Finger Lakes, New York: Year-Round Outdoor Adventure

8:41 am  |  23.11.2021

From brightly colored autumn leaves to idyllic boat trips on long summer days. The well-known holiday region in the state of New York has a lot more to offer and will keep you on your toes at any time of the year. The offer ranges from skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in winter to hiking and cycling tours in spring and lake adventures in summer to wine tours against the backdrop of flaming autumn leaves.

Winter Joys

Young ski fans in the Finger Lakes region

There is plenty to do around the Finger Lakes all winter long. Bristol Mountain is only 15 km from Canandaigua. On a total area of 55 hectares, skiers and snowboarders can choose from almost three dozen slopes. Cross-country skiers also get their money’s worth. Snowshoeing is suitable for visitors of almost all ages and fitness levels. 

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The trails around the Ganondagan State Historic Site, a Seneca native village in Victor, are particularly beautiful. Childhood memories come to life at Mertensia Park in Farmington. The open slopes are used for summer sports in the warm season and turn into dreamlike sledging mountains with the first snow. Last but not least, you can also get pikeperch, perch, and blue sunfish out of the cold water while ice fishing on the shallow Honeoye Lake.

Spring Magic

Exploring a waterfall in Grimes Glen Park in Naples.

When the trees, bushes, and flowers bloom in spring, a magical time begins at the Finger Lakes. In Naples’ Grimes Glen Park, a short hiking trail leads through the shallow river bed to cascading waterfalls that pour between high cliffs. The nearby Cumming Nature Center has exhibits on local wildlife. Then we recommend a walk on the 10 km long surrounding hiking trails, where deer, beavers, and songbirds often show up.

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The sunny, often cool spring days also offer the best conditions for mountain biking. For cross-country drives through open terrain and forests, the 160 hectare Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill in Naples is ideal.

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The Dryer Road Park in Victor is crisscrossed by a 25 km network of single trails of varying difficulty. A leisure activity of the more unusual kind is cow or horse cuddling. When grooming, petting, and chatting with the farm animals, many townspeople find a completely new approach to country life and themselves. The B&B Mountain Horse Farm offers the opportunity to do so.

Summer Idyll

SUP yoga on Canandaigua Lake in Canandaigua

In summer, the main field of activity shifts to the water. You can go canoeing or kayaking on the picturesque long lakes. You can get the equipment you need for excursions on the small, natural Canadice Lake at Canadice Lake Outfitters.

Kershaw Park on Canandaigua Lake, the fourth largest lake in the region, has a nicely landscaped beach with a public wharf and pavilion. Yoga on land is not a challenge for you? Then try the downward-facing dog on a stand-up paddleboard on the water! Finger Lakes Yogascapes has corresponding courses in its program. “Snowga” is also offered in winter. A panoramic cruise with lunch or dinner onboard the Canandaigua Lady ensures relaxation in between. The two-story paddle steamer is in use from May to October.

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Fall Colors

Zipline Adventure in the high ropes course at Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures.

The Finger Lakes region is rightly famous for its spectacular fall foliage. The color palette on the hills on the shore ranges from intense red to fiery orange to shining gold. The Rochester / Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail offers the opportunity to combine the tour through the overwhelming nature with tastings of local wines, craft beers, spirits, and fermented ciders.

You will experience the landscape from a different perspective with Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures: In addition to seven treetop courses of different difficulty, there are also seven ziplines. The Fall Sky Rides promises a more leisurely flight of highs. After the ski lift has brought you to Bristol Mountain, you can return on foot or by bike. The designated paths offer fantastic views over the surrounding Bristol Hills.

How to Get There

From Greater Rochester International Airport or Syracuse Hancock, it is a 30 or 60-minute rental car to Canandaigua. The pretty university town of Ithaca on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake is about an hour’s drive from Syracuse. Alternatively, you can explore the Finger Lakes by bus or train. Amtrak has train services to Syracuse and Rochester from several major cities in the northeastern United States. Greyhound buses serve small towns such as Ithaca and Geneva or Syracuse and Rochester.

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