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New Hiking Trails: Best Places For Hikes Near The Finger Lakes Area

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  • Digital Team 

The natural splendour of the Finger Lakes region is a sight to behold for visitors looking to experience the thrills of one of nature’s best works. This area covers the Gorges and Ontario Lowlands region of the Great Lakes Lowlands on one end, and the northern edge of the Finger Lakes Uplands on the other. 

While the Finger Lakes region derives its name from the eleven freshwater lakes that spread across the area with their beauty, there’s so much for nature lovers to experience. Beginning with a fascinating history that has made it a tourist attraction, the region features the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) with places to hike near me, wineries, and craft breweries.

The Finger Lakes Trails – Best Places to Hike

Thomas Thoreau, American Naturalist – “Walking is the most perfect form of motion for a person who wants to discover the true life.”

With over 900 miles of pristine paths and sights, the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) system runs from the Catskill Forest Preserve to the Allegheny State Park on the Pennsylvania border. In between, it branches towards the Genesee River valley, the central Finger Lakes, the Great Eastern Trail, Niagara Falls, and Syracuse. The system, built and maintained almost entirely by volunteers, features some spectacular places along the FLT that stand out. Here’s a look at some:

  1. Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve

As one of the highlights of the Finger Lakes Trail, the Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve offers an easy hike near me option for calming walks that connect to a more challenging hike. It features some of the oldest trees in the Finger Lakes region, starting on Rockwell Road and ending in a meadow.

As you make your way through the trail, you’ll encounter adjacent paths. The first winds through the preserve’s 300-year-old maples, and the other trails towards an overlook that offers panoramic views across the Enfield Creek valley.

Fun Fact: The 300-year old maple trees of the Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve have never been tapped for sugar, and so have escaped vulnerability to decay and fungal spores.

  1. Birdseye Hollow State Forest

Trailing from north to south, the Birdseye Hollow State Forest features several conifer plantations dotting the landscape, with a predominantly deciduous forest enveloping the trail.

A major part of the hiking experience involves taking in the sights of the babbling brooks and deep woodlands. You’ll also encounter a shorter blue-blazed lakeside trail, offering an ample view of the wildlife and traversing the space between the forest and wetland.

  1. Finger Lakes National Forest

Hal Borland, American writer and Journalist – “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”

Nestled between Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, the iconic forest which takes its name from the Finger Lakes that accentuate its presence, is home to 30+ miles of hike trails near me.

  1. Lick Brook Gorge

The last ice age produced glaciers that sculpted the awe-inspiring topography of the Finger Lakes region. The after-effects are visible in multiple waterfalls splashing down along Lick Brook and emptying into the Cayuga Lake.

If you’re looking for a waterfall hike near me, this preserve is home to a stretch of the FLT that runs along the gorge. Hikers can get more out of the exp by continuing along the trail to the Buttermilk Falls State Park.

  1. Gannett Hill Provincial Park

The 400-acre county park hosts a network of trails over 10 miles, weaving through steep hillsides and woodland. Each trail has its colour and offers varying levels of ruggedness and elevation, making it perfect for a good workout.

Beyond the park boundary, only foot travel is possible. As you move along, you will notice the change as you encounter tight V-shaped structures that preclude everything that’s not on foot from going further.

  1. Danby State Forest

Are you looking for tranquillity and seclusion? Danby State Forest offers a lengthy trail, weaving through wooded glens and hilltop oak forests. The loop configuration of the trail is appreciated by hikers who dislike retracing their steps.

Through 7,729 acres, the trail leads to a breathtaking lookout at Thatcher’s Pinnacles along the forest’s western edge. From the pinnacle, you’ll get panoramic views of the Lindsay-Parsons Preserve and the Cayuga Inlet Valley.

Fun Fact: Old stone foundations and hand-dug wells can still be found among the trees. A reminder of the families displaced when New York State bought the area in the 1930s.

  1. High Tor Wildlife Management Area

The High Tor WMA offers an abundance of outdoor experiences consisting of forests, gorges, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, and open fields. With over 12 miles of hiking trails in the 3,400-acre uplands, the WMA contributes a short section to the Finger Lakes Trail.

The trail network features a combination of rugged footpaths and access roads that wind through open fields and dense woodlands. This system also forms a small part of the more extensive Bristol Hill Trail, a branch trail of the FLT.

  1. Morgan Hill State Forest and Labrador Hollow Unique Area

Both areas are often referred to as the same, considering that for the most part, they are contiguous parcels of land connected by the North Country Trail. The striking scenery from Labrador Hollow and the naturally rugged wildness of Morgan Hill make the duo one of the best destinations in the Finger Lakes region.

Hikers who require a more challenging route can slap on their backpacks for a day of adventure. The rugged trails of Morgan Hill offer steep and lengthy rising on one and falling treks on the other, something experienced hikers will cherish.

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