Five-Star Trails Finger Lakes and Central New York  by Timothy Starmer

Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes & Central New York Guide Book

by Timothy Starmer (Menasha Ridge Press)
Five-Star Trails Finger Lakes and Central New York  by Timothy Starmer
The Finger Lakes and Central New York are not known for rugged mountains and their panoramic vistas which are so commonly sought in the Adirondacks to the north. They hardly could be - the area was scoured clean by glaciers millennia ago. But don’t let that fool you, the region is full of natural wonders of its own. Instead of mountains and ridges, the region is known for rolling drumlins, an abundance of scenic gorges, quiet woodlands, beautiful waterfalls and picturesque lakes. Trails included in Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes and Central New York by Tim Starmer feature a broad mixture of these landscapes and were carefully selected to give the most varied but also rewarding experience when picking a trail.

© 2014 Timothy Starmer/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes & Central New York" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 37.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 37.

For such a small park, Baltimore Woods packs a lot of great hiking features in its 182 acres. Varied terrain, distinct habitats, and lots of wildlife activity make it an excellent trip. The beaver activity near the lower parking area is especially interesting. Evidence of their dam building is present along a portion of the Boundary Trail and has even led to closure of the Griffiths Trail since significant portions of the trail have become submerged.
Fabius, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
In a region of forested hills, the aptly named Bare Hill is wrought with rumors about the origin of its unique character. Regardless of the veracity of the legends surrounding the hill, the trail here offers pleasant out-in-the-open hiking, as well as some scenic vistas of Canandaigua Lake.
Gorham, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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Just northwest of Syracuse, Beaver Lake Nature Center is an excellent excursion for families or anyone who simply wants to enjoy a serene lakeside stroll. The lake trail is popular among runners, while the short loops near the nature center are favorites for families with children and toddlers alike. The trails here are in excellent condition; some sections are mulched, providing a soft cushion underfoot, while the sections traversing wetlands have boardwalks to minimize environmental impacts. The park keeps a heavy emphasis on education and engagement with the public.
Baldwinsville, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Waterfalls, dramatic waterscapes, and handsome stonework are all iconic images of the state parks in the Finger Lakes region.  e Gorge Trail at Buttermilk Falls won’t let you down in providing all these scenic settings in abundance.  e plunge pools and potholes are particularly striking, and you’ll fi nd plenty of opportunities to snap gorgeous pictures.
Ithaca, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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After exploring the turbulent gorge along Buttermilk Creek, Lake Treman is a strikingly calm and placid setting. Wildlife frequents the lake, providing an excellent opportunity for birding and animal observations. Additionally, many visitors who hike the Gorge Trail often eschew the lake loop, allowing for some solitude along the trail as well. While much of the trail consists of worn footpaths, the stone dam found on the north end of the lake is another example of harmoniously constructed stonework built into the landscape.
Ithaca, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.2
The hike along Canadice Lake’s western shore follows access roads for the Rochester Water Department. Consequently the trail is broad and in excellent condition. Slightly more invigorating than the lake strolls found elsewhere in the book, the length of this trail results in a bit more solitude than the shorter, often-crowded lake trails. Total trip length is 8 miles, but with clear footing and level terrain, the mileage flies by.
Springwater, NY - Birding,Cross-Country Skiing,Fishing,Hiking,Mountain Biking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 8
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Certainly the main attraction here is the spectacular Carpenter’s Falls. Nearly 90 feet tall, it is a beautiful example of a “hanging” falls, typical across the Finger Lakes region. ough the lakeside frontage is small, it makes a great destination and is another pretty feature adding variety to this trail.
Moravia, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Central New York is not known for its beaches or its coastal trails. How could it be?  e region is hundreds of miles inland. Yet hiking the Chimney Bluff s trail makes you feel as if you are along one of the coasts. While the open views along Lake Ontario are certainly beautiful, the main attraction here are the bluff s. Formed from eroding drumlins, they create a must-see picturesque panorama.
Hannibal, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
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If you feel that the trails around Green Lakes State Park are too developed and you want to explore something with a wilder feel, then the trails at Clark Reservation might just hit the spot. The park also features a meromictic lake, but unlike the routes of its brethren, Green and Round Lakes, the path around Glacier Lake is rough and rocky, so you will find far fewer hikers/runners. The trails are still popular and the park is fairly small, at 325 acres, so don’t expect solitude. But the trails are more rugged and offer a change of pace from other state park hikes. Indeed, with the varied terrain and different niches encountered along the network of trails here, it’s hard to believe the park is so small.
Jamesville, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.25
