Length: 38 miles Width: 3.5 miles Depth: 435 feet Nearby Towns: Tompkins, Cayuga, and Seneca Counties, Towns:Ithaca and Seneca Falls
Cayuga Lake, the longest of the Finger Lakes, is surrounded by year-round lake homes, vacation rentals, and wineries, offering gorgeous opportunities for a lakeside getaway in the heart of New York’s Wine Region. Dozens of wineries and breweries circle the lake and a drive along the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway offers a scenic tour of some of New York’s award-winning wineries. Crossing three counties (Seneca, Cayuga and Tompkins Counties), Cayuga Lake stretches for nearly 40 miles from historic Seneca Falls to beautiful Ithaca, New York.
At nearly 40 miles long and over a mile wide, Cayuga Lake offers an endless number of options when it comes to boating. From Sailboats to powerboats to paddleboards – there are options for anyone. Get all the details from Marinas to boat launches to boat rentals in our Cayuga Lake Boating Guide.
There is a large assortment of fish in Cayuga Lake, The northern and southern ends of Cayuga Lake feature shoals that make for great fishing. Check out the area around the southern end of the lake (April/May for Atlantic salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout and Northern Pike), especially the waters near Ithaca and Cayuga Lake State Park.You’re likely to find plenty of pike, bass, bullhead and perch. For the full list of what you may catch and other helpful tips see our Cayuga Lake Fishing Guide.
There are nearly a dozen options available to the public for swimming in Cayuga Lake including at several state parks, town parks and one option on private property. Check out our Finger Lakes Swim Guide.
Like most of the Finger Lakes, the area around Cayuga Lake is good for bicyclists. There are no marked biking trails on the lake, but the 101-mile circuit around the lake is a popular road route. Several organizations host annual rides including the Cayuga Lake Triathlon which takes place mid August.
Cayuga Lake has several state parks that surround the lake, giving access to boating, kayaking, camping, swimming and other amenities.
Harris Park – This is one of the charming town parks that only locals know about. It is located next to the Town Clerk’s office in the town of Cayuga. It has a boat launch, picnic benches and a small swimming area to be used when a lifeguard is on duty. View the complete list of Cayuga Lake Parks here.
Taughannock Falls State Park– Watch as water cascades down from the 215 foot ledge above, and enjoy the magnificent beauty of the surrounding area. Aside from the falls, the park has a range of activities throughout the year.
Montezuma Wildlife Refuge has about 10,000 acres of natural habitat. Hunting, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities are available. Stop at their visitor center first for maps, speak to a knowledgable volunteer and other resources to maximize your experience.
Waterfalls, Gullies and other natural springs are peppered around Cayuga lake. Most require a short hike but others have lookout points like Taughannock Falls.
Taughannock Fall‘s lookout point has steps that take you down closer to the base. There’s also a lesser known second waterfall. This second waterfall is best seen from an abandoned, but easily accessible railroad bridge that spans the gorge above the 212 foot main falls. Read more about it here.
Robert Treman State Park– The waterfalls, gorges and rock formations in the park are well known with outdoor enthusiasts. Use the upper park entrance and check out the Old Mill Falls, among others, and follow the Gorge Trail to Enfield Glen.
Ludlow Falls is in Ludlowville Park in the town of Lansing. Follow the short path to the right of the fence overlooking the falls. Watch your step as it may be slippery. The waterfall is off of a shelf giving access to be able to walk behind it and a small pool at the base. For more information on these and other waterfalls near Cayuga
Nothing says eclectic quite like Ithacaand the arts & culture scene there is a prime example. Stroll through art galleries, take in their street art or catch one of their live music nights. Ithaca has a couple of performing arts centers including the Hangar theater which is one part renovated airplane hangar, and one part professional theater. For a family friendly outing, visit the Museum of the Earth. A 8,000 permanent exhibition that takes you on a journey through 45 billion years of history. Hands-on visual exhibitions include North Atlantic Right Whale, mastodon skeletons as well as a live coral reef tank. PRO TIP: Get the Wine and Travel Card App for Buy One Get One on admission.
Seneca Falls is the home of Women’s Rights. There’s a national historic park and a hall of fame dedicated to the Suffrage movement. Read more about Seneca Falls museums and historical sights in our Towns & Villages- Seneca Falls guide
Ithaca has a very active events calendar from cooking/baking demos and competitions to live entertainment, marathons, kids events and more. The Ithaca Festival, one of the largest festivals where over 100 local and regional artists showcase their work, over 70 performances throughout the city on various stages, plus craft foods and beverages to sample and bring home.
Anthony-Stanton Statue– (For the history buffs: Sculptor Ted Aub depicted the very first time Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were introduced on the streets of Seneca Falls, New York, byAmelia Jenks Bloomer, dress reform advocate. These three women would later help found women’s rights organizations and pave the way for equality as we know it today.)
Cayuga Lake is surrounded by wineries and breweries, most with beautiful scenic vistas of the lake. There are currently a total of 25 wineries to visit near Cayuga Lake, Thirteen of those are on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is the oldest wine trail in the United States. Started by Mary Plane of Cayuga Vineyards (since renamed Cayuga Ridge) in the early 1980s, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail has blossomed into a string of highly regarded vineyards. As the winemaking industry has grown, so has the Cayuga Wine Trail.
Save before you visit: Download the Wine & Travel Card app on your phone and enjoy discounts at the following Cayuga Lake area destinations (plus dozens more in the region).