The Finger Lakes are home to some of the most incredible scenic vistas in the northeastern United States. Plunging waterfalls and dramatic gorges provide the backdrop that draw hikers and outdoors enthusiasts to the trails of the Finger Lakes. Parks and preserves can be found throughout the region. Among our favorites is the 560-mile Finger Lakes Trail which runs from the Catskills to Alleghany State Park. You can pick up the Onondaga Trail (a branch of the main Finger Lakes Trail) near Tully, NY, for fantastic hiking.
Near Otisco Lake
While there are no marked hiking trails on Otisco Lake, in surrounding Onondaga County, you'll find lots of prime hiking trails, including the 182-acre Baltimore Woods nature preserve, which contains a system of nine trails and is open to the public.
Near Owasco Lake
At the southern end of Owasco Lake, in the village of Moravia, Fillmore Glen State Park is a favorite destination off the lake. These hiking trails afford some of the most magnificent views of gorges and waterfalls in all of the Finger Lakes. The trails around the Cowshead area are paved and easily accessible. The Gorge Trail, North Rim and South Rim trails are moderately challenging, and all three afford great scenic views.
Near Skaneateles Lake
Near Skaneateles Lake, the Bear Swamp State Forest is great for hiking. Check out Carpenter's Falls, just north of the village of New Hope. The Bahar Nature Preserve has a nice 1.3 mile trail called Old Jug Path that follows an old road, so the hiking is easy.
Near Cayuga Lake
When visiting Cayuga Lake, check out the Robert Treman State Park, just five miles south of Ithaca. This park offers some of the most scenic hiking trails in the area. The waterfalls, gorges and rock formations in the park are well-known with outdoors enthusiasts. Use the upper park entrance and check out the Old Mill Falls, among others, and follow the Gorge Trail to Enfield Glen.
Birders and wildlife enthusiasts will revel in the beauty of Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary, a 230-acre preserve, home to the world-renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology and over four miles of hiking trails meandering on trails through gorgeous forests and on boardwalks over ferny swamps and along lively ponds.
Near Seneca Lake
Near Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen State Park is a beautiful canyon with waterfalls galore, and it's very popular with visitors as a result. The hiking trails around Montour Falls are especially appealing to hikers. While you're there, be sure to check out the Queen Catherine Marsh and Havana Glen. The Interlaken Trail, a 12-mile marked trail that runs past two ponds and traverses varied terrain, is one of the trails to check out in the Finger Lakes National Forest. Less well-known, but certainly worth your time, is the Hector Land Use Area—it has 25 miles of hiking trails and a handful of camp sites. The Keuka Lake Outlet Trail, which connects Keuka Lake to Seneca Lake, is a great hiking trail that runs along abandoned railroad tracks from Penn Yan to Dresden. The five mile trail winds past old mills that have long since fallen into disuse and two stunning waterfalls that are very much still alive. The Keuka Lake State Park, near Penn Yan in Bluff Point, has some nice hiking trails and plenty of other attractions as well.
Near Canandaigua Lake
Rich with hilly trails and scenic vistas, the area around Canandaigua Lake has some of the best hiking in all of the Finger Lakes. The 900-acre Cumming Nature Center in Naples has six miles of hiking trails that wind through the expansive park. Onanda Park, just south of the town of Canandaigua, features some of the best views of gorges and waterfalls around Canandaigua. The Hi Tor Wildlife Management Area, just outside of Naples, has some trails that range from moderate to challenging, some that traverse steep and sometimes rocky terrain. For serious hikers, Hi Tor is the place to explore—you can make a multi-day hike of it in Hi Tor. For more sedate day hiking, visit the Ontario County Park in Naples.