Top Snowshoe Destinations in the Finger Lakes Region
When the snow starts falling, it’s the perfect time to step into a pair of snowshoes and explore the Finger Lakes. Snowshoes are lightweight, easy to use and provide a fun way to get outdoors in winter. Regardless of your skill level, there is no shortage of places to go in the Finger Lakes region. Here are a few of our top snowshoe destinations.
Don’t own a pair of snowshoes? Not a problem! Cumming Nature Center in Naples rents them for $5 and has a 3-mile loop just for snowshoeing. The trails here are perfect for beginners or those looking for a leisurely pace, and are patrolled by the Genesee Valley Nordic Ski Patrol. Acting as the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s “living museum,” the center is perfect for family-friendly fun.
Looking for a challenge? Explore the hilly terrain and peaceful solitude of New York State’s largest wildlife management area, encompassing 11,645 acres. For a shorter trek, take the 2.6 mile-long Bob Cameron Loop which lies within a deep, mostly hardwood forest and crosses several seasonal streams. For a long excursion, the 5.7 mile-long Van Lone Loop shares a picturesque section of the Finger Lakes Trail which follows Cayuta Creek then climbs beside a wooded stream and follows forest roads to the end.
While the trails at many state parks are often closed in winter for safety reasons, Green Lakes is an exception. The park features an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, where visitors can snowshoe and enjoy wide-open views. For a more challenging experience, a 13-mile trail system on the western edge of Round Lake weaves through open fields and old growth forests, a rare circumstance in the northeast.
Just a short drive from Ithaca, this 241-acre preserve, which features portions of an extensive forest, rolling meadows, and wetlands, is an important connector in a larger array of some 8,000 acres of protected lands. From the north entrance, cross the boardwalk and snowshoe your way into more than 20 miles of multi-use trails at Hammond Hill State Forest. An easy meandering one-mile trail that begins from the south entrance of the preserve leads you through a meadow that encircles a beautiful evergreen plantation.
Located in the Southern Tier just north of Owego, Oakley Corners features a 13-mile multi-use trail system. All trails are color-coded and have a skill level designation: short, gentle trails for beginners, and steeper, longer trails for intermediate and advanced snowshoers. The network of trails here were built by the Triple Cities Ski Club through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Adopt-A-Natural Resource program and are another great example of how public and private partnerships can make natural resources accessible.