Can I Carry A Gun While Hiking in New York?

Can I Carry a Gun While Hiking In New York

Hiking has always been for the bold and brave. But there are many hazards to bear before you set out on a hike. But you won’t see patrol units or security checkpoints on hiking trails.

So, you’re your security force. While you can hope for lady luck for a safe hike, arming yourself with pepper spray and tasers doesn’t sound bad.

Carrying a gun may also be reassuring if you know how to handle one. But you can’t carry a gun with you everywhere you go. So there are limits you need to keep in mind.

Carrying a gun isn’t legal on all hiking trails in New York. Due to several cases of public shootings, stringent gun laws frown on the public possession of guns. But you can carry a gun without trouble if you get special permission. However, New York has a long list of areas prohibiting gun possession.

Can You Carry a Gun While Hiking in New York?

Can I Carry a Gun While Hiking In New York

You can’t carry a gun legally on all hiking trails in New York. Under the new gun laws, the government lists some areas as “sensitive locations.”

So, no civilian should carry a gun in any area that falls on that list. You’ll get into trouble carrying a gun even if you have a concealed carry permit.

Usually, only security personnel can access those areas with their firearms.

But when you hear about human and animal attacks on hikers, you can’t help but consider safety measures.

The rate of such attacks is on the downside, but everyone prefers to be safe rather than sorry. So, why not take your licensed gun when hiking for self-protection?

The government is very aware of the risks to hikers on trails. Although trails lack security checkpoints, the safety of hikers is still a top priority.

Security personnel performs routine inspections and security sweeps across trails to identify and remove any threats. Officers have to make trails safe for hikers.

New York gun laws also consider alcohol use and gun possession. As such, the law bans the carrying of firearms in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol.

The use of alcohol is likely to happen during a hike. So it’s not best to have a gun around you when you feel intoxicated.

You can always keep your alcohol intake minimum if you have a gun. But it’s best to avoid that scenario altogether by leaving your gun home.

Can You Carry a Firearm in New York State Parks?

A section of the New York gun law bars carrying a concealed firearm in the state/national parks.

The list includes state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

But the management of many State parks decried the law. They said visitors had had guns on their properties for years without accidents.

One cause of uncertainty with the New York gun law is the lack of a clear description of “sensitive locations.”

Some parks are unsure if their areas are “sensitive locations.” So, that now depends on the park where you find yourself.

Some parks prohibit firearms, but others permit them if you have a concealed carry license. There’s also an exception for hunters.

In some cases, licensed hunters can carry a rifle in New York State parks. But that is only valid during the hunting season and in some parks.

Besides that, even licensed hunters will be in trouble for carrying firearms in New York State parks.

So, before taking your firearm to a New York State park, check if it allows firearms. If you carry a firearm into a restricted area, you may get a violation fine.

The matter can end with a simple warning at first. But multiple firearm violation counts can lead to an arrest.

Some laws bar non-residents of New York from carrying guns. That’s because their records won’t be in the concealed carry registry.

So anyone that isn’t a New Yorker must request a permit from the State for a concealed carry license. Otherwise, carrying a weapon in public under any circumstance would be illegal.

Below is information about some New York State parks and if they allow gun possession.

State ParkGun Possession Status
Adirondacks ParkYes
Harriman State ParkNo
Rockefeller State Park ReserveYes
Gantry Plaza State ParkNo
Storm King State ParkNo

Should You Bring a Gun When Hiking?

Carrying a gun can mean that you have a form of protection, but there are risks tied to firearms.

So, gun laws clamp down on public use because of the chances of accidents linked to guns.

In most cases, you can quickly get a license to keep a firearm on your private property in New York. But taking your weapon beyond those boundaries is another matter entirely.

New York is one of the States that allows handlers to carry concealed weapons. But even that license has its limits, and there’s a limit to the areas where it applies.

Whether you conceal your gun or not, it’ll become a thing of interest in public areas. On the one hand, only some people would feel at ease around a gun if you’re with a group of hikers.

A gun on a hiking trip will ring all the wrong bells if you have kids around. Adults may be able to adjust to the sight of a gun, but kids will get curious.

Also, there’s the tendency for people to want to handle a gun for the first time. Hollywood action movies sometimes unconsciously portray guns as “cool” stuff.

Then the whole message against gun violence gets lost in curiosity. So, chances are that someone may get “trigger happy” if you carry a gun while hiking.

A professional gun handler would know the safety measures when using a gun. But in untrained hands, the gun will be a threat to the handler as well as other people around.

As such, there’ll be no limit to the scale of damage that can happen in that instance. So, it’s not a good idea to go hiking with a gun.

You can consider other options if you choose to carry a gun as means of protecting yourself. For example, assess the safety of your hiking trails and be precise with your route.

Always remember that there’s strength in numbers. So set out on your hikes with your friends. Besides, hiking isn’t much fun when you do it alone.

How Many Rounds Can I Carry When Hiking?

The limit is ten rounds of ammunition for areas that permit gun possession. Anything above that limit will fetch you a violation fine or even an arrest.

But the gun laws make an exception for tubular devices whose designs operate only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition or a feeding device that’s a curio or relic.

That’s the only case where a gun handler may have more than ten rounds of ammunition because the firearm cannot take up less than that amount.

New York gun laws frown on modifying feeding devices to accept more than ten ammunition rounds. Such devices could be belts, drums, feed strips, or magazines.

Even the transportation and possession of such feeding devices is an illegal act. Also, New York restricts armor-piercing ammunition and bullets with explosive substances.


You can carry a gun while hiking in New York if your trail doesn’t fall along a “sensitive location.” So, that presents a limitation even if you have a concealed carry license.

Also, some State parks allow licensed hunters to carry rifles during the hunting season. When gun possession is legal, you have a limit of ten rounds of ammunition.

Josh Matthews

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