Fire Island Treks
Fire Island National Seashore's Fire Island Trek provides a unique opportunity to explore every aspect of this National Park Service (NPS) unit. Fire Island is one of only ten national seashores in the country! At 32 miles long, this thin barrier island is home to a wilderness area, various barrier island habitats including salt marshes and maritime forest, 17 communities that existed before the establishment of the park in 1964, NPS recreational developments (marinas, campground, food service, visitor centers, lifeguarded beaches) and a historical maritime icon, the Fire Island Lighthouse. During the Fire Island Trek, participants can see and experience many parts of this enchanting collage of coastal life and history.
Come experience it all on one of these incredible ranger-led journeys!
Make your reservations now for the 2013 Fire Island Trek. Detailed schedules to be posted soon!
Fire Island Trek: September 5-6, 2013
Fall Twilight Trek: September 21, 2013
A tour to the top of the Fire Island Lighthouse culminates the 2-day Fire Island Trek this year.
Sponsored by Fire Island National Seashore and its partners, the Trek began during a celebration of the park's 40th anniversary in 2004. The park celebrates its 50th anniversary next year!
Due to the breach at Old Inlet, Fire Island National Seashore is unable to conduct its traditional 20-mile 3-day Fire Island Trek in 2013. A shorter 2-day 13-mile Fire Island Trek will be held on September 5-6, 2013, followed by a 1-day, 9-mile Twilight Trek on September 21, 2013. Call or e-mail to request an application and reserve your spot.
Limited logistical support is available, but you must provide for your own transportation and parking, and pay for your own meals along the way. You will need to provide your own sleeping bag for overnight stays.
There is a nominal cost for lodging and logistical support. The Fire Island Trek may be canceled at anytime due to inclement weather.
Fire Island Trekkers marveled over the exposed remains of an historic shipwreck in June 2006. Every year provides new opportunities for discovery on a dynamic barrier island shoreline.
Traditional Fire Island Trek
Most of Day 1 will be spent walking along the beach, where you can experience first-hand the dynamic nature of a barrier island. You'll see several wash-overs, where sand was carried by recent storms through the dunes and into the wilderness.
You may see piping plovers on this stretch of beach, as they are making their way back south. This threatened bird prefers to nest on open sandy beaches, where it forages for food near the shoreline.
By mid-day, you will arrive at Watch Hill where you can rest your feet and purchase lunch from the Watch Hill snack bar or bring your own lunch. Afterwards all hikers will participate in an optional guided canoe trip into the Watch Hill salt marsh (weather dependent).
Then it's on to Talisman/Barrett Beach, the final 3½-mile leg of this hike. On the way, you'll pass through Fire Island's easternmost community, Davis Park.
All overnight participants must be able to tolerate a "sleep-over" in National Park Service housing. Dinner will be provided and afterwards, you can enjoy a sunset over the ocean and rest.
A tour of the Sunken Forest allows you to explore a barrier island habitat that has been allowed to grow behind a well-developed secondary dune system.
Traditional Fire Island Trek
The second day includes about 7 miles of walking, but more of the Trek will be on boardwalks and there are a few opportunities to shorten your trip if you're not able to walk the entire distance. After breakfast, the group will work its way past the mid-island communities of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove to Sailors Haven. Lunch may be purchased at the Sailors Haven snack bar, to be followed by a stroll through the Sunken Forest.
The Sunken Forest is a rare maritime holly forest habitat-with its centuries-old holly trees, sassafras and shadblow (serviceberry) trees-and was preserved by The Nature Conservancy a decade before Fire Island National Seashore was established.
U. S. Coast Guard, Blue Point Station.
After the tour through the Sunken Forest, you'll hike past the oldest Fire Island community, Point O'Woods, and through one of the largest communities, Ocean Beach, before your stop at the Fire Island Summer Club. At the Summer Club, you'll see one of the former U. S. Coast Guard Station buildings, moved from its original Fire Island location in the late 1940s and adapted for private use today. A long-time resident will share stories about the history of the lifesaving service and the communities located on Fire Island.
Afterwards it's a short walk to the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in the community of Atlantique. AMC maintains a cabin on Fire Island, where participants can enjoy the relaxation of watching a sunset, a late afternoon snack, dinner, and lodging. (AMC is charging a special rate of $75 which includes snack, dinner, lodging and breakfast.)
While in Kismet, look for the marker commemorating the site of the first hotel on Fire Island: the Dominy House, built in 1844. Proprietor Felix Dominy was the first keeper of the original 1826 Fire Island Lighthouse.
Traditional Fire Island Trek
The Fire Island Trek ends with a short hike to the Fire Island Lighthouse (3 miles), where you can enjoy the spectacular view from atop the tallest lighthouse in New York.
After a two hour tour and walk to the site of the old Surf Hotel, built in 1855, you'll be able to hike back to Kismet, where the Bay Shore Ferry will transport you back to the mainland. Or you may make arrangements to have someone pick you up at Robert Moses State Park Field #5. All participants are responsible for their own transportation and meals.
Portions of the Fire Island Trek include an easy stroll on the shaded sidewalks through Fire Island communities.
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 - Fire Island Fall Twilight Hike
One-day 9-mile tour will leave from the community of Fire Island Pines, and concludes at the Fire Island Lighthouse. This is a great way to see Fire Island and perhaps catch a glimpse of barrier island wildlife. This is recommended only for hikers who are in good physical condition and can walk on sand for 9 miles.
If you're not already on Fire Island, you may need to take the ferry from Sayville, on Long Island, to Fire Island Pines where the program begins. Additional arrangements are necessary to get back home. Plan to be picked up at Robert Moses State Park Field #5. All participants are responsible for their own transportation and meals.
For more information about the Fire Island Trek or to get a reservation form, contact Fire Island National Seashore's Office of Interpretation by e-mail or by phone at 631-687-4780.
Did You Know?
The piping plover is a federally threatened and New York State endangered species. It may be delisted when a total of 575 breeding pairs can be maintained in New York and New Jersey for five years. Fire Island National Seashore is currently the home of 15 - 20 nesting pairs of these shorebirds. More...