Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY – Lots of short, easy trails on flat terrain. However, lots of ticks! I usually avoid the Pine Bush when possible, because every time we did tick checks, the kids had ticks on them even when we were careful about staying on the trail.
Ann Lee Pond & Historic Site, Albany, NY – short walk around a pond and fishing available, too.
Ashford Glen Preserve, Schenectady, NY – very short walk in and out of the woods (no loop, less than one mile).
Bozen Kill Preserve, Altamont, NY – short hike with two trails, so you can choose the length of the hike.
Christman Sanctuary, Duanesburg, NY (Capital Region) – Short hike to a waterfall. There is a short set of stairs where you should supervise younger kids.
Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve, Clifton Park, NY (Capital Region) – Easy walk through the woods, but ultimately not very scenic.
Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar, NY – Several hikes to choose from, from 1/4 mile ADA compliant trails to 2 mile trails.
Fox Preserve, Latham, NY (Town of Colonie) – short, easy loop hike, approximately 1 mile.
Great Flats Nature Trail, Schenectady, NY (Capital Region)
Hannacroix Ravine Preserve, Voorheesville, NY (Capital Region) – 2.5 mile loop, but you don’t have to do the whole thing. Nice streams to explore and flip rocks.
Hollyhock Hollow Sanctuary, Selkirk, NY (Capital Region) – Easy 1.9 mile loop, but you can choose shorter trails. Also, a creek where you can relax and explore.
Hyuck Preserve, Rensselaerville, NY – Nice trail with a beautiful waterfall.
Indian Kill Preserve, Schenectady, NY (Capital Region) – Easy, rambling hike through the woods, and streams to explore.
Keleher Preserve, Voorheesville, NY (Capital Region) – About 4 miles of trails, but you can tailor the hike and do shorter sections. Much of the trail is flat, mingled with some steeper sections.
Landis Arboretum, Esperance, NY (Capital Region) – Nice area to walk around with a couple of sculptures. Kids may not be impressed with the plants, but it is also a nice place to picnic.
Limestone Rise Preserve, Knox, NY (Capital Region) – Short, easy hike with kids. Watch younger kids so they don’t get hurt on rock formations.
Lisha Kill Natural Area, Niskayuna, NY (Capital Region) – Good for kids, but lots of exposed roots on the trail that could pose a tripping hazard. Better for older kids that can watch their footing.
Moccasin Kill Sanctuary, Schenectady, NY (Capital Region) – Neat place to explore with unique rock formations.
Sanders Preserve, Town of Glenville, NY (Capital Region) – Not the best maintained, but a neat stream to explore.
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga, NY (Capital Region) – Great place for kids to explore, from the trails to the springs, play areas, picnic areas and more.
Schoharie Creek Preserve, Esperance, NY (approx. 1/2 hour west of Albany) – Easy 1.3 mile loop, and you can stop to explore Schoharie creek.
Tawasentha Park, Guilderland, NY – 5 miles of trails to pick from, with lots of paths meandering through the park. *Note: non-residents may have to pay a fee to enter.
Thacher Park Indian Ladder Trail, Voorheesville, NY (Capital Region) – Very scenic trail; use caution with younger children when it comes to staying away from edges.
Thacher Park Hiking Trails, Voorheesville, NY (Capital Region) – lots of options for flat, short walks.
Vosburgh Trails, Guilderland, NY (Capital Region) – Short, easy hike.
Wolf Creek Falls Preserve, Altamont/Knox, NY (Capital Region) – Nice area to explore, with some streams where you can flip rocks.
Woodlawn Nature Preserve, Schenectady, NY (Capital Region) – Short walk around a lake, but unfortunately flooded and grown in when we visited.
And a few just outside the Capital Region:
Art Omi, Ghent, NY – Approximately 30 mins from Albany. Pair with High Falls Conservation Area. These are not hiking trails, but many acres to walk at your leisure and explore.
Falling Waters Preserve, Saugerties, NY – beautiful, short walk to a lighthouse. Fun on a day trip in warm weather, and bring a lunch or snack to enjoy at the lighthouse!
High Falls Conservation Area, Hudson, NY (about 45 minutes from Albany) – Short walk to a waterfall, and a good hike to pair with Art Omi as a day trip.
Saugerties Lighthouse, NY – (approx. 1 hour south of Capital Region – must time according to tide schedule!) – Nice, short walk to a lighthouse. Bring a lunch or snack to enjoy at the lighthouse!