (Cooperstown Hang Gliding)
Up first on this guide list is Susquehanna Flight Park. If you see any other lists out there that refer to Cooperstown Hang Gliding, this is what they're talking about. It used to go by Cooperstown Hang Gliding but as it gained more and more popularity, it's become known as a flight park. Pretty cool to see the growth of a company that's taught countless people how to hang glide.
But let's get into why Susquehanna Flight Park earned the first spot on this list (not that this is really a ranking, but still). This is a great company for both beginners and experienced gliders alike. They offer tandem flights, instruction, and even scenic rides so you can take in the incredible views of upstate New York. And speaking of those views, they are truly breathtaking. Once you're airborne, you'll have an unobstructed view of endless greenery and vivid landscapes everywhere you look.
As for the weather, the park is located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. This means that you'll have great conditions for flying much of the year. But as always, be sure to check the weather forecast before you go to ensure that conditions are safe for flying. Of course, when the temperatures plummet during winter, the park will close down since nobody wants to fly when it's freezing! But during the spring, summer, and fall, you'll be good to go!
Fly High Hang Gliding
Since the one above was a sort of combination between a company and a flight park, let's hone in on one of the best companies in the area. Fly High Hang Gliding is a great choice for those looking to take their hang gliding to the next level. This company and website were created by Paul Voight, who is a master-rated pilot, Wills Wing specialist, advanced instructor, and even the USHPA Regional Director of Region 5.
In short, Paul really knows his stuff, and Fly High can give you everything you need.
The company offers training, tandem flights, equipment sales, and more. And if you're looking for an adrenaline rush, they even offer thermalling and cross-country instruction so you can really put your skills to the test! But no matter what level pilot you are, Fly High will have something for you.
While it's great to look at some of the organizations and companies in the area to give you a feel for what's in New York, you might be itching to just get out there and start flying! So without further ado, let's take a look at the best places to go hang gliding in New York.
Ashokan High Point
The first site on this list is Ashokan High Point. This site is located in the Catskill Mountains and offers some of the most incredible views you'll find anywhere in New York. And since it's only a short drive from both Albany and New York City, it makes for a great weekend getaway. From high above the ground, you'll see the vibrant greens of the fields and forests as well as the sparkling blue of the Hudson River.
As for the flying conditions, they're about as good as it gets in New York. April through September weather offer thermals that will keep you aloft for hours with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. And in the fall, you can enjoy some of the most beautiful foliage in the country as you glide over the changing leaves. Like pretty much the rest of the state, the winter is too cold and snowy to go hang gliding.
Since the Catskills are located in the heart of the state, you're never far from other great attractions like hiking, fishing, and skiing. So whether you're a local looking for a new adventure or a visitor from out of state, be sure to check out Ashokan High Point for some of the best gliding around.
Harris Hill is another great location for hang gliding in New York. This spot is located in the Finger Lakes region (which we'll touch on a bit more later on) and offers views of Seneca Lake as well as the surrounding countryside. The different colors and topography make for a beautiful view while hang gliding.
The average temperatures from April through early October are mild, making it a great time to visit. Fall can be a bit cold, but if you dress appropriately, it's still possible to enjoy the experience depending on what the forecast looks like. Winter is usually not much of an option, but fall tends to have a few warm days with perfect wind for hang gliding.
There are also a number of other activities nearby that you can enjoy. The Finger Lakes region is known for its wineries, so you could go on a wine tour or visit one of the many tasting rooms. There are also a number of hiking trails and parks in the area if you want to do some exploring. And since it's located in central New York, it's not too far from anything else in the state that you want to do.
Next, we have Brace Mountain. This is the highest peak in the Taconic Mountains and offers stunning views of both New York and Vermont. Some of the things you'll be able to see as you soar through the air include the Hudson River, the Catskills, and the Green Mountains.
The flying conditions here are also very good with thermals in the summer and spring. However, it's important to note that the mountain can be quite gusty, so it's not recommended for beginners. But if you've got some flights under your belt and you're ready to put your skills to the test, you'll be rewarded with an incredible gliding experience.
If you're looking for other things to do in the area, there are plenty of hiking trails nearby as well as a number of lakes where you can go swimming or fishing. Since it's only a couple of hours from NYC, it's also a great place to come for a weekend getaway. You can experience the beauty of the state from above during the day and then take in the nightlife of downtown New York when the sun goes down.
One of the best mountains in all of New York to go hang gliding around that you probably have never heard of before is Sugarloaf Mountain. The views from up here are absolutely incredible, with a panoramic view of the Catskills that will take your breath away. Your eyes won't believe what they're seeing as you glide through the air.
The average weather for much of the year (not fall or winter!) is ideal for hang gliding, with temperatures in the mid-70s and low humidity. Fall and winter can be a bit more tricky, as the weather can be sporadic from time to time. If I were you, I wouldn't plan a trip here to hang glide any time from November through February, but that's just me!
Located near the town of Middletown in Orange County, Sugarloaf Mountain is about an hour's drive from New York City. But even though it's a bit of a drive, it's definitely worth it when you see the views from up here. You'll have lots of other things to do in the area too, such as hiking, camping, fishing, and more. So if you're looking for a great place to hang glide that's not too far from the city, give Sugarloaf a shot.
Finger Lakes Aerotow Park
One of the most popular spots to go hang gliding in New York has, for a long time, been the Finger Lakes Aerotow Park. It's located on a hill that offers views of Canandaigua Lake and stunning hills and landscapes that surround the area. If you notice from the name, this park specializes in aerotowing, which is one of the best ways to launch a hang glider so that you get up in the air and have the altitude that you're looking for.
At Finger Lakes, they have a number of different tow planes that can accommodate different types and sizes of hang gliders. So no matter if you're getting started on your own, or you're flying an acrobatic tandem glider with someone else, you'll have no trouble getting into the air. And once you do, the views are incredible.
The park is typically open all year round, but the flying conditions are the best from mid-April through mid-October when there are more consistent thermals. That being said, if you're up for a little adventure, then the fall months can be really great too, if not a little bit less predictable when it comes to weather conditions. Just be sure to dress warm!
In terms of other things to do in the area, the Finger Lakes area is home to some of the best wineries in New York. So if you're looking to do a little wine tasting after your hang gliding adventure, then you're in luck! There are also a ton of hiking trails nearby if you want to explore the beautiful landscape on foot. Either way, you won't be disappointed with a trip to Finger Lakes.
In fact, you won't be disappointed with a hang gliding trip to any of the locations you've seen in this guide. New York has some of the best scenery in the country, and there's no better way to experience it than by getting up in a hang glider and seeing it all from above. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring!