You’ve heard about wine and waterfalls when exploring the Finger Lakes, but what about the forest? Nestled in the heart of upstate New York, the Finger Lakes National Forest is an incredible destination. Spanning over 16,000 acres, this pristine forest offers visitors plenty to see and do. Guests who stay with us in our vacation rentals near Seneca Lake tell us that this is one of the best places to go if you’re looking to get out and into nature during your time away. Having enjoyed it ourselves, we absolutely agree!
Here are some of the things we’d recommend adding to your itinerary if you’re visiting the Finger Lakes National Forest:
Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails! The Finger Lakes National Forest boasts an extensive network of trails you can meander through, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. The Interloken Trail, for example, covers approximately 20 miles and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and gorges.
Take a Scenic Drive
If you prefer to explore the forest on the move, you can always take a scenic drive along the forest's winding roads -- just make sure you have a map handy as GPS signals can be challenging!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides downloadable motor vehicle maps to help guide you through the forest safely on your visit. As you drive, be sure to stop at the designated overlooks to capture stunning vista views -- a trunk picnic in one of these spots can be lovely, too!
Search for Wildlife
The Finger Lakes National Forest is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and even the elusive bald eagle. Birdwatchers can also spot different migratory species that pass through the area depending on the season as the forest hosts a variety of grassland, shrubland, and forest birds. Don't forget your binoculars and field guide!
Speaking of birds, did you know that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a little over a half hour away from the forest? Another great stop on any nature lover’s FLX escape!
Cast a Line
The forest is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, with lakes, ponds, and streams teeming with a variety of fish species. Grab your fishing gear and cast a line in search of bass, trout, and panfish. You may even spot a few beavers and wood ducks. Just don’t forget your NY fishing license and to make sure you’re up to date on the latest regulations.
Additionally, some of the forest's lakes allow for non-motorized boating, in case you want to bring along your kayak or canoe for a paddle!
See the Trees
Autumn in the Finger Lakes National Forest is truly a sight to behold. The forest's vibrant hardwood trees burst into an array of reds, oranges, and yellows, creating a breathtaking spectacle that draws visitors from around the region and beyond. If you’re coming to the Finger Lakes this fall, make sure you don’t miss it!
Capture Nature Photography
The Finger Lakes National Forest offers endless opportunities for nature photographers. From sweeping landscapes and cascading waterfalls to delicate wildflowers and wildlife encounters, the forest provides a rich canvas for capturing stunning images. Allow your creativity to roam free as you explore the forest and find unique compositions to immortalize.
As you plan your visit to the Finger Lakes National Forest, remember to check the park's website for the most up-to-date information. Whether you're seeking outdoor adventure, peaceful solitude, or a chance to connect with nature, the Finger Lakes National Forest has something to offer every visitor. So, pack your gear, embrace the beauty of the forest, and create lasting memories in this hidden gem!