Conklin Gully can be hiked as a short circuit or as the beginning and end of a much longer loop through the High Tor Wildlife Management Area. The short loop along the rim of a deeply incised ravine offers a short but steep climb with the quick reward of two steep waterfalls and some scenic vistas. The trail is mostly unmarked and, due to sheer cliffs, not a good choice for young children.
Naples, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
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This relatively straightforward loop through a quiet woodland is actually one of the highest points found within the Finger Lakes region. there are no panoramic vistas, but the trail has enhanced tributary crossings, an abandoned old homestead, and a bit of elevation change to add a little vigor to an otherwise fl at region. Finger Lakes passport hikers will also have one more destination to cross off their list.
Alpine, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
The trail described is sometimes referred to as the Van Lone Hill Trail Loop and begins along a relatively fl at section along the North Country Trail/Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) but also includes some moderate climbs and varied terrain farther along. A few sections of rustic roads help to complete the loop.
Alpine, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.7
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Much of the rolling terrain in Cuyler Hill State Forest passes through extensive tree planting by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) crews from the 1930s. Varied terrain, seasonal streams, and diff erent forest types provide ample variety along this end-to-end trek. Changes in elevation mean a more strenuous trip than you’ll fi nd on the otherwise fl at trails in the region, and options for extending your hike off er an additional challenge. During the spring melt, a side trip to Chippewa Falls is recommended, but be aware that its path is overgrown and the falls run dry during the summer.
De Ruyter, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
With lots of climbs and descents, as well as a variety of diff erent woodland environments, Abbott Hill Loop provides a great excursion for hikers who want to stretch their legs a bit. Long loops are rare in the region, and outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the seclusion furnished by this spread-out trail. Additionally, a panoramic view of the surrounding hills at  atcher’s Pinnacles provides another feature missing from other woodland trails in the region.
Spencer, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.3
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Fillmore Glen has much in common with the other gorge-centric state parks in the region, Buttermilk Falls (pages 157 and 164), Robert H. Treman (page 175), Taughannock Falls (pages 133 and 139), and Watkins Glen (page 194), all of which have a swimming area, camping, picturesque waterscapes, day-use facilities, and trails that wander through gorges and along their rims.
Moravia, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
Unique to the area and to New York, the trails at Finger Lakes National Forest are the only hiking trails within the state that reside on federal land. There are no national parks in New York—only national monuments, heritage areas, memorials, and this one national forest. Also unusual for the trails featured in this book is the combination of woodland and pastureland, which breaks up the typical woodland stroll and provides views of the surrounding landscape.
Burdett, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.8
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Of this park’s 1,955 acres, more than half of the acreage lies above and beyond the lakes. Yet many of the visitors to Green Lakes State Park don’t realize that the park extends far beyond the lakeside trails—which is unfortunate, for these visitors miss out on some truly distinctive aspects of the park, most notably the extensive oldgrowth forest surrounding Round Lake. But, fortunately for you, much of the trails in the upper part of the parks will be relatively uncrowded. ere still are many runners, bikers, and occasional hikers that venture up into the open fields and old-growth forest, but nothing like the crowds that stroll around the lakes.
Chittenango, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.9
The loop around Green and Round Lakes is one of the flattest and easiest trails featured in the book. Often crowded and certainly busy any time of the year, this park won’t provide privacy (for that, add the Farmer’s Hill loop featured on page 64). So why would a crowded and easy stroll be included in a hiking book? Simply put, the rare nature of these lakes makes them a must-see for anyone exploring the region. ese lakes offer a literal and illustrative window into the natural forces that shaped the present-day landscape.
Chittenango, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
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Though this is the shortest hike featured in the book, it is far from short on adventure. ere is no actual trail of which to speak; rather you explore the glen along the creek bank or rock-hop through the creek itself. Splashing through the creek is often the easiest path, so expect to get your feet wet while admiring the gorge and the two 60-foot-high waterfalls. During times of high water—during the spring and after heavy rains—the creek may not be navigable or safe, so plan your trip accordingly.
Naples, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
The High Tor Wildlife Management Area is made up of three sections that total 6,100 acres.  e trail described here circumnavigates the larger of these sections (3,400 acres).  e 9.2-mile loop has a myriad of interwoven trails and access roads, so there are options to either lengthen or shorten your trip.  e route below encompasses/bisects many of these options and highlights the various habitats and ecosystems found across this upland plateau.
Naples, NY - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.2
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