A few years ago I became obsessed with hiking. I’ll find any excuse to get outside and explore. Mountains are my favorite, but when I don’t have the time to drive to the ADKs, I’ll find local adventures instead. Recently, I started an online fitness group for people who actually suck at fitness (we would much rather spend our time pounding White Claws and Sweet Chili Doritos than working out). I promised the girls I would come up with a hiking challenge for the month of May so I have compiled a list of my favorite and recommended hikes for the Central NY area. There are obviously a lot more amazing hikes in this area but hopefully this will get you started. Two great apps I recommend are the AllTrails app and the Geocaching app. Alltrails allows you to read reviews about hikes, see photos, record your hike and more. If you’ve never geocached then look it up and get started, you won’t regret it!
Fillmore Glen State Park
- Fillmore Glen State Park is an oasis of cool, dense woods crowding into a long, narrow gorge. Its hiking trails offer spectacular views, unique geological formations, including five waterfalls, and a botanically rich glen.
- 1686 NY-38, Moravia, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/fillmoreglen/details.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/FillmoreGlenTrailMap.pdf
- Bald Mountain (Rondaxe Fire Tower) is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Old Forge, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate.
- Rondaxe Road, Old Forge, NY
- Website: https://www.adirondackexperience.com/blog/2015/11/bald-mountain-hike
Black River Trail
- The Black River Trail is a 4.5 mile stretch of paved trail, which has been converter from an old rail road bed. The terrain is woodland and follows the Black River for 3.5 mile. This trail presents recreational opportunities for hiking, jogging, biking, snow shoeing and cross country skiing.
- 25534 Ridge Road, Watertown, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/blackriver/maps.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/BlackRiverBlackRiverTrailMap.pdf
Robert G. Wehle State Park
- Robert G. Wehle State Park is a 1,100 acre state park with over 17,000 ft of spectacular Lake Ontario shoreline.
- 5182 N School House Rd, Henderson, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/137/hunting.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/RobertGWehleTrailMap.pdf
Sacket Harbor Battlefield History Trail
- Sackets Harbor Battlefield History Trail is part of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield, that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Interpretive panels along the loop trail tell the military’s pivotal role during the War of 1812 and Navy presence afterward.
- 504 W. Main Street, Sackets Harbor, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/7/details.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/attachments/SacketsHarborBattlefieldTrailMap.pdf
Totman Gulf (Mooney Gulf) Trail
- Totman Gulf Trail is a 1.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail that features a river, gorge, and waterfall and is good for all skill levels.
- Lemay Road, Adams, NY (Proceed south from Adams on US 11. About three miles after leaving the village, take a left on the Lemay Road. Continue 2.2 miles. The pavement will end and you will come to a pull-off on the left. Park here.)
- Website: https://nnywaterfalls.com/foxcreek/totmangulffalls/
Whetstone Gulf State Park
- Whetstone Gulf State Park is built in and around a three-mile-long gorge cut into the eastern edge of the Tug Hill Plateau. The gorge is one of the most spectacular scenic vistas east of the Rocky Mountains.
- 6065 W Rd, Lowville, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/whetstonegulf
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/WhetstoneGulfTrailMap.pdf
Pixley Falls State Park
- Pixley Falls State Park’s main attraction is the 50-foot waterfall, close to the picnic area. This picturesque park also features steep, wooded hills and a mountain stream. A nature trail meanders through the forest and past Pixley Falls. The park has access to numerous miles of trout streams.
- 11430 State Route 46, Boonville, NY 13309
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/pixleyfalls/maps.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/PixleyFallsTrailMap.pdf
- Beaver Lake Nature Center is a 661-acre natural area located four miles west of Baldwinsville, New York. The Nature Center is an Onondaga County Parks facility and is meant to expose visitors to a variety of outdoor experiences. The nature center is open year round from 7:30 a.m. to near dusk. Dogs are not allowed.
- 8477 E Mud Lake Rd, Baldwinsville, NY 13027
- Website: https://www.beaverlakenaturecenter.org/
- Trail Map: https://www.beaverlakenaturecenter.org/things-to-do/trails/
Chittenango Falls State Park
- A picturesque 167-foot waterfall is the main attraction of Chittenango Falls State Park! Glacial sculpting over 400 million-year-old bedrock is responsible for this scenic feature. An interesting variety of both plants and wildlife may be found along the trails. Visitors can view the falls from the top, walk the winding trail into the gorge view the falls from the footbridge and return to the top along the small trail on the opposite side of the gorge. Activities include fishing, hiking and picnicking.
- 2300 Rathbun Rd., Cazenovia, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/chittenangofalls
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/ChittenangoFallsTrailMap.pd
- Clark Reservation State Park is a state park in Onondaga County, New York. The park is in Jamesville, NY, in the Town of DeWitt, south of Syracuse. It was the site of a large waterfall formed by melting glacial ice at the end of the last Ice Age; the plunge basin at the base of the old falls is now a small lake.
- 6105 East Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville, NY 13078
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/clarkreservation/details.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/ClarkReservationTrailMap.pdf
Green Lakes State Park
- Features two glacial lakes surrounded by upland forest.
