6 of the Best Places to Find Finger Lakes Hiking Trails

Are you looking for the best day hikes in the Finger Lakes? You’re in luck! There are plenty of fantastic trails to explore through the region. From the gorge trails that weave you through streams and rivers to beautiful lakefront trails featuring gorgeous views, there’s always a good reason to lace up your boots. Enjoy a day of Finger Lakes hiking during your visit! 

We’ve listed some of our favorite Finger Lakes hiking trails, but there’s plenty more to discover! request our free Vacation Guide to get a full list of local parks and trails! You’ll also get our picks for the best restaurants, wineries, breweries, and more. Never go hiking on an empty stomach! Plan your trip in no time when you use our free Vacation Guide.

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Enjoy the Best of Finger Lakes Hiking Trails

1. Finger Lakes Trail System 

Explore a network of trails known as the Finger Lakes Trail System (FLT). A non-profit, Finger Lakes Trail Conference administers the FLT, a continuous footpath that crosses New York State. Hike the main trails leading to many different branch trails like the Bristol Hills Trail. 

Where does the Finger Lakes Trail Run Through? 

The 950-mile trail runs from the Pennsylvania and New York border in Allegany State Park to Long Path in the Catskill Forest Preserve on public and private land, crossing sections of land from around 700 private landowners! 

Make sure to check the trail conditions before starting your adventures. FLTC’s interactive maps will help you make your way across the Finger Lakes. 

2. North Country National Scenic Trail 

The North Country Trail (NCT) also runs through the Finger Lakes region. The National Park Service runs the NCT that goes through Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. 

Fun fact: This one is the longest of the Congress-authorized National Scenic Trails at 3,129 miles! 

3. Finger Lakes National Forest 

Nestled between Cayuga and Seneca Lake is the Finger Lakes National Forest. This is the state’s only national forest and features a wide range of natural features, including open land, gorges, and woodlands. In total, there are over 30 miles of hiking trails. Don’t be surprised if you see a free-ranging cow or two during your visit! The forestland provides some fantastic grasslands for livestock. 

New York State Parks 

4. Seneca Lake State Park 

For a relaxing, lakefront stroll, explore the famous Seneca Lake State Park hiking trail! The Geneva Lakefront Trail is located in the park and named after the town in which it’s located, is just over four miles long and good for all skill levels. Since the trail surrounds Seneca Lake, it’s best hiked from February until October. 

5. Watkins Glen State Park 

For some incredible Finger Lakes hiking with waterfall views, visit Watkins Glen State Park. This is an immensely popular park in the area and was even nominated in the USA Today Readers’ Choice Poll for Best State Park in the country. Located at the southernmost tip of Seneca Lake, the trails at Watkins Glen State Park wind through beautiful stone staircases, bridges, and tunnels. This is one of the premier destinations for Finger Lakes gorge trails. 

6. Taughannock Falls State Park 

Did you know you can take a trail that leads to the biggest gorge in Ithaca, NY? Plus, it gets better. The waterfall at Taughannock Falls State Park is taller than Niagara Falls, and is actually the tallest waterfall in New York! 

Kick Your Feet Up and Relax With Finger Lakes Premier Properties 

After your day of exploring the best Finger Lakes hiking trails, return to a gorgeous home from Finger Lakes Premier Properties. We have the most incredible selection of properties on seven of the 11 lakes. We offer a large selection of small or large Finger Lakes vacation rentals to accommodate you after a long day of hiking with top-notch amenities so that you can do relaxing activities like soaking in a hot tub with a captivating mountain view!

Are you ready to book? Browse through our full catalog of properties and reserve your home today! We look forward to having you. 

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Get the Inside Scoop on the Finger Lakes Trail

If you’re looking for the ultimate Finger Lakes hiking experience, you’re in luck! The Finger Lakes Trail is an outstanding system of paths that wind through the region. This system contains the main trail, which is 580 miles long, and six branch trails as well as 29 loop trails and spur trails, which total 412 miles. In total, there are over 1,000 miles of gorgeous hiking, making it the longest continuous footpath in the state of New York. Discover what you need to know about this great system of trails.

Before you hike the Finger Lakes Trail, grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant or cafe. Download our free Vacation Guide to get a complete list of our favorite eateries in town. Finger Lakes is quickly becoming home to one of the hottest food scenes in the country. Experience the best of this slice of foodie paradise when you visit any of the great places on our Vacation Guide. Download it today!

About the Finger Lakes Trail

The Finger Lakes Trail network was first conceptualized in 1961 when Wallace “Wally” Wood went hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He wanted to take that concept back to New York, with a hiking trail that winds through the southern section of the state. In 1962, his vision came to life, and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference was formed.

The Finger Lakes Trail system is, first and foremost, an outstanding example of the passion that local residents have for hiking and preserving our natural features. The trail network is maintained by volunteers from 15 organizations and about 60 sponsors.

Lace up Your Hiking Boots

So how long is the Finger Lakes Trail? With so many branch trails and loops, it can be difficult to measure out the exact length. Most people estimate it around 1,000 miles, give or take. The trail runs through eight state parks: Allegany, Darien Lakes, Letchworth, Watkins Glen, Robert H. Treman, Buttermilk Falls, Bowman Lake, and Oquaga Creek. If you’re staying in a vacation home from Finger Lakes Premier Properties, you’ll want to visit Letchworth, Watkins Glen, or Buttermilk Falls State Park. These sites are near Consensus Lake, Seneca Lake, and Cayuga Lake, respectively.

If you want a more comprehensive guide of the Finger Lakes trail, mile by mile, check out the Finger Lakes Trail Conservation’s website! They have a great interactive map which shows each segment of the trail.

Stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

If you’re planning to hike the Finger Lakes Trail, be sure to book a vacation home from Finger Lakes Premier Properties. You won’t find a better selection of lakeside houses from any other rental management company. No matter the size of your group or the reason for your visit, you’ll find just what you need in our inventory.

Consider booking Dean Lake House, a property that is just a four-minute drive from Watkins Glen State Park. This four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is perched on the edge of the lake and is perfect for hikers. You’ll love soaking in the Jacuzzi tub after a day of exploring, or enjoying the view of Seneca Lake from the veranda.

Take a look at our full selection of homes and book today! We look forward to having you.