- 7900 Green Lakes Road, Fayetteville, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/greenlakes/details.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/GreenLakesTrailMap.pdf
Labrador Hollow Unique Area
- The Labrador Hollow Unique Area is a 1,474-acre conservation area located in Cortland and Onondaga counties.
- Includes Labrador Hollow Nature Trail (.5 miles), Tinker Falls Trail (.5 miles), Jones Hill Via Spruce Pond (3 mile round trip) and Jones Hill Via Tinker Falls (2.2 mile round trip)
- Labrador Road, Tully, NY 13159
- Website: https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/37070.html
- Trail Information: https://cnyhiking.com/LabradorHollowUniqueArea.htm
- Scenic trails leading to a 137′ waterfall beckon visitors to bring a well-stocked picnic basket and a sense of adventure. This geological wonder, formed by retreating glaciers, was the site of Onondaga County’s first mill operation in 1796.
- 7671 Pratts Falls Rd, Manlius, NY 13104
- Website: https://nyfalls.com/waterfalls/pratts-falls/
- Trail Map: https://d3ds21tjpn8xnd.cloudfront.net/beta/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Pratts-Falls-Park-Map-2017.pdf
Amboy 4H Environmental Center
- Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center is 150 acre nature preserve of mixed woods, wetlands, and Rowell Brook. Three miles of hiking trails guide visitors through the ecosystems.
- 748 NYS Rte 183, Williamstown, NY
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Amboy-4-H-Environmental-Education-Center-95561233939
Camp Zerbe Nature Park
- Camp Zerbe has three rare “kettlehole” lakes, created at the end of the last ice age by immense chunks of melting glacier. Each trail is 1/2 mile in length.
- 104 State Route, Williamstown, NY
- Website: https://youthbureau.oswegocounty.com/parks_recreation/camp_zerbe/index.php
- Trail Map: https://cms3.revize.com/revize/oswegonyparks/Zerbe/Camp%20Zerbe%20Map.pdf
Great Bear Recreational Area
- Great Bear has 11 miles of rustically maintained wooded trails for varied terrain along the Oswego River.
- Great Bear Rd, Fulton, NY
- Website: https://friendsofgreatbear.org/
- Trail Map: https://friendsofgreatbear.org/maps
Mexico Point State Park
- Mexico Point Park is situated on 120 acres and provides the public with serene picinc areas, nature trails, swimming, and cultural experiences. Visitors can walk to many locations within the 120 acre park including the 1/4 mile trail to historic Spy Island and Roop’s Loop, and the 3/4 mile self-interpretive nature trail.
- 120 Mexico Point Drive West, Mexico, NY
- Website: https://mexicopointpark.com/wp/
Rainbow Shores/Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area
- Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area is an 1,195-acre New York State Wildlife Management Area with a 4,500-foot sandy beach on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario
- Access Trail from the dirt road at the end of South Rainbow Shores Road.
- Website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68686.html
Rice Creek Field Station
- Rice Creek Field Station, a unit of SUNY Oswego, is a year-round facility to provide opportunities for field oriented biological and earth science teaching and research. Four nature trails, open to the public, provide opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The trails pass through fields and woods in several stages of succession.
- Brownell Rd, Oswego, NY
- Website: https://www.oswego.edu/rice-creek/trails-overview
- Trail Map: http://www.oswego.edu/academics/opportunities/rice_creek_field_station/map/
Salmon River Falls
- Salmon River Falls Unique Area encompasses 112 acres of land with the 110-foot Salmon River Falls and a scenic gorge.
- Falls Road, Orwell, NY
- Website: https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/63578.html
- Trail Map: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/regions_pdf/salmonfalls.pdf
Selkirk Shores State Park
- In addition to spectacular sunsets over one of the Great Lakes, visitors to Selkirk Shores State Park can expect outstanding fishing and popular hiking and biking trails that lead to a lush mix of meadows and woodlands.
- 7101 State Route 3, Pulaski, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/selkirkshores/details.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/SelkirkShoresTrailMap.pdf
- Winona Forest, located on the boundary of southern Jefferson County and northern Oswego County in Northern New York, is a 9,233-acre state forest that offers many recreational opportunities, including: snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, dog sledding, birdwatching and horseback riding
- Website: http://www.winonaforest.com/
- Trail Map: http://www.winonaforest.com/uploads/1/0/3/5/10359334/winona_forest_2020.pdf
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
- Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife preserve operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, encompassing part of the Montezuma Swamp at the north end of Cayuga Lake. The 10,004-acre preserve is composed of swamps, pools and channels and is a stopping point for migratory birds.
- 3395 US-20, Seneca Falls, NY
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/montezuma/
- Trail Map: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_5/NWRS/Central_Zone/Montezuma/PublicUseMap.pdf#a
Chimney Bluffs State Park
- Chimney Bluffs State Park is a 597-acre state park in the town of Huron in Wayne County, New York. The park is situated on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, east of Sodus Bay. From the park’s hiking trails, visitors can view the large clay formations at the water’s edge for which the park is named.
- 7700 Garner Road, Wolcott, NY
- Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/chimneybluffs/maps.aspx
- Trail Map: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/attachments/ChimneyBluffsTrailMap.pdf